A former spy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to sell classified U.S. national defense information to the communist regime in China, the U.S. Department of Justice reported Sept. 24.

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 60, of Syracuse, Utah, pleaded guilty to the crime of treason and admitted to receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars as an agent for the Beijing government, according to VOA. 

“These cases show the breadth of the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and the threat they pose to our national security,” Assistant Attorney General John Demurs said, according to Reuters.

Hansen obtained secret information about U.S. military readiness from a colleague at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which he knew was of interest to the Chinese regime.

The colleague who delivered the documents to the convicted man reported his behavior to his superiors and acted as an FBI informant.

He had also received instructions from Hansen on how to record and transmit the documents without detection, and how to hide the money received as payment for those secrets.

Hansen, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Russian, was hired by the DIA in 2006 following his retirement from the U.S. Army.

His financial situation showed that he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and had exceeded his credit card limit.

“There simply are no words to accurately and fully express the depth of regret I have for my decisions and actions. I am so sorry,” Hansen said in Salt Lake City courtroom. “I would give anything to go back and change this,” he added, as quoted by the Washington Examiner.

He was arrested in June 2018 as he was on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to travel to China to deliver the documents with valuable intelligence information he had stolen.

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