U.S. Navy Sailor Serving In Japan Found Guilty Of Espionage

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Chief Petty Officer Bryce S. Pedicini, a US Navy sailor serving on the Japan-based destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76), was found guilty of attempted espionage, refusal to obey a lawful directive, and attempted disobedience of a legitimate general order.

According to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), a military court convicted Pedicini of disclosing secret defense material to a foreign government representative.

NCIS Director Omar Lopez stated that the guilty verdict holds Mr. Pedicini accountable for betraying his country and fellow service members.

Lopez added that the case highlights the adversaries’ persistent efforts to undermine U.S. military superiority.

Pedicini’s conviction is based on events that happened between November 2022 and February 2023, when he provided a foreign agent with access to secret defense-related materials.

The NCIS detained Pedicini in May 2023 after attempting to transmit photographs of his computer screen with a contact onboard the USS Higgins.

According to the criminal documents, Pedicini shared classified information atleast six times while claiming to assist with research paper writing.

The charging document does not specify the precise foreign government involved and the information shared.

However, the NCIS determined that Pedicini’s conduct could be either damaging to the United States or beneficial to the foreign government.

Following his conviction, Pedicini’s sentencing date has been scheduled for May 7, 2024.

Bryce S. Pedicini was born in Nashville, Tennessee and joined the United States Navy in 2008 after graduating from Chrest Presbyterian Academy.

He operated aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS McFaul and USS Curtis Wilbur, both stationed in Japan, before serving the USS Higgins.

Pedicini was promoted to the rank of Chief Fire Controlman in August 2022.

According to the U.S. Navy charge sheet, Pedicini faces 14 charges of espionage, transfer of defense information and failing to report a foreign contact or solicitation for sensitive information.

Despite his impressive service record, which includes three Good Conduct Medals and the National Defense Service Medal, Pedicini is now facing the consequences of his misconduct in the military prosecution system.

CNN contacted Pedicini’s counsel through the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Office but received no response.

Reference: NPR, CNN

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