A US diplomat Candace Marie Claiborne was sentenced in prison for 40 months for lying to the investigator about money which she has received from Chinese intelligence agents in exchange for US documents.

According to the US Justice Department, Claiborne, 63, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States in one of several high-profile cases involving Beijing spies’ recruitment of US officials with access to classified intelligence.

“They gave her “tens of thousands” of dollars in cash and gifts in exchange for documents and information on State Department activities”, US justice department added.

FBI acting assistant director John Selleck said, “Claiborne was entrusted with privileged information as a US government employee, and she abused that trust at the expense of our nation’s security”.

Claiborne will also be fined $40,000.

She was arrested two years ago following an investigation but was not charged with espionage.

US justice department further said, “Claiborne was a Department of State office management specialist based in Beijing and Shanghai who became involved beginning in 2007 with two men.

In April 2019 she admitted conspiracy to defraud the United States, lying to investigators and, as a government official with a high-security clearance, illegally hiding her contacts with foreign agents.

She faced a possible 60 months in prison.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “In May that China poses the most serious intelligence threat to the United States”.