Political News

Former government worker charged with giving top-secret info to China

Posted June 22, 2017 7:13 p.m. EDT

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it had arrested and charged a former US government employee for sharing top-secret information with a Chinese government agent.

The criminal complaint states that Kevin Mallory has been charged with delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and making false statements to investigators. The Justice Department said Mallory could face a life sentence if convicted.

Court documents described Mallory as a self-employed US citizen and resident of Virginia, who graduated from Brigham Young University in 1981. They said Mallory served in multiple US military and government roles, including at defense contractors. The documents state he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and had a top-secret security clearance until 2012.

The criminal complaint says Mallory met with a Chinese national in Shanghai during March and April 2017 who "represented himself" as working for a think tank the FBI has said is intertwined with Chinese intelligence. Mallory consented to an interview with FBI agents in late May, where he told them about a communication device the Chinese national had provided him with. He allowed the FBI to examine the device, and the Justice Department said the FBI found classified information on it, including a document marked top-secret.

The complaint said Mallory told the FBI he had received $25,000 from the Chinese in March and April, "based on his daily billable rate," and expected to receive more cash payments during a June trip.

The Justice Department alleges Mallory made false claims to the FBI agents, a criminal offense.

Dana Boente, the acting assistant attorney general for national security, said in a release that the charges facing Mallory were geared at deterring others from sharing classified information.

"These charges should send a message to anyone who would consider violating the public's trust and compromising our national security by disclosing classified information," Boente said.

Thursday's charges came weeks after the Department of Justice announced another leak case in early June, when the government charged Reality Winner, a federal contractor, for allegedly leaking NSA documents to reporters -- the first public leak case of the Trump administration.