SALT LAKE CITY — A Syracuse man accused of spying for China said an FBI informant initiated the talk of stealing defense secrets, federal prosecutors said in a court document Wednesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion seeking the admissibility of statements they said Ron Rockwell Hansen made shortly after his arrest June 2.
Hansen was arrested in Seattle in an FBI sting. He later pleaded not guilty to felony charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China, bulk cash smuggling, structuring monetary transactions and smuggling goods from the United States.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that Hansen on June 2 first invoked his Miranda rights, then changed his mind and signed a waiver agreeing to talk to FBI agents.
An agent asked Hansen to explain what happened that day and Hansen “began to contend that the concept of passing classified information originated” with the informant, the document said.
Agents said they challenged Hansen’s account and he quit talking again and said he wanted an attorney.
Hansen’s comments to agents in Seattle should be admitted as evidence, the prosecution document said.
The FBI arrested Hansen while he was on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to board a flight to the People’s Republic of China, prosecutors said in court documents.
Prosecutors alleged Hansen obtained military secrets from an Army intelligence officer they said he had tried to enlist in espionage activities.
That officer contacted the FBI and agreed to participate in a sting when he and Hansen met in Seattle, prosecutors said.
Between 2013 and 2017, Hansen, a former Army intelligence officer, regularly traveled between the United States and China, attending military and intelligence conferences in the U.S., according to court records.
Hansen received more than $800,000 in cash, wires and credit card transactions and improperly sold export-controlled technology to persons in China, records said.