Former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer Ron Rockwell Hansen was arrested on Saturday by the FBI for allegedly attempting to transfer “national defense information” to China, the Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a press release.
The 58-year-old Hansen was arrested by FBI agents while he was on his way to the Seattle-Tacoma airport in Seattle, Washington, where he had booked a flight to China, DOJ officials said.
“These allegations are very troubling in their description of conduct that runs contrary to how we identify ourselves as Americans,” said U.S. Attorney John Huber.
During his tenure at the DIA, Hansen received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from the Chinese intelligence service. Hansen, a former U.S. Army Warrant Officer, joined the DIA in 2006 as a case officer and held a top-secret security clearance.
From 2013 to 2017, Hansen would routinely attend military conferences in the United States and then fly to China and debrief his handlers on what he had learned. He also sold “export-controlled” items to the Chinese. The DOJ says that Hansen received “no less than $800,000” from China.
Authorities began investigating Hansen after he attempted to obtain classified information from a law enforcement officer after he left the DIA.
The DIA is the Department of Defense’s primary intelligence agency, similar in nature to the more well-known Central Intelligence Agency. According to the agency’s website, the DIA’s mission is to “produce, analyze, and disseminate military intelligence information to combat and non-combat military missions.” The DIA employs a mix of both civilian and military personnel.
If convicted of espionage, Hansen may face a life sentence.