Maxwell Air Force Base professor pleads guilty to lying about relationship with China

A Maxwell Air Force Base professor has admitted to lying about an improper relationship with a Chinese official.

The professor faces up to 5 years in prison due to violating his security clearance.

Maxwell Air Force Base professor Xiaoming Zhang recently pleaded guilty to lying about communication with Chinese officials during security clearance with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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As part of obtaining the security clearance required for his position at Maxwell, Zhang was to disclose any existing relationship with any foreign politician or government employee.

Zhang, a Chinese-born American citizen, admitted to concealing emails and meetings with Chinese officials for several years - a direct violation of his security clearance. He continued to do so, “even after he came to understand that the official was attempting to gather sensitive information” from him,” according to the Department of Justice.

Records show that Zhang exchanged at least 40 emails and had at least six in-person meetings with one official in particular, and later confirmed to the DOJ that his concealment of the relationship was a result of his knowledge that it was an improper one.

Not only did Zhang fail to disclose his relationship with a Chinese official, but denied even knowing the official in question when asked by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2017. 

“When the FBI interviewed Zhang in July of 2020, he initially made more false statements, but eventually admitted to meeting with the official in China on numerous occasions and to being untruthful concerning that information,” the DOJ reported.

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