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.
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.
contained in a criminal complaint are merely allegations, and every
defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable
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
The FBI’s Washington Field Office is leading the
investigation into this matter. The case is being prosecuted by
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John L. Hill and Thomas A. Gillice for the
District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Julie Edelstein of the National
Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
2017 03 29 Claiborne Complaint and Redacted Affidavit