Ex-US defense contractor accused of spying for China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Dana J. Boente, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia

A former US defense contractor has been charged with giving top-secret military documents to the Chinese government, according to the US Justice Department.

Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, was charged Thursday with delivering military information to a foreign government and with making false statements to FBI agents, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Mallory, a self-employed consultant who worked for various US government agencies and defense contractors until 2012, made his initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Thursday.

“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,” Dana J. Boente, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.

Mallory, of Leesburg, Virginia, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the espionage charges.

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Mallory is fluent in Chinese. He served in the US Army, then as a special agent for the security service of the US State Department, before becoming a contractor to various government agencies.   

The Washington Post said Mallory had also worked for the CIA.     

The content of the documents in question was not divulged but was characterized as "defense information" for which he received $25,000.   

"Your object is to gain information and my object is to be paid," Mallory told Chinese agents in a May 5 message, according to an indictment.

In April, Mallory was returning from a trip to Shanghai when a Customs and Border Protection search of his carry-on luggage revealed that he was bringing $16,500 in undeclared cash into the United States, according to a complaint filed by an FBI agent. 

In a subsequent FBI interview and search, several classified documents and messages were recovered in which Mallory had discussed removing classification markings from documents he was transmitting.

The US and China have become increasingly suspicious of each other’s espionage activities. The US government has routinely accused China of state-sponsored hacking of industrial secrets.

The New York Time reported in May that China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling US spying operations in the country.

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

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