Ex-US intelligence officer pleads guilty to attempted espionage for China

US and Chinese flags are placed for a joint news conference. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Mar 16, 2019, 08.42 AM (IST)

 A former US Defence Intelligence Agency officer pleaded guilty to attempted espionage for China, the Justice Department said on Friday.

The officer, Ron Rockwell Hansen, was accused of trying to transmit classified US national defence information to China and receiving "hundreds of thousands of dollars" while illegally acting as an agent for the Chinese government. 

Hansen started working at the DIA, which specialises in military intelligence, in 2006 after his retirement from the US Army, and held a top-secret security clearance for many years, according to the Justice Department. 

In 2014, a Chinese intelligence service recruited Hansen, the Justice Department said.

FBI agents took Hansen into custody in June, when he was travelling to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to take a connecting flight to China.

He faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing will take place on September 24. It was not immediately clear who was representing Hansen in his case.

Story highlights

The officer, Ron Rockwell Hansen, was accused of trying to transmit classified US national defence information to China and receiving 'hundreds of thousands of dollars' while illegally acting as an agent for the Chinese government.