A former US defense contractor has been charged with transmitting top-secret documents to Chinese agents in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash.
Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, of Leesburg, Virginia, came to the attention of authorities in April when the former agent of the State Department Diplomatic Security failed to disclose US$16,500 stashed in carry-on luggage on his return to the US from Shanghai, USA Today reports.
The incident at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport prompted a follow-up interview last month when FBI agents recovered three documents – one marked top secret and the other secret – from a communication device that Chinese agents had provided Mallory on a previous trip to China, the newspaper said.
Mallory reportedly told investigators that he had only provided his Chinese contacts with two unclassified “white papers” on US policy matters that he authored and culled from open sources.
The self-employed consultant who owned a defense company called GlobalEx held a top secret security clearance until he left government service in 2012, the newspaper said.
In his interview with FBI agents, Mallory said the person he met in Shanghai had told him he was working for a Chinese think-tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), BBC News reported.
The FBI believes Chinese spies use SASS affiliations as cover, the broadcaster said, citing the US Department of Justice.
If convicted, Mallory faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
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