ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) — Bond was revoked Friday for a former CIA agent and State Department employee accused of selling classified documents to Chinese spies, because a federal judge found him a flight risk and a threat to national security if released.
“He’s a little cleverer than most,” U.S. District Judge T. Ellis III said of Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, of Leesburg, Virginia, who was arrested in late June and charged under the federal Espionage Act.
Prosecutors say Mallory traveled to Shanghai in March to meet two men who claimed to be employees of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Mallory said he intended to sell them white papers he wrote for $25,000.
His public defender, Geremy Kamens, told the court last week that Mallory didn’t realize the men were spies until he arrived in Shanghai, but prosecutor John Gibbs on Friday produced evidence that put the self-employed Mandarin-speaking consultant’s story to the test.
In addition to a collection of wigs, fake mustaches, fake vials of blood, wig adhesive, glue, instructions and even a collection of fake scars one can apply to the body, Gibbs provided the court with a recording of 10-minute phone call Mallory made to his family last week from the Alexandria Detention Center.
In the call, Mallory alternated fluidly between Mandarin and English as he spoke with his wife, son and daughter in turn. During the call, Mallory instructed his son to look for a device in a drawer in his bedroom and check to see if it appeared on an inventory sheet the FBI compiled after searching his Leesburg home.
Mallory sought a Toshiba Exceria storage device card but did not ask his son for it directly. He told his son to look for something “that began with an E and ends with an A.”
“[When you find it] don’t say it on the phone,” Mallory said to his son in the recording, adding that what he looked for was wrapped in a small piece of paper.
The card was not wrapped in paper, Gibbs said, but in a crunched-up ball of aluminum foil. “Almost like it was supposed to look like a piece of garbage,” Gibbs said.
When Mallory heard that the storage card was still at his house, he told his son: “Well, that’s good, that’s what I thought it was. I want to give it to my lawyer so they don’t mess with it.”
Kamens contended that this conversation with his son was proof of Mallory’s innocence.
“There was no discussion of destroying it, no talk of hiding disguises and no talk of removing anything from the home,” Kamens said.
Judge Ellis was not impressed. He observed that a man like Mallory, with decades of experience as a CIA covert agent, gave him the advantage of tradecraft.
“Why wouldn’t he say that? He knew he was being recorded,” Ellis said. “He found out what he needed to. And that was that his [SD card] was still in the home.”
Kamens acknowledged that the judge’s point was “reasonable,” but asked the court to consider Mallory’s record of coming freely to law enforcement with information.
After Mallory returned from China in May and was caught at airport Customs for not reporting $16,500 in his bags, the former Defense Intelligence Agency employee made his way to the FBI and told them about his recent meeting with the men from Shanghai.
Judge Ellis again was skeptical, telling Kamens he believed Mallory revealed his hand to the FBI because he believed he could fool them and wanted to get one step ahead.
“What he didn’t count on was that the FBI would be able to crack the phone,” Gibbs said.
During Mallory’s meeting with FBI agents, he provided them with a cellphone which he said the supposed Chinese spies gave to him. According to prosecutors, Mallory told the agents there was no history of communication on the brand-new phone, save for one test message.
But agents cracked his phone and discovered the contents: eight documents, all of which are classified, some Top Secret, some not.
Contents of the documents were not revealed in court on Friday but may be uncovered in a public setting, pending approval.
Ellis said he would issue an order Monday, July 10.