Transmitting classified documents to China never won favors around the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, as former officer Kevin Mallory found out Friday.
Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the Federal jury’s verdict of guilty, leaving a potential sentence of life in prison for the 61-year old hired spy from Leesburg, VA. This case offered a rare glimpse into the seedy underbelly of espionage cases in America, which usually see more plea deals than lengthy trials due to the difficulties that come with procuring, and presenting, classified documents in court.
Attorneys for Mallory vehemently denied all charges that Mallory, who left the CIA in 2012, illegally transmitted classified docs to the People’s Republic of China’s CIA unit. However, despite numerous objections and the presentation of evidence from Mallory’s defense team, the jury wasn’t moved, needing only a day to deliberate before handing down the verdict.
In the original indictment, Mallory was contacted by a Chinese ‘talent scout’ about contract work through a networking website. From there, he was put in contact with a Chinese intelligence officer, Michael Yang, who was interested in using his services as an informant. The former CIA case officer, who just happened to be fluent in Mandarin, flew into Shanghai where he passed U.S. intelligence policy documents and shared some of America’s more intimate details during phone calls.
This fiasco transpired over a four-month period, according to prosecutors.
In their argument, Mallory’s defense team offered up an unintelligible explanation: Mallory offered up a ‘partial truth’ to investigators and handed over his phone when asked; therefore, he’s not betraying his country. Citing complete absurdity, the prosecution wasn’t swayed by this statement. And it’s obvious the jury wasn’t, either.
It’s common for defense teams to fight diligently for their clients. But when prosecutors for the United States present video footage taken from a FedEx store in Leesburg clearly showing Mallory scanning eight classified documents and a Table of Contents onto a micro storage device, it certainly doesn’t make their job easier.
The slew of charges Mallory faced in the original indictment included making material false statements, conspiracy to deliver, delivery of defense information to aid a foreign government, and attempted delivery. Sentencing is scheduled for September, with no mandatory maximums. Anything over 15 years could be seen as life given his age.
Espionage has few crimes ahead of it in terms of heinousness. Treason, and attempting to murder or successfully murdering a sitting U.S. President, are more serious anti-Patriot crimes for which death or life imprisonment is almost imminent.
You can see the DOJ’s official press release on their site.