A former CIA officer will spend the next 20 years of his life behind federal bars after his conviction for conspiracy to transmit national defense information to an agent of China.

Kevin Patrick Mallory, 62, of Leesburg, Virginia, received 20 years in prison Friday which will be followed by five years of supervised release, said officials at the Department of Justice (DoJ).

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“This sentence, together with the recent guilty pleas of Ron Hansen in Utah and Jerry Lee in Virginia, deliver the stern message that our former intelligence officers have no business partnering with the Chinese, or any other adversarial foreign intelligence service,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers.

“Mallory not only put our country at great risk, but he endangered the lives of specific human assets who put their own safety at risk for our national defense,” said. U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia. “There are few crimes in this country more serious than espionage, and this office has a long history of holding accountable those who betray our country.”

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“U.S. Government employees are trusted to keep the nation’s secrets safe,” said Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, “and this case shows the violation of that trust and duty will not be accepted.”

Mallory was found guilty by a federal jury in June 2018 of conspiracy to deliver, attempted delivery, delivery of national defense information to aid a foreign government and making material false statements. The district court subsequently ordered acquittal as to the delivery and attempted delivery of national defense information counts due to lack of venue.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in March and April 2017, Mallory, a former U.S. intelligence officer, travelled to Shanghai to meet with an individual, Michael Yang, who held himself out as a People’s Republic of China think tank employee, but whom Mallory assessed to be a Chinese Intelligence Officer.

Mallory, a United States citizen who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, consented to an FBI review of a covert communications (covcom) device he had been given by Yang to facilitate covert communications between the two, DoJ said.

Analysis of the device, which was a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, revealed a number of communications in which Mallory and Yang talked about classified information that Mallory could sell to the PRC’s intelligence service. FBI analysts were able to determine Mallory had completed all of the steps necessary to securely transmit at least five classified U.S. government documents via the covcom device, one of which contained unique identifiers for human sources who had helped the United States government, DoJ officials said.

At least two of the documents were successfully transmitted, and Mallory and Yang communicated about those two documents on the covcom device.

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