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Navy Officer Accused of Spying: Taiwan-Born Man Worked in Aerial Recon

Image: Navy Officer Accused of Spying: Taiwan-Born Man Worked in Aerial Recon
Edward Lin at a 2008 naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. (MC1 Sarah Murphy/Navy)

By    |   Monday, 11 Apr 2016 10:21 AM

A foreign-born U.S. Navy officer is accused of spying and possibly passing state secrets to China and Taiwan.

Officials have withheld the suspect’s name from a charge sheet, but an unnamed source identified the accused officer as Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, who was born in Taiwan and became a naturalized citizen in 2008, Reuters reported.

The Navy charge sheet said the officer was assigned to the headquarters for the Navy's Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which oversees intelligence collection activities. He is accused of communicating secret information to a representative of a foreign government, but the foreign country wasn’t identified in the document.

The suspect was arrested about eight months ago and had been under surveillance for an extended period of time, Newsweek reported.

The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the case, and further arrests are possible.

The suspect is also accused of visiting prostitutes and committing adultery.

The charge sheet is heavily redacted. Details, including the suspect’s name, dates, and locations, are blacked out. Charges include espionage, attempted espionage, false official statements, communicating defense information, patronizing prostitution, and adultery.

CBS News reported that Lin worked on a Navy intelligence plane, the EP-3E Reconnaissance, and is accused of leaking details about the plane's communications systems, although official details of the information he is accused of sharing haven’t been released.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Lin could face the death penalty, according to reports.

Lin was 14 when he left Taiwan with his family, a Navy news release said at the time of his naturalization.

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

USNI News, which first reported Lin’s identity, described him as a “U.S. naval flight officer with an extensive signals intelligence background” who had been a department head for the squadron that flew EP3-E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft. The site said he speaks fluent Mandarin.

“The specifics of how the U.S. gathers signals from potential adversaries are among the military’s most closely guarded secrets,” USNI News noted. “Knowing the methodology for how the U.S. gathers signals intelligence – information that Lin would likely have with his Aries II experience – could allow adversaries to devise ways to counter U.S. monitoring.”

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A foreign-born U.S. Navy officer is accused of spying and possibly passing state secrets to China and Taiwan.
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2016-21-11
Monday, 11 Apr 2016 10:21 AM
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