A U.S. Navy officer was charged with giving secrets to China and prostitution at the Norfolk Air Station in Virginia. It is believed that Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin gave secrets about vital communications systems, although the Navy has yet to determine how much and for how long.
CBS News reported that the Navy officer charged worked as a flight officer on an EP-3E Reconnaissance, a sensitive intelligence gathering aircraft. Lin is alleged to have given information on the aircraft’s communications system. The information he gave could be used to counter U.S. eavesdropping capabilities.
The heavily redacted documents released accused Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin of five counts of espionage and attempted espionage, three counts of making false official statements, and five counts of communicating information to a person not authorized to receive it.
U.S. Navy officer charged with spying, possibly for China, Taiwan https://t.co/WW5U9zn0Uj
— Reuters China (@ReutersChina) April 11, 2016
The Navy officer charged was also accused of engaging in prostitution and adultery while on active duty. Prostitution and adultery are violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Lin, who originally came from Taiwan, didn’t become an American citizen until 2008. He was detained last summer by the U.S. Navy and has been in custody ever since pending the recommendation that his case goes to trial. If he is convicted of one of the more serious espionage charges, he could face the death penalty.
The Lawyer Herald reported that the Navy officer charged had his preliminary military justice hearing on Friday, as released in a statement by U.S. officials. His identity was redacted in official court documents, but U.S. officials released his identity in the most sensitive espionage case the U. S. Navy is facing. The Article 32 hearing that Lin is facing is to determine whether or not his case should proceed to a court-martial.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) April 11, 2016
The Navy officer charged, Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, came to the United States with his family from Taiwan when he was 14. He speaks fluent Mandarin and was a department head for Hawaii-based Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two “Wizards” (VPU-2). This is the unit that flies the EP3-E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft. He was assigned to the Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Daily Mail reported that it was a case of national security, and Lin was taken into custody at an airport in the U.S. Pacific Command region eight months ago, where he was traveling in a foreign country. Little is known about the exact information passed by Lin to the Chinese, as much of the charge sheets are classified and much of the evidence in the case is classified. Since most of the charge sheets are redacted, they only show the most serious charges, including two counts of espionage and three counts of attempted espionage.
Navy officer charged with espionage in military court in Norfolk, punishable by the death under certain conditions https://t.co/FlBMn8t9ul
— The Virginian-Pilot (@PilotNews) April 8, 2016
He was also charged with three counts of making false official statements, failing to report foreign travel, and putting false information on documents. Prior to his assignment with the Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, he served as Congressional Liaison for the Assistant Secretary of Navy for Finance Management and Comptroller from 2012 to 2014.
The case is considered to be similar to a previous case involving another Navy officer during the Cold War. The last Navy officer charged in an espionage case was John Walker. He was a Navy warrant officer and submariner who passed military secrets to the Soviet Union over a period of 18 years. The FBI and NCIS are currently working together to investigate the case.
[Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images]