Former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer Ron Rockwell Hansen was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for attempting to pass U.S. defense information to China.
Hansen’s sentencing followed the sentencing of former CIA officer Kevin Mallory and indictment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee.
Mallory was convicted under the Espionage Act for selling classified U.S. defense information to a Chinese intelligence agent for $25,000 during trips to Shanghai in March and April 2017.
Lee pleaded guilty to conspiring with China to commit espionage after receiving a promise from his Chinese handlers that he would be financially set for life.
The above are just three examples in an unprecedented level of intelligence gathering by China aimed at using Americans to steal U.S. secrets of all types, a former high-ranking CIA counterintelligence official said.
“The Chinese intelligence storm impacting the U.S. is a secret assault on America that is without parallel since that mounted by Moscow in the 1930s and ‘40s,” said Mark Kelton, who retired in 2015 as deputy director for counterintelligence in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service.
Kelton told The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz in an interview for the book “Deceiving the Sky” that, similar to the Soviet espionage of the last century, China’s current spying operations received little public attention until a recent wave of arrests and prosecutions that included Hanson, Mallory and Lee.
“Despite the lack of attention, China is increasing its targeting of U.S. secrets and has shifted tactics from a focus on recruiting ethnic Chinese Americans as spies to targeting a larger spectrum of Americans,” Gertz wrote on Sept. 25.
Others spies include State Department official Candace Claiborne, who was convicted of passing information to Chinese intelligence in exchange for cash and gifts; FBI employee Kun Shan “Joey” Chun, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to providing China with restricted and sensitive information; and Glenn Duffie Shriver, recruited while studying in Shanghai and arrested in 2010 while applying for CIA employment at the behest of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
“As [counterintelligence] professionals know all too well, however, no matter how many spies are caught, others always remain at liberty,” Kelton said.