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Asia Minute: Cash, Lies and Chinese Intelligence Agents

President Trump is getting ready for his first face to face meeting with China’s president taking place next week in Florida. This week, there’s news of a case involving a State Department employee, Chinese intelligence agents, cash, and lies. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


This is definitely not a case of someone dramatically spilling the crown jewels of U.S. intelligence to Chinese spies.

The charges involve a low-level State Department employee lying about her contacts with Chinese intelligence agents.

But they also provide a window into some of the workings of current day intelligence gathering. 

Justice Department officials say Candace Marie Claiborne worked for the State Department for nearly 20 years holding a top secret security clearance in her position as an office management specialist.

According to the complaint, she and an unnamed male co-conspirator started receiving gifts from two intelligence agents in China starting in 2011.

The complaint details payments of cash, rent, an iPhone and a MacBook laptop, vacations—even a tuition payment at a Chinese fashion school for her co-conspirator.

In return, the Justice Department says the Chinese were eager for an internal analysis of the U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue...which she provided, although she says she did not give any classified information.

The Chinese apparently realized that asking her to provide material, quote, “they cannot find on the internet.”

Claiborne pleaded not guilty this week—if convicted on all counts, she faces 25 years in prison.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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