State Department Employee Arrested and Charged
With Concealing Extensive Contacts With Foreign Agents
Department of Justice
March 29, 2017
A federal complaint was unsealed today charging Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, of Washington, D.C., and an employee of the U.S. Department of State, with obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, both felony offenses, for allegedly concealing numerous contacts that she had over a period of years with foreign intelligence agents.
Claiborne as a State Department Employee possessed Top Security Clearance
and had Chinese intelligence agent contacts
“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 McCord. “Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.”
“She is charged with obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements in connection with her alleged concealment and failure to report her improper connections to foreign contacts along with the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits they provided,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “As a State Department employee with a Top Secret clearance, she received training and briefing about the need for caution and transparency. This case demonstrates that U.S. government employees will be held accountable for failing to honor the trust placed in them when they take on such sensitive assignments”
Claiborne is accused of violating her oath of office.
“Claiborne is accused of violating her oath of office as a State Department employee, who was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully mislead federal investigators about her significant and repeated interactions with foreign contacts,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who, though required by law, fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust.”
The FBI arrested Claiborne on March 28. She made her first appearance this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
She worked as an Office Management Specialist in the Department of State since 1999.
According to the affidavit in support of the complaint and arrest warrant, which was unsealed today, Claiborne began working as an Office Management Specialist for the Department of State in 1999. She has served overseas at a number of posts, including embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China. As a condition of her employment, Claiborne maintains a Top Secret security clearance. Claiborne also is required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency.
She received tens of thousands of dollars, technology and communication equipment, gifts, an apartment, and monthly stipend for her “mutually beneficial arrangement.”
Despite such a requirement, the affidavit alleges, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years. According to the affidavit, the gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA 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. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, the affidavit alleges, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.
According to the affidavit, Claiborne noted in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” working with one of the PRC agents, who, shortly after wiring $2,480 to Claiborne, tasked her with providing internal U.S. Government analyses on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.
Claiborne, who allegedly confided to a co-conspirator that the PRC agents were “spies,” willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the affidavit states. After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents, the affidavit alleges.
(Charges contained in a criminal complaint are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.)
The maximum penalty for a person convicted of obstructing an official proceeding is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for making false statements to the FBI is five years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
At her court appearance today, Claiborne pleaded not guilty before the Honorable Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather. A preliminary hearing was set for April 18.
Heavy.com added more information and five fast facts about the case on March 29th:
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said after announcing the charges that it was clear Claiborne used her clearance for her own personal gain.
“Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.” stated McCord.
Under the guise of a birthday message, Claiborne allegedly emailed “co-conspirator A” to delete all messages pertaining to the Chinese agents.
According to the complaint, the email said:
“I hope you enjoyed your day. May Al1ah bless you with health and happiness. Btw delete all email messages and contact information in your email and phone pertaining to [Co-Conspirator B] and [Co-Conspirator
C] — I don’t want any trouble going forward ok — please do this immediately! Messages, nos, (anything) having to do with that fashion school your apartment anything -= even from wechat, fb, slqpe, etc u got me?
According to the affidavit, Claiborne has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement from the University of the District of Columbia and still lives in the area.
Has the word TREASON now become politically incorrect? Treason’s basic definition is betraying one’s country; but I guess “violating an oath” is a snowflake’s version and somehow okay – where no one gets more than a slap on the wrist. Obama and Clinton have escaped blameless and had no charges or prison time for their “violation of oath.”
From what I read, State Department top security personnel have to fill out paperwork every five years. Claiborne intentionally left line items blank then refused to answer pointed questions from investigators. They were not satisfied with her cooperation and decided further legal action needed to done.
Talk about a shocker…but then isn’t it highly interesting that this case seems to have not moved forward until now. Was it that the legal system simply moves slower than a snail? Or could it have to do with a new president and his more qualified appointees. Perhaps this is a wake up call to all those lingering Obama-slugs to start for the nearest exit and stop helping Obama? Would they really like to be taking the rap for their transgressions and be ignored by the Dimwits? Dems do not have any compunction about throwing people under the bus if it saves their hides. They aren’t stupid and how else would their incompetence been overlooked over the years?
The detritus from draining the swamp is about to get deeper and stink worse than rotten eggs. No wonder a lot of these people are screaming — they are seeing the end of their lucrative side jobs.