Mallory, who had top secret security clearance, worked as a CIA officer, and was stationed in Iraq, China and Taiwan.
Mallory is a self-employed consultant with GlobalEx, LLC. and resides in Leesburg, Virginia. According to the criminal complaint, he graduated from Brigham Young University in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Shortly thereafter, Mallory worked full-time in a military position for five years. Once he left that job, he continued his military service as an Army reservist and worked as a special agent for the State Department Diplomatic Security Service for three years (1987-1990).
A single reference buried deep within hundreds of pages of court filings in the case of convicted CIA turncoat Kevin Mallory reveals the name of a Shanghai-based “executive search firm” that bears the hallmarks of a classic espionage front, former intelligence operatives from the U.S. and Russia tell The Daily Beast.
The U.S. government’s evidence against Mallory, who was found guilty Friday of espionage-related charges, included a photograph of a business card belonging to alleged Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) agent Richard Yang, who presented himself as a corporate headhunter. Prosecutors said he was one of Mallory’s handlers. According to court documents, the picture was taken at Darren & Associates, a supposed corporate recruiter with no listed phone number or executives and an address that traces back to a rent-by-the-hour space on Shanghai’s Hubin Road.
Darren & Associates’ connection to the Mallory case has not been previously reported. The firm has been in business for either “around 40 years,” as its website claims, or since 2014, as stated on its LinkedIn page. The job networking site lists no actual former or current employees, and the company has a near-zero web presence, which is highly unusual for an organization that describes itself as a successful global enterprise.
“Clearly this is phony,” said former KGB sleeper agent Jack Barsky. “The first thing you do to figure out how real [a company is] is look at their website, and this is just not the footprint of a solid company.”“Clearly this is phony… The first thing you do to figure out how real [a company is] by looking at their website, and this is just not the footprint of a solid company.”— former KGB sleeper agent Jack Barsky
It’s a “flimsy mechanism for them to use,” agreed former CIA officer Christopher Burgess. “To me, this is what someone would put up so that their business contact isn’t naked. But what it doesn’t do is talk about who they are, where they are, doesn’t give you names, and their mission is so general that it can cover anything.”
Richard Yang subsequently introduced Mallory to an associate, Michael Yang, who claimed to be affiliated with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). It has a close relationship with the Shanghai State Security Bureau (SSSB), a sub-component of the Ministry of State Security, according to the FBI. The Shanghai security bureau “uses SASS employees as spotters and assessors,” says one court filing, and “FBI has further assessed that SSSB intelligence officers have also used SASS affiliation as cover identities.”
Chinese think tanks like the Shanghai academy “can be used to invite someone over who is either a person of interest or a source,” Peter Mattis of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Program told Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Elias Groll of Foreign Policy last year. “That person comes over and gives a talk, and they’ll be met and have meetings with the local state security element or the People’s Liberation Army.”