2 US Navy sailors arrested for alleged Chinese-linked nat’l security crimes
Two U.S. Nay sailors were arrested this week for sending sensitive military information to the Chinese Communist Party, according to the Department of Justice.
U.S. Navy Sailor Jinchao Wei, 22, assigned to the San Diego-based USS Essex, was arrested on Wednesday for alleged espionage.
U.S. Navy servicemember, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, 26, was arrested after a federal grand jury indictment “charging him with receiving bribes in exchange for transmitting sensitive U.S. military information to an individual posing as a maritime economic researcher, but who was actually an intelligence officer from the PRC.”
“These individuals stand accused of violating the commitments they made to protect the United States and betraying the public trust, to the benefit of the PRC government,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool in our arsenal to counter threats from China and to deter those who aid them in breaking our laws and threatening our national security.”
Assistant Director Suzanne Turner of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division said the arrests highlight the “relentless, aggressive efforts of the People’s Republic of China to undermine our democracy and threaten those who defend it.”
“The PRC compromised enlisted personnel to secure sensitive military information that could seriously jeopardize U.S. national security,” she continued. “The FBI and our partners remain vigilant in our determination to combat espionage, and encourage past and present government officials to report any suspicious interactions with suspected foreign intelligence officers.”
United States officials recently discovered Chinese malware on multiple military systems that experts claim was intended to disrupt the U.S. military and may give China the ability to cut power, water and communications to U.S. military bases.