From 2012 on, Hansen sought at first to get rehired in the US government to a job with a security clearance, but when those efforts failed, he began contacting former DIA colleagues, according to the complaint.
Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, identified as a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, was arrested Saturday afternoon while he was on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle to board a flight to the People's Republic of China, the government said in a press release.
Hansen is a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer.
"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", said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, according to the Times.
Hansen, who lived in Syracuse, Utah, served in the army for almost 20 years, working as a case officer for the DIA while on active duty from 2000-2006, court documents reveal.
Former CIA case officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee was arrested earlier this year for conspiring to sell national defence information to China, and former United States intelligence employee Kevin Mallory is now on trial on similar charges.
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Hansen also made "repeated" attempts to gain access to classified USA intelligence after leaving service with the DIA. 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.
The government said that between 2013 and 2017, he traveled between the two countries attending conferences and provided the information he learned to China's intelligence service. He speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.
Charge documents indicate Hansen received payments for this information by a variety of methods, including cash, wires and credit card transactions. It also claims he sold forensic software to China in violation of export controls. From May of 2013 to the date of the complaint, Hansen received not less than $800,000 in funds originating from China.
Over time, the complaint said, Hansen spoke more and more with the confidential source about selling information to China, and, in a conversation in April, Hansen said the Chinese would pay $200,000 for the U.S.
"Hansen claimed that he initiated the meetings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an attempt to offer his cooperation as a source", the complaint states.
If convicted, he faces life in prison.