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Washington - A former U.S. intelligence officer who tried to pass secret military information to the Chinese government was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison - a term that was five years less than expected because he provided information that could help prevent foreign agents from targeting other Americans, the authorities said.

The former officer, Ron Rockwell Hansen, 60, pleaded guilty in March to one count of attempting to gather or deliver defense information.

Hansen said he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for information he shared with the Chinese government. He was part of what prosecutors called a “troubling trend” of US intelligence officers being recruited by China for espionage.

As part of his plea agreement, Hansen was to receive a 15-year sentence. But Judge Dee Benson of the US District Court in Salt Lake City gave him a sentence of 10 years Tuesday after he said Hansen cooperated with federal investigators.

“He has tried to do what he can to make things right,” Benson said in court, according to The Associated Press. “It’s a very serious crime that speaks for itself, and we’re all sorry it happened.”

Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office in Utah, declined to comment on what specific information Hansen had provided to the investigators, saying that a cooperation agreement between Hansen and federal authorities was sealed.