Updated Jun 9, 2018

Ex-CIA officer found guilty of espionage

A man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency seal. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A former CIA officer was found guilty of espionage, on behalf of China, and lying to the FBI about communication with Chinese officials, the New York Times reports. The officer, Kevin Mallory, faces life in prison following the verdict.

The intrigue: Per the times, the prosecution called his story "totally and completely absurd," explaining that he "selectively disclosed his contacts in order to have a potential defense in case federal investigators caught on to his true plan: to trade American secrets for cash." However, Mallory’s lawyers persistently denied the charges claiming that he is "a former C.I.A. clandestine officer and a private consultant, is a patriot who planned to use his recruitment to lure Chinese intelligence handlers into the C.I.A.'s grasp."

The gritty details: Mallory was contacted by a Chinese headhunter in early 2017 to do contracting work for a networking site. The Times details that Mallory, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, "was passed to a Chinese intelligence operative working for a think tank who wanted him to become an informant." He then traveled to Shanghai, "had covert communications with the operative on a Chinese-provided phone and passed information — including an unclassified white paper on American intelligence policy — to his handlers," per the Times, citing authorities.

  • "But Chinese attempts to protect the contents of the phone from prying eyes failed because of an apparent technical problem," per the Times. Adding that "the F.B.I. was able to analyze it and found a handwritten index describing eight documents. Four of the documents listed in the index were found on the phone, with three containing classified information."

One key twist: He reportedly "told the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. parts of the story and provided his phone to agents. This was evidence that Mr. Mallory was not a spy, his lawyers said."

What they're saying: G. Zachary Terwilliger, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia told the Times: "There are few crimes in this country more serious than espionage... This office has a long history of holding those accountable who betray their country and try and profit off of classified information."

Go deeper

China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.