A former defense intelligence officer was arrested Saturday for attempting to sell U.S. defense information to the Chinese government, the Department of Justice said Monday.
Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, of Syracuse, Utah, held a Top Secret clearance for many years at the Defense Intelligence Agency, which provides information to policy makers and others at the Department of Defense. He was arrested Saturday afternoon at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while trying to flee the United States for China.
Between 2013 and 2017, Mr. Hansen is alleged to have provided information he learned while attending military and intelligence conferences in the U.S. to contacts associated with the Chinese government, according to court documents. He also improperly sold export-controlled technology to people in China, the Justice Department said. Mr. Hansen is alleged to have received $800,000 in funds from China for the information.
Prosecutors said Mr. Hansen caught law enforcement’s attention after he repeatedly attempted to access classified information after leaving the government. He later attempted to solicit sensitive information from a law enforcement source, who was working with authorities. Mr. Hansen disclosed to the source details of his contacts with the Chinese government, including in-person meetings with intelligence officers. He also promised the source the source that they would be “handsomely paid” for giving the information to China.
Mr. Hansen is expected to appear in a Seattle federal court late Monday. He faces 15 espionage charges, including attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government and acting as an unregistered foreign agents.
“Ron Rockwell Hansen is a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who allegedly attempted to transmit national defense information to the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence service (PRCIS) and also allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars while illegally acting as an agent of China,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said. “His alleged actions are a betrayal of our nation’s security and the American people and are an affront to his former intelligence community colleagues. Our intelligence professionals swear an oath to protect our country’s most closely held secrets and the National Security Division will continue to relentlessly pursue justice against those who violate this oath.”
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