But five years later, Mallory’s business was failing, and prosecutors said he was in danger of losing his $US900,000 home ($1.3 million) in Leesburg. In February 2017, he was contacted on the social networking site LinkedIn by a recruiter for the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, a think tank that prosecutors believe is a front for Chinese spy activity.
Mallory then made two trips to China, was given a modified mobile phone by Chinese officials to conduct secret chats, and was paid a total of $US25,000 in cash in exchange for documents, the evidence showed. The government said eight of those documents contained classified information, though it was not clear whether six of them were ever actually sent.
«Your object is to gain information, and my object is to be paid for it,» Mallory said in one message to the Chinese, according to court filings.
Then in May 2017, Mallory approached the CIA to tell the agency about his operation, saying he was being recruited by Chinese intelligence. He turned over the modified mobile phone, where the FBI found his messages with the Chinese. Mallory claimed he had handed over only two «essentially worthless» unclassified white papers on policy in exchange for the money, his lawyers said. Prosecutors said the documents were considered secret and related to Americans working undercover for the CIA, and that Mallory had once been their handler.
Evidence at Mallory’s trial included surveillance video from a FedEx store in Leesburg, where Mallory could be seen scanning documents classified «Secret» and «Top Secret» onto a memory card, which FBI investigators found during a search of Mallory’s home the day he was arrested.
Earlier this month, another former CIA officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, pleaded guilty to federal charges of spying for China.
Ron Rockwell Hansen, a former DIA officer, pleaded guilty in March to espionage related charges and receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars while acting as an agent for Beijing.
Reuters, Washington Post