FBI: Syracuse man got $800K from China for U.S. defense secrets

Monday , June 04, 2018 - 4:41 PM1 comment

FBI agents arrested a Syracuse man on charges of attempting to sell U.S. defense secrets to China, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, identified as a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, was arrested Saturday afternoon while he was on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle to board a flight to the People’s Republic of China, the government said in a press release.

Hansen attempted to transmit defense information to the Chinese intelligence service and “allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars while illegally acting as an agent of China,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in the press release.

U.S. Attorney John Huber in Salt Lake City said the arrest followed a lengthy investigation.

“This case drives home the troubling reality of insider threats and that current and former clearance holders will be targeted by our adversaries,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart said in Salt Lake City.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner signed a 15-count indictment against Hansen. It alleged the Utahn attempted to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government. The complaint also charges Hansen with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China, bulk cash smuggling, structuring monetary transactions and smuggling goods from the United States.

Hansen retired from the U.S. Army as a warrant officer with a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence, the press release said. He speaks Mandarin-Chinese and Russian. The Defense Intelligence Agency hired Hansen as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006. Hansen held a top secret clearance for years, the release said.

Between 2013 and 2017, Hansen regularly traveled between the United States and China, attending military and intelligence conferences in the United States, according to court records. Hansen received more than $800,000 in cash, wires and credit card transactions and improperly sold export-controlled technology to persons in China, records said.

Hansen was scheduled to make an initial court appearance later Monday in Seattle.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEmarkshenefelt.

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