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Feds: Virginia man recruited by Chinese agents

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 23/06/2017 Kevin Johnson
An airplane lands. © Matt York, AP An airplane lands.

WASHINGTON – A 60-year-old former defense contractor was charged Thursday with transmitting classified information to Chinese government agents in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash.

Authorities were first alerted to Kevin Patrick Mallory of Leesburg, Va., in April when the former State Department Diplomatic Security agent failed to disclose $16,500 stashed in carry-on luggage on his return to the U.S. from Shanghai.

The incident at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport prompted a follow-up interview last month when FBI agents recovered three documents – one marked top secret and the other secret – from a communication device that Chinese agents had provided Mallory on a previous trip to China.

According to federal court documents, Mallory told agents that he had only provided his Chinese contacts with two unclassified "white papers'' on U.S. policy matters that he authored and culled from open sources. The self-employed consultant who owned a defense company called GlobalEx held a top secret security clearance until he left government service in 2012.

Mallory, however, did not appear to be aware that the private communication device retained a history of communications that allegedly disclosed the classified documents and other messages in which he allegedly discussed payment for his work. 

"Your object is to gain information, and my object is to be paid,'' Mallory allegedly wrote to his Chinese handlers on May 5.

"My current object is to make sure your security and try to reimburse you,'' one of the Chinese agents allegedly replied.

Dana Boente, the Justice Department's acting National Security Division chief, said Mallory's actions had violated "the public's trust.''

“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious, and these charges should send a message to anyone who would consider violating the public’s trust and compromising our national security by disclosing classified information,” Boente said.

If convicted, Mallory faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.

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