US Navy commander charged with espionage
Apr 12, 2016 08:24 AM EDT
In a preceeding that has been designated as a national security case, a Navy officer born in Taiwan has been charged with espionage and attempted espionage, among other charges. The charge sheet provided by the Navy said the officer is accused of passing confidential information to a foreign government.
According to ABC News, Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, assigned in Norfolk-based Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, is facing a pre-trial confinement. Lin is being held in the Navy's brig in Chesapeake, Virginia, on making false official statements, communicating defense information, and multiple counts of espionage. He also faces charges of patronizing prostitutes and adultery.
Wavy reported that a heavily redacted court files were released by the Navy on Friday, which includes a list of charges against the Navy Commander. However, the documents do not state what information Lin is alleged to have provided. The commander is facing 15 total charges.
US officials said that both the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service continue to investigate the case, reports WTVR. The investigators suspect Lin of conveying secret information to a country in the Asia-Pacific region. The US officials who are investigating the case asked for anonymity and details of the investigation are being closely held.
Officials said that the country could be either China or his native, Taiwan. The charged sheet that was released by the Navy does not indicate the foreign government Lin allegedly provided secrets to.
Lin is set to face an Article 32 proceeding on Friday while the judge has 10 days to submit his recommendation to a court-martial convening authority. The hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to refer the case to a general court martial.
According to the US law, information is classified "secret" when its unauthorized disclosure would cause severe or serious damage to national security. The maximum penalty for an espionage conviction under US military code is death penalty.
Spokesmen for Defense Ministry of Taiwan and Foreign Ministry of China said they have no information on the case.