A U.S. Army veteran has been accused of attempted espionage with China, and he allegedly received at least $800,000 after spying and then selling the information to China, authorities said this week.
Former Defense Intelligence Officer (DIA) Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, was arrested Sunday while traveling to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to board a connecting flight to China, the Department of Justice announced.
His federal charges include attempted transmission of national defense information to the People’s Republican of China.
Assistant Attorney General Demers said Ron Rockwell Hansen, “allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars while illegally acting as an agent of China.” https://t.co/A21niQFpVi
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Hanson regularly traveled between the U.S. and China for years. He attended military and intelligence conferences in the U.S. The DOJ said he then took information he learned at those conferences and gave it to Chinese contacts who were associated with PRCIS, or the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence service. Hanson also improperly sold export-controlled technology to people in China.
He did this between 2013 and 2017, and he reportedly received at least $800,000 in funds originating in China for the information, the Justice Department said. He reportedly received cash, wires and credit card transactions.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.
Hansen is a retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer with a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence who speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.
He was hired by the DIA as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006, and he held Top Secret security clearance for many years.
Hansen signed several non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at DIA and as a government contractor, the DOJ said.
Hansen had repeatedly tried to regain access to classified information after he stopped working for the federal government, the Justice Department pointed out.
“Hansen’s alerting behavior ultimately resulted in the participation of a law enforcement source from whom Hansen solicited classified information,” the department said. “Hansen disclosed to the source his ongoing contact with the PRCIS, including in-person meetings with intelligence officers during his trips to China.”
“Hansen told the source the types of information his contacts in China were interested in and discussed working with the source to provide such information to the PRCIS. Hansen suggested he and the source would be handsomely paid,” the DOJ added.