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The seal of the State Department is seen before Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the Washington Passport Agency, Tuesday, July 12, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A State Department employee was charged with lying about her contacts with Chinese agents


A State Department employee appeared in federal court in D.C. on Wednesday to face charges in a FBI counterintelligence investigation, according to Reuters.

Candace Claiborne, 60, who works in the office that handles Caucasus Affairs and has a Top Secret security clearance, is accused of making false statements to federal investigators about her contacts with Chinese intelligence agents. 

She was arrested on Tuesday.

The Justice Department, in a press release, said the Chinese agents provided Claiborne with gifts and benefits worth thousands of dollars. "[She] used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit," the release said.

"She received training and briefing about the need for caution and transparency," said U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips. "U.S. government employees will be held accountable for failing to honor the trust placed in them when they take on such sensitive assignments."

According the the Justice Department's press release, Claiborne joined the State Department in 1999 as an office management specialist. She has served overseas in numerous posts, with stints in Iraq and Sudan in addition to China.

According to ABC News, prosecutors are asking that Claiborne be placed on home confinement. Family members who were in court declined to comment on her case.

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