State Department Official under Scanner for Concealing Financial Relationship with Chinese Agents

Candace Marie Claiborne, a career State Department employee, was charged with hiding contacts with two intelligence agents belonging to the People's Republic of China. The 60 year- old, who was regularly sent on sensitive postings across the world, was seemingly given a lot of gifts along with travel expenses amounting to thousands of dollars. He family members also received a largesse from Beijing. She was arrested on March 28.

According to federal court documents brought to the notice of the public on March 29, Claiborne during a course of five years, accepted cash, tuition payments and meals. The Chinese contacts also provided full use of a laptop computer, phone and a furnished apartment. It has been alleged by federal prosecutors that the contacts and gifts were not divulged by the State Department official, as required law. Such gifts were given to her in exchange for access to scores of sensitive diplomatic data. 

Official career

Claiborne got a job in the State Department as a specialist in office management in 1999. She was subsequently posted to Iraq, Sudan, China and Libya. According to Mary McCord the Assistant Attorney General, she took advantage of her access to crucial diplomatic data in the course of her profession for personal profit. McCord is also the chief of the national security division of the Justice Department.

Documents submitted to the court have taken cognizance of the fact that she was aware of the potential of generating $20,000 dollars every year if she worked with any one of two Chinese agents. It is being alleged by prosecutors that the concerned Chinese agent directed the American official to hand over the US internal analysis on the US and China economic dialogue. Clairborne received money to the tune of $2,480 to her personal bank account.

High level Chinese intelligence

This financial exchange was the start of many subsequent exchanges which not only lined Clairborne's pockets, but also another family member as well. The family member, who was given the cryptic name “Conspirator A” in the court documents seemingly received commitments from the Chinese agents to pay almost $50,000 as tuition fees for the study of fashion design. Money was committed to Shanghai's Raffles Design Institute, Donghua University. The relative, while studying, lived in a fully fitted out apartment. The person also escaped from China after committing a serious crime. The Chinese agents stopped the local police from investigating that person. They also paid for air ticket expenses back to the US. Prosecutors say that such influence can only be held by high standing Chinese agents.

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