A 22-year-old U.S. Navy sailor, assigned to a vessel in San Diego, has been arrested on an espionage charge related to conspiring with a Chinese official to share intelligence.
Bribery Charge near Los Angeles
Another U.S. Navy sailor, based near Los Angeles, is facing charges of conspiracy and receipt of a bribe from a Chinese official.
DOJ Investigation and Charges
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested both sailors on national security charges connected to China. While the two cases are not confirmed to be linked, they raise concerns about potential security breaches.
Sensitive Military Information
In the first case, the defendant, a petty officer serving as a construction engineer, is charged with conspiring to collect and transmit sensitive military information about naval operations to a PRC (People’s Republic of China) intelligence officer.
Bribery and Espionage
The same sailor allegedly accepted bribes and provided the Chinese intelligence officer with photographs and videos of military exercise plans, operational orders, and electrical systems.
Violation of Export Control Laws
The second case, in the southern district, involves charges of espionage and violating export control laws. The defendant collected and transmitted sensitive national defense information at the direction of a PRC intelligence officer.
Attempted Transmission of Classified Information
The sailor reportedly attempted to transmit over 50 manuals and other documents containing technical and mechanical data about naval amphibious assault ships. Some materials were marked with export control warnings and contained critical details about the ships’ power structure, weapons systems, and damage control.
China’s Extensive Operations
China has been known for conducting extensive operations to steal information from the U.S. military and private U.S. businesses, making it a unique and potent threat to the national security of the United States.
The Unrivalled Threat
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen emphasized that China stands apart from all other adversarial nations in the audacity and range of its efforts to subvert U.S. laws, highlighting the seriousness of the threat posed by China’s actions.