State Department employee charged with lying to FBI

Veteran State Department employee charged with making false statements about gifts received from Chinese intelligence agents.

Ben Ariel ,

State Department building
State Department building

A veteran State Department employee was charged on Wednesday with making false statements to the FBI about gifts she had received from Chinese intelligence agents, the Justice Department announced, according to Fox News.

A criminal complaint accuses Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, who appeared before a judge, of concealing her contacts with the intelligence agents and failing to report gifts she had received from them, including an iPhone, a laptop and international travel.

Claiborne was arrested on Tuesday. Family members who were in court declined to comment on her behalf.

Prosecutors said two intelligence agents provided Claiborne, who joined the State Department in 1999 and served in different locations overseas, and her family with thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits over five years.

Claiborne has served at a number of posts, including embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China, according to Fox News.

"As a State Department employee with a Top Secret clearance, she received training and briefing about the need for caution and transparency," U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips said in a statement. "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, who allegedly confided to a co-conspirator that the Chinese agents were “spies,” willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the affidavit stated.

If convicted, Claiborne face 20 years in prison. She pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and faces a preliminary hearing April 18.