Syracuse man charged with spying for China moved to Salt Lake County jail, enters plea

Ron Rockwell Hansen. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 17, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A Syracuse man arrested in Seattle has been transferred to the Salt Lake County Jail, and has pleaded not guilty to spying for intelligence agents in China.

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, was arrested on June 2 at the Sea-Tac Airport as he prepared to board an airplane for China. On Friday, Hansen pleaded not guilty to felony charges of:

  • Acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China
  • Bulk cash smuggling
  • Smuggling goods from the United States
  • Structuring monetary transactions

Hansen was transferred from Seattle to Utah on Thursday and entered his pleas before Magistrate Paul Warner in U.S. District Court on Friday.

Hansen is a former officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

At the time of Hansen’s arrest, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, released a statement:

“Ron Rockwell Hansen is a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who allegedly attempted to transmit national defense information to the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence service (PRCIS) and also allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars while illegally acting as an agent of China,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, in a prepared statement.

“His alleged actions are a betrayal of our nation’s security and the American people and are an affront to his former intelligence community colleagues. Our intelligence professionals swear an oath to protect our country’s most closely held secrets and the National Security Division will continue to relentlessly pursue justice against those who violate this oath.”

According to Department of Justice information released in June, Hansen retired from the U.S. Army as a warrant officer with a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence. He speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.

The DIA hired Hansen as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006, the DOJ statement says. Hansen held a Top Secret clearance for many years, and signed several non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at DIA and as a government contractor.

“Between 2013 and 2017, Hansen regularly traveled between the United States and China, attending military and intelligence conferences in the U.S. and provided the information he learned at the conferences to contacts in China associated with the PRCIS,” a DOJ statement said.

“Hansen received payments for this information by a variety of methods, including cash, wires and credit card transactions. He also improperly sold export-controlled technology to persons in China. From May of 2013 to the date of the complaint, Hansen received not less than $800,000 in funds originating from China.

“In addition, Hansen repeatedly attempted to regain access to classified information after he stopped working on behalf of the U.S. Government. Hansen’s alerting behavior ultimately resulted in the participation of a law enforcement source from whom Hansen solicited classified information.

“Hansen disclosed to the source his ongoing contact with the PRCIS, including in-person meetings with intelligence officers during his trips to China. Hansen told the source the types of information his contacts in China were interested in and discussed working with the source to provide such information to the PRCIS. Hansen suggested he and the source would be handsomely paid.”


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