National Security & Defense

Ex-State Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Chinese Agents

(Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

A former worker at the State Department pled guilty Wednesday to conspiring with Chinese agents and subsequently lying to investigators.

Candace Claiborne, 63, faces up to five years in prison for providing Chinese agents with internal State Department documents and hiding contacts and gifts from law enforcement, according to the Justice Department.

Claiborne had a top-secret security clearance and had been an office-management specialist at the State Department since 1999, at one point holding an overseas post in China, before she was charged in 2017. The government documents she leaked to two agents for the People’s Republic of China Intelligence Service covered topics ranging from U.S. economic strategies to official visits between the two countries.

Over five years, China allegedly provided her with tens of thousands of dollars worth of compensation for her efforts, including cash, international vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend for her and an unidentified family member.

“Candace Marie Claiborne traded her integrity and non-public information of the United States government in exchange for cash and other gifts from foreign agents she knew worked for the Chinese intelligence service,” read a statement from John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security. “She withheld information and lied repeatedly about these contacts.”

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