Virginia man with top-secret clearance charged with espionage related to passing defence secrets to China

Kevin Patrick Mallory, a 60-year-old resident of Leesburg, Virginia, who had access to top secret US intelligence, has been charged with delivering defence information to China and faces life in prison.

China has been known to hack US systems and pay US officials for defence information as it tries to modernise its military and reach peer status with the US.

Previous incidents of Chinese espionage have included attempts to steal secrets behind the manufacturing of the US’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

“Kevin Mallory was previously entrusted with Top Secret clearance and therefore had access to classified information, which he allegedly shared and planned to continue sharing with representatives of a foreign government,” Andrew W. Vale, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said in a Department of Justice release.

“Furthermore, he allegedly misled investigators in a voluntary interview about sharing of this classified information. The FBI will continue to investigate those individuals who put our national security at risk through unauthorised disclosures of information.”

According to the Department of Justice, Mallory speaks fluent Chinese and was self-employed as a consultant who worked with multiple government agencies and defence contractors.

Mallory travelled to Shanghai in March and April, at which point transmitted documents classified as secret and top secret to people believed to be in China’s state intelligence service, according to an FBI review of his electronic devices.

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