State Department official indicted for concealing contact with foreign agents

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A State Department official who held a "mid-level" position has been arrested and indicted for concealing contacts she had with Chinese agents who gave her gifts for information.

A former State Department employee has been arrested and charged with covering up contacts with foreign agents from China, making false statements to the F.B.I., obstructing an official proceeding, and using her position and access to top secret documents for personal gain, the Justice Department said in a press release.

The employee's name is Candace Marie Claiborne, a 60-year old who has been working in the Washington, D.C. State Department since 1999. There have been rumors that Claiborne has worked with former President Barack Obama under his administration, as well as Democrat Hillary Clinton, however those rumors remain unproven. Claiborne did, however, held a mid-level job from 2009-2013 in the State Department in the President's executive branch, which was headed by Obama from 2009-2017 - which isn't technically an "employee" of Obama, as Snopes points out. An affidavit that accompanied the criminal complain against Claiborne was still working for the State Department at the time of her arrest.

Claiborne appeared in court in late March and plead not guilty to the loads of charges brought against her by the U.S. Justice Department. She is scheduled for an upcoming preliminary hearing sometime this year.

“Candace Marie Claiborne is a U.S. State Department employee who possesses a Top Secret security clearance and allegedly failed to report her contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord said. “Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.”



“Candace Claiborne is charged with obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements in connection with her alleged concealment and failure to report her improper connections to foreign contacts along with the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits they provided,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “As a State Department employee with a Top Secret clearance, she received training and briefing about the need for caution and transparency. This case demonstrates that U.S. government employees will be held accountable for failing to honor the trust placed in them when they take on such sensitive assignments."

"After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents, the affidavit alleges." -Department of Justice Fortunately enough to solidify her life in prison sentence, "Claiborne pleaded not guilty before the Honorable Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather."


“Candace Claiborne is accused of violating her oath of office as a State Department employee, who was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully mislead federal investigators about her significant and repeated interactions with foreign contacts,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who, though required by law, fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust.”

Claiborne is required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency.

Despite such a requirement, the affidavit alleges, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years. According to the affidavit, the gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA account, an Apple iPhone and laptop computer, Chinese New Year’s gifts, meals, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, the affidavit alleges, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.

If convicted, Claiborne could face a sentence over thirty years, however, State Department prosecutors are pushing for a life sentence.

The full affidavit from the State Department can be viewed and downloaded here. 

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Political Outsource | Reporting The News Others Won't: State Department official indicted for concealing contact with foreign agents
State Department official indicted for concealing contact with foreign agents
A State Department official who held a "mid-level" position has been arrested and indicted for concealing contacts she had with Chinese agents who gave her gifts for information.
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