A former CIA officer accused of spying for China will go on trial on Tuesday, in the latest effort by US prosecutors to fight alleged Chinese espionage.
Spy wars: a former CIA agent accused of spying for China is about to go on trial
Kevin Mallory, 61, is accused of working for Chinese intelligence.
The US Department of Justice accused him of passing on top secret documents to a Chinese agent in Shanghai last year.
Mallory had held top secret clearance during his employment with various government agencies and defense contractors, according to the DOJ. The Washington Post identified Mallory as a former CIA agent.
US prosecutors had charged him with gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government, but Mallory said he was meeting Chinese agents in order to expose them to US authorities.
The prosecutors suggested that the Chinese agents had represented themselves as staff for a Chinese think tank. The FBI said the think tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, had previously been used as cover for Chinese intelligence operatives.
Mallory’s defense attorneys wrote in a court filing that he had wanted to ensnare the Chinese operatives, according to the Washington Post.
"He sent what he thought was worthless information to keep his Chinese contacts interested in him until the CIA would meet with him," public defenders Geremy Kamens and Todd Richman wrote in the filing.
But prosecutors said Mallory was trying to cash in on US secrets. US authorities found $16,500 in Mallory’s bags when he returned to the country from his Shanghai trip last April, according to court documents.
Mallory is one of two former CIA officers accused recently of spying for Chinese intelligence.
Earlier this month, former CIA agent Jerry Chun Shing Lee was charged with conspiring to commit espionage. Lee’s action was said to have helped China dismantle the CIA’s spy network in the country.
If convicted, both men face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Separately, in France, two former spies with the country’s DGSE intelligence agency – similar to America’s CIA, have been charged with treason for spying for China, the Telegraph reports.