The Justice Department on Wednesday announced charges against a State Department employee who prosecutors said failed to disclose contact she had with Chinese intelligence agents and accepted gifts from the agents — ranging from cash to a laptop computer to a fully furnished apartment.
Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, is charged with the felony offenses of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors said the charges stem from her attempts to conceal numerous contacts she had with intelligence agents spanning back five years.
“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. “Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit.”
Ms. Claiborne, who began working for the State Department in 1999, was required as part of her job to report any contacts with people who were believed to be members of foreign intelligence.
But prosecutors said Ms. Claiborne did not report repeated contacts with two agents, or the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts that she and her family were provided.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, the gifts included: cash wired to Ms. Claiborne’s bank 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.