A US court on Friday sentenced a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer to 20 years in prison for spying on behalf of China.
The 62-year-old man was found guilty of selling “top secret” defense information to Chinese intelligence contacts when he visited Shanghai in 2017.
The defendant was a former US army soldier and later went on to hold several jobs at government agencies and defense contractors in which he had access to sensitive information.
“This case is one in an alarming trend of former US intelligence officers being targeted by China and betraying their country and colleagues,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers.
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‘No business partnering with China’
At least two other former US intelligence officers and a diplomat have pleaded guilty this year to spying for China.
Earlier this month, another ex-CIA officer pleaded guilty to conspiring with Chinese intelligence. His lawyer said there was no evidence that he had handed over classified information to Chinese agents.
Officials said the latest conviction formed part of the US’ response to a worrying trend in the intelligence community.
“This sentence, together with the recent guilty pleas of Ron Hansen in Utah and Jerry Lee in Virginia, deliver the stern message that our former intelligence officers have no business partnering with the Chinese, or any other adversarial foreign intelligence service,” said Demers.
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