Navy Officer Reaches Plea Deal on Spying Charges

Edward Lin in a 2008 file image (courtesy USN)

By The Maritime Executive 05-04-2017 08:02:06

Lawyers for Navy officer Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin have reached an agreement with military prosecutors over spying charges filed last year. Lin pled guilty to federal charges of communicating national defense information, misstating his whereabouts on leave, false statements and mishandling classified information. He has not entered a guilty plea for a military law charge of espionage.  Lin initially faced charges of engaging in prostitution and adultery as well, but the government has dropped that portion of the case.

Lin, who was born in Taiwan, faces accusations that he passed classified information to Taiwanese defense officials, both witthin the United States and abroad. Lin had a very high level of security clearance, above top secret, and would have been required to report contacts with Taiwanese officials and travels to Taiwan while on leave; he did not, raising suspicions that he may have passed classified information to a foreign power. He was arrested in 2015 and he gave a confession during questioning. However, his family and his lawyers maintain that he is innocent, and they suggest that the government does not have enough evidence to corroborate Lin's confession and prove that he committed espionage. 

Taiwan's military has denied that it engaged in any espionage activity with Lin, or with any other U.S. military personnel. 

Lin joined the Navy in 1999 as an enlisted rating and was accepted into the Navy's nuclear training program. He attended OCS and received his officer's commission in 2002, and he soon went to work for the service's financial management division in Washington. He gained U.S. citizenship in 2008. At the time of his arrest in 2015, Lin was working with a signals intelligence unit known as Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2, an elite outfit tasked with classified airborne surveillance missions in the Pacific region.