Candace Marie Claiborne spy china

Candace Marie Claiborne
A former State Department employee admitted Wednesday to misleading investigators about accepting thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits from Chinese intelligence agents in exchange for information.

Candace Marie Claiborne, 63, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

"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," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement. "She withheld information and lied repeatedly about these contacts."

Claiborne, who held a top-secret security clearance, was arrested in March 2017. She started working at the State Department as an office management specialist in 1999 and served in multiple overseas postings including Baghdad and Khartoum, Sudan, as well as Beijing and Shanghai.

Prosecutors said that over a five-year period, Claiborne received "Chinese New Year's gifts, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, a monthly stipend and numerous cash payments."

In exchange, the government said, Claiborne "provided copies of internal documents from the State Department on topics ranging from U.S. economic strategies to visits by dignitaries between the two countries."

"Candace Claiborne broke the public trust when she accepted gifts and money from foreign officials, and then lied about it to State Department background investigators," U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu said in a statement. "The United States will continue to seek to hold accountable those who abuse their positions of trust."

Claiborne is scheduled to be sentenced July 9.

Via the DOJ:
"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," said Assistant Attorney General Demers. "She withheld information and lied repeatedly about these contacts. Violations of the public's trust are an affront to our citizens and to all those who honor their oaths. With this guilty plea we are one step closer to imposing justice for these dishonorable criminal acts."

"Candace Claiborne broke the public trust when she accepted gifts and money from foreign officials, and then lied about it to State Department background investigators," said U.S. Attorney Liu. "The United States will continue to seek to hold accountable those who abuse their positions of trust."

"Candace Claiborne was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully misled federal investigators about her repeated interactions with foreign contacts which violated her oath of office as a State Department employee," said Assistant Director McNamara. "The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust."

"Our close working relationship with the FBI and the Department of Justice resulted in the conviction of Candace Claiborne who violated the public trust and damaged our national security," said Deputy Assistant Secretary Colón. "Diplomatic Security will continue working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously defend the interests and security of the United States of America."
Claiborne, who confided to a co-conspirator that the PRC agents were "spies," willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the plea documents state. After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents, the DOJ said.