By Mike Giglio
In early 2017, Kevin Mallory was struggling financially. After years of drawing a government salary as a member of the military and as a CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency officer, he was behind on his mortgage and $230,000 in debt. Though he had, like many veteran intelligence officials, ventured into the private sector, where the pay can be considerably better, things still weren’t going well; his consulting business was floundering.
Then, prosecutors said, he received a message on LinkedIn, where he had more than 500 connections. It had come from a Chinese recruiter with whom Mallory had five mutual connections. The recruiter, according to the message, worked for a think tank in China, where Mallory, who spoke fluent Mandarin, had been based for part of his career. The think tank, the recruiter said, was interested in Mallory’s foreign-policy expertise. The LinkedIn message led to a phone call with a man who called himself Michael Yang. According to the FBI, the initial conversations that would lead Mallory down a path of betrayal were conducted in the bland language of professional courtesy. That February, according to a search warrant, Yang sent Mallory an email requesting “another short phone call with you to address several points.” Mallory replied, “So I can be prepared, will we be speaking via Skype or will you be calling my mobile device?”
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