On Friday, a former U.S. intelligence officer received a 15-year sentence behind bars after he pleaded guilty to spying for China.
As the Washington Examiner reports, the Chinese government recruited Ron Rockwell Hansen, who worked under the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, and paid him extensively to learn details of U.S. military readiness, among other details.
The former intelligence officer reportedly tried to recruit a co-conspirator when the case officer he tried to recruit reported the issue. That case officer helped authorities conduct a sting operation to bring in Hansen.
The Hill reports Hansen pleaded guilty “to one count of attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government”
“This case drives home the troubling reality of insider threats and that current and former clearance holders will be targeted by our adversaries,” said FBI special agent Eric Barnhart, who led the case which led to Hansen’s arrest. “The FBI will aggressively investigate individuals who put our national security at risk.”
From the Hill:
In June 2018, Hansen received the classified documents from the DIA case officer, which were about U.S. military preparations in a “particular region,” according to the DOJ.
Hansen reviewed the documents, took notes about them, and told the officer that he would write up notes about them in a document that he would bring to China.
“Hansen intended to provide the information he received to the agents of the Chinese intelligence service with whom he had been meeting, and Hansen knew that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation,” the DOJ said in a press release.
Here’s more, from the Washington Examiner:
The guilty plea takes place amid widespread concerns about Chinese espionage against the United States, including conventional operations such as the recruitment of potential sources and the use of “non-traditional” collectors who work throughout American society. A new federal law bans the use of Chinese telecommunications systems by the U.S. government, as lawmakers worry that such companies and even academic programs could give Chinese spy services a competitive edge.
Hansen’s case was a throwback to an earlier era. Like the similarly-named Robert Philip Hanssen before him — the infamous former FBI agent who spied for the Russians from 1979 to 2001 — the Utah native was paid handsomely for the information.