(CN) – Police arrested a former officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency as he tried to board a plane to China this weekend on charges that he sold U.S. military intelligence to Chinese officials.
Federal prosecutors say Ron Rockwell Hansen, a retired warrant officer with the U.S. Army and former intelligence case officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency made more than $800,000 by selling secrets to China before he tipped his hand in trying to recruit a second Defense Intelligence Agency officer.
Hansen has made 40 trips to China since 2013, according to criminal information filed on Saturday. He attended U.S. intelligence and military conference and reported information from them to his contacts with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, prosecutors say.
When he returned from several of those trips, the FBI obtained court orders to search his luggage. Hansen regularly brought tens of thousands of dollars in cash back from China, along with thumb drives hidden in places like balled up socks stuffed in his shoes, the criminal complaint says
The arrangement was very lucrative, until his military contract work apparently dried up in 2011. He repeatedly tried to get back into a position that would allow him to gather more U.S. military secrets, according to the complaint, but couldn’t manage to get hired by the FBI or U.S. Army Intelligence despite offering to work as a double agent against China and as an aide to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Committee on Intelligence.
Thus thwarted, Hansen turned to recruitment within the Defense Intelligence Agency. He contacted a current case officer in 2016 and tried to talk the officer into gathering information for his Chinese contacts. He offered the same $300,000-per-year “consulting” contract he later told the FBI that he himself had been offered. But his plan backfired when the officer he tried to recruit turned into a confidential source against him.
When he was arrested Saturday, Hansen carried a page of handwritten notes that included encrypted information, as well as the personal information of the agent he tried to recruit including date of birth, email addresses and employment locations – all of which he intended to take to China, prosecutors say.
The 15-count complaint accuses Hansen of selling defense information, structuring his financial transactions to hide their size and origin, and smuggling. Hansen is scheduled for his initial appearance in federal court in Seattle on Monday afternoon.