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US Navy Officer Faces Accusations of Spying for China and Taiwan

The Navy charge sheet has details redacted but a naval news organization has identified the suspect as a commander with access to sensitive intelligence who was born in Taiwan.

by Reuters and VICE News
Apr 11 2016, 10:59am

El aries, un avión de inteligencia estadounidense. (Imagen véa US Navy/Wikicommons)

A US Navy officer with access to sensitive intelligence faces espionage charges over accusations he passed on state secrets, possibly to China and Taiwan.

An official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, who was born in Taiwan and later became a naturalized US citizen, according a Navy profile article written about him in 2008.

A redacted Navy charge sheet said the suspect was assigned to the headquarters for the Navy's Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which oversees intelligence collection activities.

The charge sheet redacted out the name of the suspect and the Navy declined to provide details on his identity.

It accused him twice of communicating secret information and three times of attempting to do so to a representative of a foreign government "with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation."

The document did not identify what foreign country or countries were involved. The US official said both China and Taiwan were possible but stressed the investigation was still going on.

The suspect was also accused of engaging the services of prostitutes and adultery. He has been held in pre-trial confinement for the past eight months or so, the official added.

Related: The US Military Contractor Accused of Sex Crimes — Then Convicted of Espionage

USNI News, which first reported Lin's identity, said China was the recipient of the intelligence. Lin spoke fluent Mandarin and managed the collection of electronic signals from the EP3-E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft, it reported.

The US Navy profiled Lin in a 2008 article that focused on his naturalization to the United States, saying his family left Taiwan when he was 14 and stayed in different countries before coming to America.

"I always dreamt about coming to America, the 'promised land,'" he said. "I grew up believing that all the roads in America lead to Disneyland."

Describing naturalization process, he said everybody had different motivations, but one ultimate goal. "Whether it is economical, political, social or religious reasons, I do know that by becoming a citizen of the United States of America, you did it to better your life and the life of your family," he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the details of the case and did not elaborate. China's Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it had no information on the case and its Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

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