Espionage charges have been filed by the U.S. military against a Taiwan-born Navy officer accused of sharing national defense secrets with a foreign nation.
Although a heavily redacted charge sheet dated Friday names neither the serviceman nor the country he’s alleged to have aided, U.S. officials identified him as Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, USNI News reported on Sunday.
Lin is currently assigned as a commander for the Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group in Norfolk, and he has been in pretrial confinement for eight months, military sources told USNI. He had traveled to the U.S. with his family at the age of 14 and joined the military after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, according to Navy accounts published previously.
The naval unit affiliated with Lt. Cmdr. Lin oversees a number of sensitive military drones and spy planes, and several sources described him to USNI News as a career signals intelligence specialist whose expertise involves the Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II, a reconnaissance aircraft.
The charging document said the alleged spy shared “secret information relating to the national defense [of the U.S.] to a representative of a foreign government” that was supplied “with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation.”
U.S. officials familiar with the investigation said Lt. Cmdr. Lin is accused of providing classified information to China, sources told The Washington Post. According to CBS News, one American official familiar with the case said Lt. Cmdr. Lin is accused of sharing details concerning the spy plane’s communications systems.
All details allegedly shared with foreign powers were classified as “secret,” one level below “top secret,” the charging document suggests.
Additionally, military prosecutors have charged the serviceman with hiring a prostitute, committing adultery, not disclosing foreign travel to the U.S. government as required and lying about it after the fact.
“We cannot provide additional information at this time given that the investigation is ongoing,” Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins told ABC News when asked for further details.
During a 2008 ceremony profiled at the time by the Navy, Lt. Cmdr. Lin applauded other foreign-born servicemembers who have joined the ranks of the U.S. military after gaining citizenship.
“You have recognized that not only do citizens have rights, but citizens also have responsibilities. The responsibility you are performing even now as non-U.S. citizen,” he said, according to an earlier report. “Extraordinary events made this nation and our military. People like you, men and women who stepped forward when their nation needed them, accomplished these extraordinary events. I thank you for your decision to serve.”