Feds charge Utah man with attempted espionage

Photo courtesy of gorodenkoff via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former U.S. intelligence officer was charged with attempted espionage for trying to sell secrets to China, the Justice Department announced Monday.

In a 41-page felony complaint, prosecutors claimed Syracuse, Utah, resident Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, was paid up to $800,000 over several years for passing along technology and information about U.S. military and intelligence issues.

Several years after he left the U.S. government, he allegedly attended trade conferences on behalf of China and shared information he gathered with officials connected to Chinese intelligence. Charging documents also allege he transferred forensic software worth several thousand dollars, in violation of export controls.

If convicted, he faces life in prison. No attorney was listed for Hansen in charging documents. No phone number was publicly listed.

According to charging documents, Hansen spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Army including time with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He left the military in 2006 but spent several months as a civilian case officer with the DIA.

He then started working at a pair of digital forensics companies but repeatedly sought work with the government, according to the felony complaint. Among other offers, he allegedly tried to work as a double agent against Chinese intelligence.

The FBI began investigating Hansen in 2014. Unaware of that investigation, he allegedly approached the FBI in 2015 and said Chinese security officials had offered him $300,000 per year to pass along information from U.S. conference and exhibitions.

In 2016, Hansen allegedly told an FBI informant that he was doing consulting for China’s Ministry of State Security.

Prosecutors say the two plotted this year to sell U.S. plans “regarding potential military intervention with China,” and met for roughly two hours near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport over the weekend. He was arrested Saturday on his way to the airport, where prosecutors say he planned to board a flight to China.

Written by JULIAN HATTEM, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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7 Comments

  • Kilroywashere June 4, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    If found guilty, both men deserve life in prison. AND NOT IN CLUB FED EITHER. FBI doing its job.

    • Real Life June 4, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Espionage=death penalty.

      • RadRabbit June 5, 2018 at 10:41 am

        I agree you betray your country you should face the death penalty, same thing Bradley Manning should of gotten.

      • Striker4 June 5, 2018 at 11:57 am

        Real Life = Moron

        • Real Life June 5, 2018 at 8:32 pm

          Good one. It took you 6 days to come up with that?

          • mesaman June 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm

            His mother helped him or it would have taken longer.

  • jaybird June 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Treason used to mean death to traitors. Now they get to run our government.

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