2 US Navy sailors arrested on fees tied to nationwide safety and China

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two U.S. Navy sailors have been arrested and accused of offering delicate navy info to China — together with particulars on wartime workouts, Naval operations and demanding technical materials, federal officers stated Thursday.

Jinchao Wei, a 22-year-old sailor assigned to the San Diego-based USS Essex, was arrested Wednesday on a cost associated to espionage involving conspiracy to ship nationwide protection info to Chinese language officers, in accordance with the U.S. officers. The Justice Division additionally charged Navy service member Wenhen Zhao, 26, accusing him of taking bribes in change for giving delicate U.S. navy images and movies to a Chinese language intelligence officer between August 2021 by not less than this Might.

Federal officers spoke concerning the instances Thursday throughout a information convention in San Diego. The 2 sailors have been charged with related crimes, however they have been charged in separate instances, and it wasn’t clear Thursday if the 2 have been related or in the event that they have been courted or paid by the identical Chinese language intelligence officer.

Federal prosecutors allege that Wei made contact with a Chinese language authorities intelligence officer in February 2022, and on the officer’s request, offered pictures and movies of the ship he served on. The knowledge he disclosed included technical and mechanical manuals in addition to particulars concerning the quantity and coaching of Marines throughout an upcoming train, the Justice Division stated.

The Justice Division charged Wei beneath a not often used Espionage Act statute that makes it against the law to assemble or ship info to assist a international authorities.

Throughout the course of the connection, the unnamed Chinese language intelligence officer instructed Wei to not focus on their relationship, to share delicate info, and to destroy proof to assist them cowl their tracks, officers stated. Federal officers allege Wei was paid hundreds of {dollars} for sharing the data.

The usEssex is an amphibious assault ship often known as a Touchdown Helicopter Dock that has a full flight deck and may carry an array of helicopters, together with the MV-22 Ospreys.

Zhao, the second officer charged, is accused of sharing info, together with operational plans for a U.S. navy train within the Indo-Pacific Area. Prosecutors say Zhao additionally surreptitiously recorded info that he handed over.


Baldor reported from Washington. Related Press author Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.

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