Navy officer accused of espionage accepts plea deal

Posted at 10:00 AM, May 04, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. - A Navy officer accused of being a spy accepted a plea deal during a court martial trial Thursday at Naval Station Norfolk.

Under the plea deal, Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin is guilty of violating orders, making false statements and disclosing national defense information under the Federal Espionage Act.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin

In court, Lin told a judge he violated orders when he illegally transported a flight manifest and search and rescue codes in checked luggage during an international flight. Lin said the information was not secure and was discovered by a Homeland Security officer.

Instead of checking with command to see how he should handle the situation, Lin gave the documents to the officer and asked him to destroy them.

"I was more worried about protecting my career than protecting classified information," Lin told the judge, and noted he was not sure whether the officer ever destroyed the paperwork or not.

Lin said he also violated orders by keeping a notebook of secret national defense information at his home while he lived in Honolulu. Lin says he wrote down secret information from memory, and the notebook was not kept in a security approved container.

Lin said he violated orders again by failing to report some of his foreign connections, including a few Taiwanese high-ranking military officials and a Chinese female prison guard.

Lin was also charged twice with making false statements. In both counts, Lin admitted to lying his leave request paperwork.

Originally, Lin told his supervisor he was planning to return to his home in Alexandria during his vacation. Instead, Lin traveled to Taiwan where he proceeded to meet with the "U.S. equivalent of the Chief of Naval Operations".

A second time, Lin tried to travel to China to visit the prison guard he was friendly with, but was arrested on espionage charges before he could get on the plane.

Lin also plead guilty to disclose secret, classified national defense information to a Taiwanese woman working for a political party and an undercover FBI agent, whom he thought was a Taiwanese contractor.

Last year, Lin entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges against him.

The Lt. Cmdr. was originally charged with the following UCMJ violations: three specifications of Article 92 (violation of a lawful general order), five specifications of Article 106a (espionage and attempted espionage), three specifications of Article 107 (false official statement), and five specifications of Article 134 offenses (communicating defense information).

As part of the plea deal, Lin pleaded guilty to three specifications of Article 92, two specifications of Article 107, and two specifications of Article 134.

Lin has been held in the Navy's Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake. His sentencing is scheduled for June 1st and 2nd. He faces up to 36 years behind bars.

Previous Coverage: 

Navy officer accused of espionage enters not guilty pleas to all charges