By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former officer with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency was arrested over the weekend for allegedly trying to spy on the United States for China, the Justice Department said on Monday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation took Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, into custody on Saturday while he was on his way to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to get a connecting flight to China.
The department said he has been accused of trying to transmit national defence information to China and with receiving "hundreds of thousands of dollars" while acting illegally as an agent for the Chinese government.
Reuters could not immediately learn who may be representing Hansen in the case.
Hansen is the latest person in a string of former U.S. intelligence officers to be swept up in criminal probes related to spying for the Chinese.
Earlier this year, former CIA case officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee was indicted for conspiring to gather or deliver national defence information to China.
Another former U.S. intelligence employee named Kevin Mallory is on trial in Virginia, also in connection with selling secrets to China.
In the new case announced Monday, prosecutors said that Hansen speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.
He served as a case officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency while on active military duty from 2000-2006, and later continued that line of work as a civilian employee and a contractor.
He also held a top secret clearance for years.
The government said that between 2013 and 2017, he travelled between the two countries attending conferences and provided the information he learned to China's intelligence service.
He was paid via wire transfers, cash and credit cards. He also allegedly improperly sold export-controlled technology.
“His alleged actions are a betrayal of our nation's security and the American people and are an affront to his former intelligence community colleagues," said John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
He is expected to appear before a magistrate judge in Seattle later on Monday, and is charged in a 15-count complaint.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by James Dalgleish)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 04:05:40 IST