Washington: A federal jury today convicted a former CIA officer on espionage charges related to his transmission of classified documents to a Chinese agent, the Department of Justice said.
Kevin Patrick Mallory, 61, a former Central Intelligence Agency case officer faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on September 21. "It is a sad day when an American citizen is convicted of spying on behalf of a foreign power," Assistant US Attorney General John Demers said.
"This act of espionage was no isolated incident. The People's Republic of China has made a sophisticated and concerted effort to steal our nation's secrets. Today's conviction demonstrates that we remain vigilant against this threat and hold accountable all those who put the United States at risk through espionage," he said.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in March and April 2017, Mallory travelled to Shanghai and met with an individual, Michael Yang, whom he quickly concluded was working for China Intelligence Service.
During a voluntary interview with FBI agents on May 24, 2007, Mallory stated that Yang represented himself as working for a People's Republic of China think tank, however Mallory stated that he assessed Yang to be a Chinese Intelligence Officer.
Mallory told FBI agents that he travelled to Shanghai in March and April to meet with Yang and Yang's boss. After Mallory consented to a review of a covert communications (covcom) device he had been given by Yang in order to communicate covertly with Yang, FBI agents viewed a message from Mallory to Yang in which Mallory stated that he could come in the middle of June and he could bring the remainder of the documents with him at that time.
Analysis of the device, which was a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, also revealed a handwritten index describing eight different documents later determined to be classified.
Four of the eight documents listed in the index were found stored on the device, with three being confirmed as containing classified information pertaining to the same US government agency.
"One of those documents was classified TOP SECRET, while the remaining two documents were classified SECRET," a media release said.
FBI analysts were able to determine that Mallory had completed all of the steps necessary to securely transmit at least four documents via the covcom device, one of which contained unique identifiers for human sources who had helped the US government.
Mallory was convicted of conspiracy to deliver, attempted delivery, delivery of defence information to aid a foreign government, and making material false statements.