A former US diplomatic officer has been arrested and charged with giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent.
According to an affidavit, Kevin Mallory, a 60-year-old from Virginia, is said to have travelled to Shanghai in March and April 2017.
He also failed to declare $16,500 in cash found in two carry-on bags when travelling through Chicago airport, said the Associated Press.
Under the federal Espionage Act, he could face life in prison.
The FBI has confirmed he was entrusted with high-level clearance when working for the government.
His access was rescinded when he ceased to be a state employee in 2012, after which he became a self-employed consultant.
During a voluntary interview with FBI agents in May, Mr Mallory said the person he met in Shanghai told him he was working for a Chinese think-tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS).
The FBI has, since at least 2014, believed that Chinese spies use SASS affiliations to cover-up their identities, according to the聽US Department of Justice.
The affidavit also detailed a note Mr Mallory allegedly wrote to the individual, saying “your object is to gain information, and my object is to be paid”.