Friday, March 31, 2017
Anyone Who Works With Foreign Intelligence Agents Should Face Jail
State Department Employee Charged With Working For Foreign Government
The Department of Justice announced the arrest of a State Department employee Wednesday who has been charged with obstructing an FBI investigation into her contacts with foreign intelligence agents.
Candace Claiborne, 60, who has been with the State Department since 1999, was arrested Tuesday and charged with obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, both of which are felonies.
Claiborne appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Claiborne is accused of contacting two Chinese intelligence agents who “provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years,” according to a Department of Justice press release.
She served in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China, the Justice Department said.
Claiborne was required to report her contacts, but did not, the release said.
The press release said Claiborne received cash as well as “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.”
Claiborne was allegedly recruited to provide China with internal U.S. comments on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.
The press release announcing her arrest said that once she was aware she was being investigated, she “instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the (Chinese) agents.”
“Candace Claiborne is accused of violating her oath of office as a State Department employee, who was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully mislead federal investigators about her significant and repeated interactions with foreign contacts,” said Andrew W. Vale, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office.
“The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who, though required by law, fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust,” Vale added.
“As a State Department employee with a Top Secret clearance, she received training and briefing about the need for caution and transparency,” U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips said in a statement.
“This case demonstrates that U.S. government employees will be held accountable for failing to honor the trust placed in them when they take on such sensitive assignments,” she added.
Claiborne could face a maximum of 25 years in prison.