Talk about paying the price! Candace Claiborne, who began working during the Bill Clinton presidency in 1999, was just sentenced to 40 months in prison and a $40,000 fine. She apparently accepted thousands of dollars and gifts from the Chinese intelligence agents in exchange for information she gave them, putting her country at risk for the sake of monetary gain. I guess they're right when they say 'money talks.'
It was U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss who stated that sentencing people is difficult, but then he called her crimes “a truly grave offense, a betrayal of her employer and a betrayal of her country.” Then he disched out the 40 months in prison and that's when she started weeping.
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Fox News reported that "Claiborne, 63, whom Moss agreed up until now had been a model citizen with no criminal history, said, “I’m sorry for what I did.” She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States in April and faced up to five years in prison."
The Fox News report stated that Claiborne had top-secret security clearances and she worked as an Office Management Specialist for the State Department back in 1999. That's when Bill Clinton was president. Claiborne also reportedly served on multiple jobs in "Baghdad and Khartoum, Sudan, as well as Beijing and Shanghai."
Claiborne was quoted saying this to Judge Moss: “This is not what I had envisioned for my life... I still don’t know how I lost myself... I lost my job, reputation and the trust of the government. I made a terrible mistake and now I'm paying the price."
Former State Department employee Candace Claiborne sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for passing internal state department documents to Chinese agents in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts.— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) July 9, 2019
Claiborne, "I still don't know how I lost myself" Then through tears, "I want to apologize to the government... and my family for what I have done."— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) July 9, 2019
It could have been much worse for Claiborne, and many people are surprised it was not considering her crime could've put the country in jeopardy.
The federal prosecutor, named Thomas Gillice, wanted her to get the maximum sentence. He stated that Claiborne knew exactly what she was doing and how wrong it was, yet it didn't stop her from doing it and that she did it for a long time due to the financial gain it provided her.
I thought government jobs with top-secret clearance paid a pretty penny? Was her salary and benefits not enough?
Gillice stated, "she did this repeatedly over a period of years and at the expense of her country."
How did Claiborne get busted?
Fox News covered that, stating that the "government produced extensive evidence of contacts between Claiborne and two Chinese intelligence agents, including emails, text messages and at least one voicemail. Some of the documents she shared with the agents included U.S. economic strategies and visits by dignitaries between the two countries."
The prosecutors focused on some of her crimes from 2011, some of which the activities went on for over five years.
It's reported that Chinese agents gave Claiborne cash, food, tuition payments for a Chinese fashion school (what the heck???), vacations, an apartment with furniture, a laptop, a phone, and even a monthly stipend. It wasn't just Claiborne who received these gifts either - some of them went directly to her family members.
Judge Moss stated that none of the info she gave to Chinese agents was classified, but it was still unacceptable to provide foreign agents with government information. He said, "if this has been classified information we would be talking about a sentence three or four times longer than this."
This all gets a little shady at the end. Claiborne apparently told her so-called co-conspirators to "delete evidence of her connection to the agents."
I guess she didn't flip on anyone, at least not publicly. I wouldn't be shocked if she flipped on everyone, but they're keeping a secret until they bust down some other doors.
Claiborne will finish off her sentence with 36 months of supervised released. She also has to be interviewed by the FBI and participate in a video with the State Department so they can deter other employees from becoming traitors.
Sounds like that part will be really embarrassing, but that's what you get for cheating on your country.