FBI Employee Pleads Guilty to Spying for China

Kun Shan Chun, an FBI employee who pleaded guilty in federal court to having acted as an agent of the Chinese government, is pictured in New York City, New York, U.S. August 1, 2016. REUTERS/NATE RAYMOND

FBI electronics technician Kun Shan Chun, a.k.a. Joey Chun, entered a guilty plea on Monday to acting as an agent for the government of China and passing sensitive material to Chinese officials in that capacity.

Reuters describes the 46-year-old Chun as an employee of the FBI since 1997. From 2011 to 2016, he “acted at the direction of a Chinese official,” providing the Chinese with material including “the identity and travel plans of an FBI agent; an internal organizational chart; and photos he took of documents in a restricted area related to surveillance technology.”

Chun’s Chinese contacts worked for a computer printer manufacturer called Zhuhai Kolion Technology, which enjoys “government backing.” Chun began “consulting” for Kolion at the urging of his parents, who are investors in the company.

ABC News reports that beginning in 2006, Chun and “some of his family members” worked closely with at least one individual “understood to be affiliated with the Chinese government,” in addition to several Kolion businessmen, who rewarded Chun for his services with perks such as paid hotel rooms for his trips to China, and prostitutes to share those hotel rooms with. Chun met with his Chinese associates in Europe as recently as last summer.

The FBI grew suspicious enough of Chun’s activities to assign a Chinese-born undercover agent to his case. Chun eventually spilled the beans about passing sensitive material to the Chinese government, which prompted his quiet arrest in March, after which he admitted to his actions.

The New York Daily News notes that Chun also appears to have falsely claimed he did not have contacts with foreign nationals on a government questionnaire, which he filled out in 2012 while seeking a security clearance.

The NYDN says Chun faces up to 27 months in prison at his sentencing on December 1, while ABC News reports that acting as an agent of a foreign government could carry a 10-year sentence.

“Kun Shan Chun violated our nation’s trust by exploiting his official U.S. government position to provide restricted and sensitive FBI information to the Chinese government,” declared Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who heads up the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Chun said he understood his actions were wrong and apologized for what he has done, but his lawyer insisted that “the truth is that Mr. Chun loves the United States and never intended to cause it any harm.”

Court documents stated that Chun was born in China, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1985. According to the New York Daily News, prosecutors told the court he is currently under psychiatric care.