U.S. Navy officer suspected of passing secrets to Taiwan, China

Edward Lin at a 2008 naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Sarah Murphy

Edward Lin at a 2008 naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Sarah Murphy

In this age of globalization, loyalty to which country can be a tricky thing.

(Reuters)  A U.S. Navy flight officer with knowledge of sensitive American intelligence collection methods faces espionage charges over suspicions he passed secret information to Taiwan and possibly to China, U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the suspect as Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, who was born in Taiwan and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen, according to a Navy article profiling him in 2008.

Lin was a flight officer assigned to the Special Projects Patrol Squadron, with experience managing the collection of electronic signals from the EP3-E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft, officials said.

Information about how the U.S. Navy carries out such signals collection operations could be highly valuable to a foreign government.

A heavily redacted Navy charge sheet twice accused the suspect of communicating secret information and three times of attempting to do so “with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation.” . . . (read more)

U.S. Naval Flight Officer Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin Accused of Giving U.S. Secrets to China (USNI)

A U.S. naval flight officer with an extensive signals intelligence background was accused by the service of passing secrets to China, USNI News has learned.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, 39, who served on some of the Navy’s most sensitive intelligence gathering aircraft, faces several counts of espionage and other charges outlined during a Friday Article 32 hearing in Norfolk, Va.

Lin, originally a Taiwanese national before his family moved to the U.S., had a career as a signals intelligence specialist on the Navy’s Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II reconnaissance aircraft, several sources confirmed to USNI News.

Several sources familiar with the case told USNI News the country to which Lin passed secrets was China, however, few other details are known about the case given much of the evidence is classified.

The redacted charging documents say Lin allegedly transported secret information out of the country without permission and then lied about his whereabouts when he returned to duty. The charging documents allege he successfully committed espionage twice and attempted espionage on three other occasions. . . (read more)

U.S. Official: Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin Accused of Passing Secrets to Taiwan in Addition to China (USNI)

In addition to passing secret information to the People’s Republic of China, a naval flight officer held on espionage charges is also suspected of passing secrets to Taiwan, a U.S. official with information on the case told USNI News on Monday.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Chieh-Liang Lin — who emigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. — is currently being held in a Navy brig in Virginia on several charges that allege he spied for both countries, the official told USNI News.

The service has released few details about the case beyond the heavily redacted charge sheet. From the document, it appears Lin had mishandled secret information and traveled to a foreign country without authorization and lied about it to superiors later. In addition to the espionage accusation, Lin is also charged with patronizing prostitutes and committing adultery – violations of military law. . . . (read more)

Accused Spy Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin Was a Trained Nuclear Specialist, Navy Congressional Liaison (USNI)

CHARGE SHEET (pdf): Edward-Lin-Article-32-8-April-2016

The fall of Edward Lin, the Navy officer accused of espionage and patronizing a prostitute (Washington Post)

When Edward C. Lin was a Navy lieutenant, he was selected to speak to a group of people who were about to be naturalized as U.S. citizens along with him at a ceremony in Honolulu. He and his family left Taiwan for the United States when he was 14, he recalled, and he needed a translator to help him register for school when he arrived.

“I always dreamt about coming to America, the ‘promised land,’” Lin said, according to a Navy account of the December 2008 ceremony. “I grew up believing that all the roads in America lead to Disneyland.”

More than seven years later, Lin faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage and patronizing a prostitute in a rare spying case involving an active-duty member of the U.S. military. It’s a steep fall for a lieutenant commander who has served on some of the Navy’s most advanced maritime surveillance aircraft. . . .

. . . . A heavily redacted three-page charge sheet released by the Navy states that the officer faces two specifications of espionage and three specifications of attempted espionage. He is accused of communicating secret information “with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation,” hiring a prostitute for sex, committing adultery by having sex with a woman who was not his wife, and falsifying federal records about where he traveled abroad.

A U.S. official confirmed Lin’s identity to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the case. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI are investigating whether Lin passed classified information to both China and Taiwan, the official said. . . .

. . . .  Lin’s service record states that he enlisted in the Navy in late 1999 and was commissioned in May 2002 as a naval flight officer, a position that specializes in operating airborne weapons and sensors. His last duty station before being arrested was with Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, from February 2014 to March 2016. The unit flies the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, searching for enemy submarines and performing reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering operations in the Pacific.

Lin is now assigned to the headquarters unit of the Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, a holding position while he is confined at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Va. Newsweek reported that he was secretly arrested about eight months ago, but his service record states only that he has been held in Chesapeake for an “unknown” period of time.

Prior to his assignment with Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2 in Hawaii, Lin filled a Navy staff job in Washington from February 2012 to November 2013 and was a student at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., from December 2010 to February 2012. . . . (read all)

Did an Accused Navy Spy Trade Secrets for Sex? (Daily Beast)

. . . Lin, 39, stands accused of providing military secrets to his birth country—possibly in exchange for sexual favors, defense officials told The Daily Beast. His job, working in and around military reconnaissance aircraft, gave him access to information about sensitive equipment that the U.S. uses to spy on its adversaries.

U.S. defense officials first became suspicious of Lin when the Navy commander took personal leave and lied about where he said he was going, which under military law is considered absence without official leave, a defense official told The Daily Beast.

Navy officials suspected that during one personal trip, Lin met with a Taiwanese national and provided that person information. Navy officials then asked questions of Lin’s colleagues, many of whom said they found Lin’s behavior suspicious, the official said.

Lin is also charged with adultery and procuring prostitutes. One defense official said that it’s possible Lin was compensated for his alleged spying with sexual favors.

Lin was a world traveler who didn’t hide his personal disdain for China, Taiwan’s geopolitical rival. Since 2008, he has traveled to Dubai, China, Taiwan, Jordan, and the United Kingdom, according to photos and posts on his personal Facebook page. . . . (read all)

“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.” — Lt Cdr Edward Lin, 2008. HMMMM, what about “to better” his country, er, his current country that is, where he lives now? Whatever.

 

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