Feds seek to use top secret info against Utah man accused of spying for China

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal grand jury has indicted a Utah man accused of spying for China. In a court filing, federal prosecutors also disclose they plan to use information obtained through secret warrants against him.

The filing discloses that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah intends to use electronic and physical evidence obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Ron Rockwell Hansen. Additionally, FOX 13 is told federal prosecutors have asked the court to designate someone as a “classified information security officer” to prevent disclosures as the case goes through the courts, as the case involves the use of top secret information.

Hansen, 58, was arrested earlier this month at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where federal authorities allege he was going to be boarding a flight to China. He appeared before a federal judge in Seattle and has agreed to be returned to Salt Lake City to face charges.

An indictment issued this week formally charges him with attempting to gather or deliver Defense information; being an agent of a foreign government; structuring monetary transactions; and smuggling goods from the United States. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted.

The indictment alleges Hansen had been a defense intelligence contractor who was passing classified information along to the People’s Republic of China Intelligence Services. The indictment claims he repeatedly tried to gain intelligence information after leaving work for the U.S. government but offered to work as a “double agent” —  including contacting a congressman on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. However, the indictment alleges Hansen never disclosed to the feds that he was ever working as an agent of a foreign government.

Hansen traveled between the U.S. and China between 2013 and 2017, and provided military and intelligence information to contacts in China associated with PRCIS, the charging documents allege. Hansen is accused of traveling to China repeatedly and returning with large amounts of money. He received payments of at least $800,000 originating from China, prosecutors claim.

The indictment said the FBI had been investigating Hansen for years and in interviews with agents in Salt Lake City, he disclosed PRCIS had tried to recruit him. It also said a number of court-ordered search warrants were conducted over the years by FBI agents, including finding a thumb drive in his shoe and a laptop with information on U.S. government employees and Utah politicians.