Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, was arrested last Saturday on federal charges of attempting to transfer national defense information to the government of China. Hansen is a former U.S. Army Warrant Officer and has been working as a civilian intelligence case officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency since 2006.
Hansen was taken into custody while on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle to board a connecting flight to China. He is a resident of Syracuse, Utah.
“The allegations in this complaint are grave as it appears. Mr. Hansen engaged in behavior that betrayed his oath and his country,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “This case drives home the troubling reality of insider threats and that current and former clearance holders will be targeted by our adversaries. The FBI will aggressively investigate individuals who put our national security at risk.”
Hansen attended military and intelligence conferences in the U.S. then provided information gleaned from those conferences to contacts in China associated with the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence service. He traveled regularly between the U.S. and China between 2013 and 2017. According to authorities Hansen was paid at least $800,000 for the information he passed along to Chinese officials.
Hansen has a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence and is fluent in both Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.
Authorities were alerted when Hansen repeatedly attempted to regain access to classified U.S. government information. A law enforcement source from whom Hansen consistently solicited information began cooperating with authorities.
Hansen’s initial court appearance will be Monday at 5 p.m. EDT in U.S. District Court in Seattle. He is charged in a 15-count complaint. The charges include attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government, acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China and smuggling goods from the United States.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of attempted espionage.
“Ron Rockwell Hansen is a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who allegedly attempted to transmit national defense information to the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence service (PRCIS) and also allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars while illegally acting as an agent of China,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers in a statement.
“His alleged actions are a betrayal of our nation’s security and the American people and are an affront to his former intelligence community colleagues. Our intelligence professionals swear an oath to protect our country’s most closely held secrets and the National Security Division will continue to relentlessly pursue justice against those who violate this oath.”
Photo by Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons