Former US Defense Agent Pleads Guilty to Spying for Chinese

Ron Rockwell Hansen pleaded guilty to one count of attempted espionage on March 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

(CN) – A former officer for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency pleaded guilty Friday on charges of attempting to spy for China.

Fluent in Mandarin-Chinese and Russian, Ron Rockwell Hansen was employed as an intelligence case officer with the DIA since 2006. Hansen specialized in signals and human intelligence while he served in the U.S. Army for 20 years. He was a warrant officer when he retired.

Chinese intelligence recruited Hansen in 2014, paying him $800,000 over four years to provide insider information and technology.

According to an investigation by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Rudd, “much of the People’s Republic of China’s espionage efforts in industrialized nations focused on acquiring technology that may or may not have been cleared for export. The nations focused on acquiring technology that may or may not have been used running front companies to purchase high-technology equipment.”

Hansen was reported to the FBI and arrested last June after he solicited classified information from another DIA case officer and telling his colleague “how to record and transmit classified information without detection.”

“The information in the documents related to the national defense of the United States in that it related to United States military readiness in a particular region and was closely held by the U.S. government,” the Department of Justice revealed in a release.  

Relying on his memory and notes, “Hansen intended to provide the information he received to the agents of the Chinese intelligence service with whom he had been meeting, and Hansen knew that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.”

The 58-year-old resident of Syracuse, Utah will be sentenced Sept. 24. Although the Associated Press reported he originally faced “15 counts of espionage, smuggling and financial charges,” Hansen only pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to leak national defense information to a foreign government, for which he will likely serve 15 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lund led the prosecution.

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