Feds want to use video interview of Utah man accused of spying for China

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to allow them to use a videotaped interview with a Utah man accused of spying for the Chinese government.

In a court filing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah asked the judge to allow an interview Ron Rockwell Hansen did with FBI agents shortly after his arrest in Seattle. Hansen, who is facing espionage charges, is accused of passing along information to China’s intelligence service.

Federal prosecutors claim that after being arrested and read his rights, Hansen tried to explain some of what happened.

“Mr. Hansen began to contend that the concept of passing classified information originated with the confidential human source (CHS). Being aware of the recorded conversations between Mr. Hansen and the CHS, the agents confronted Mr. Hansen regarding the veracity of his account, and Mr. Hansen ceased offering any further explanation and again invoked his right to counsel,” assistant U.S. Attorney for Utah Rob Lund wrote.

Prosecutors believe the statements would be helpful to their case at trial. The defense will have a chance to respond before the judge rules.

A federal grand jury indicted Hansen, accusing him of 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 the Chinese government.