WASHINGTON (AFP) — A Pentagon official with "top secret" security clearance has been charged with conspiracy to pass classified information to an agent of China, the US Justice Department said Wednesday.
A criminal complaint said that retired air force Lieutenant Colonel James Wilbur Fondren, a deputy director of the US Pacific Command's Washington Liaison Office, "unlawfully and knowingly conspired" to communicate secrets.
"The allegations in this case are troubling -- providing classified information to a foreign agent of the People's Republic of China is a real and serious threat to our national security," said Dana Boente, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
"The US government places considerable trust in those given access to classified information, and we are committed to prosecuting those who abuse that trust," he said.
The complaint said that Fondren, 62, start providing business consulting advice to a Taiwan-born friend called Tai Shen Kuo around February 1998, about two years after he retired from the US Air Force.