HMM: ‘Top Secret’ State Dep’t Employee Charged With Concealing Contacts With Chinese Agents. [archive]

Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, a long-time employee of the U.S. State Department — starting in 1999 under the Clinton administration — was arrested and charged with obstrucing an official proceeding and making false statements about her alleged contacts with agents of Communist China, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Claiborne started at the State Department as an Office Management Specialist and she held a “Top Secret” clearance. Claiborne served in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, and in the first two months of the Trump administration. Over the years she held posts at embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China. She was arrested on March 28, 2017. She can speak Arabic, Chinese and Spanish.

From the DOJ press release linked in that article:

Claiborne . . . is required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency.

Despite such a requirement, the affidavit alleges, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years. According to the affidavit, the gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA account, an Apple iPhone and laptop computer, Chinese New Year’s gifts, meals, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, the affidavit alleges, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.

According to the affidavit, Claiborne noted in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” working with one of the PRC agents, who, shortly after wiring $2,480 to Claiborne, tasked her with providing internal U.S. Government analyses on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.

Claiborne, who allegedly 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 affidavit states. 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 affidavit alleges.