Former State Dept. Employee Admits Conspiring With Chinese Agents

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A former State Department employee on Wednesday admitted in federal court that she took part in a conspiracy in which she gave Chinese foreign agents internal documents in exchange for cash and gifts, the Justice Department said in a press release.

"Candace Marie Claiborne, a former employee of the US Department of State, pleaded guilty today to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, by lying to law enforcement and background investigators, and hiding her extensive contacts with, and gifts from, agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in exchange for providing them with internal documents from the US State Department," the release said.

According to plea documents filed in federal court, Claiborne began working for the State Department in 1999 and held Top Secret security clearance. She served abroad at US embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Khartoum, Beijing and Shanghai, the Justice Department said.

​Claiborne admitted in her plea documents that she had contacts with two agents of China's intelligence service who provided her with tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits over the span of five years.

The gifts included cash wired to Claiborne's bank account, Chinese New Year's presents, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, a monthly stipend, and numerous other cash payments, the Justice Department said.

Claiborne's sentencing is scheduled for July 9, and she faces a maximum of five years in prison, the release said.

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