US Navy Sailor’s Mother Encouraged Him To Pass Military Secrets To China, Investigation Finds

The mother of a US Navy sailor charged with sharing sensitive military information with China had encouraged him to cooperate with a Chinese intelligence officer.

The prosecution mentioned that she convinced her son by stating that it might help him secure a job with China’s government.

The assistant US attorney Fred Sheppard made this accusation during a hearing in federal court based in San Diego in urging the judge not to release Jinchao Wei, who had been arrested last week on an espionage charge that is rarely used.

US Navy Sailor’s Mother Encouraged Him To Pass Military Secrets To China, Investigation Finds
Representation Image

Prosecutors did not name the woman in court.

Wei is one of the two sailors in California accused of sharing sensitive military information with China, including details on naval operations, wartime exercises, and crucial technical material.

The prosecutors have not mentioned if the two were paid or courted by the same intelligence officer in China as part of a broader scheme.

The US justice department reportedly charged Wei, 22, under an Espionage Act that states it is a crime to deliver or gather information to help any foreign government.

Both the sailors pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have further said that Wei, born in China, was approached first by an intelligence officer of China last year, in February, as he was applying to become a naturalized US citizen, and also admitted to the officer that he was aware that the arrangement could even impact the application.

Even so, the prosecutors say he offered the officer detailed information on the weapons systems and aircraft on the Essex and other amphibious assault vessels that serve as small aircraft carriers.

In arguing against the release, on Tuesday, Sheppard revealed to the court that when Wei went home for Christmas to visit his mother, who stays in Wisconsin, she was well aware of her sailor son’s arrangement. Besides, she encouraged him to keep aiding the Chinese intelligence officer as it could help get him a job with China’s

Communist party after he quits the US Navy, Sheppard mentioned.

Sheppard informed the court that the Chinese intelligence officer told Wei that he and the government of China were willing to fly him along with his mother to China to meet them. Wei confessed that he had looked online for flights to China this spring.

Sheppard mentioned the officer told Wei to purchase a computer and a phone to pass more information and that if Wei shared the receipts, the government of China would provide reimbursement for the expenses.

Jason Conforti, the defence attorney, informed the court that Wei was not a threat to the community and no longer had access to any military information.

Sheppard again countered that Wei’s actions had put the lives of thousands of sailors at risk by disclosing sensitive information regarding navy vessels.

The judge ruled to keep the man in federal custody without a bond.

The indictment further alleges Wei included about 50 manuals comprising essential mechanical and technical data about navy vessels and details of the number and training of marines for a forthcoming exercise.

Sheppard said Wei could make $10,000–$15,000 over the past year from such an arrangement. If convicted, he may face up to life in prison.

The justice department charged Wenheng Zhao, 26, based at the Naval Base Ventura County to the north of LA, with conspiring to collect almost $15,000 as bribes from an intelligence officer of China in exchange for information, photographs, and videos that involved navy exercises, facilities, and operations between August 2021 and at least May 2023.

The information covered some plans for a large-scale US military activity in the Indo-Pacific zone, which specified the location and the accurate timing of these naval force movements.

References: The Guardian, AP News

Disclaimer :
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

Do you have info to share with us ? Suggest a correction

Latest Shipping News You Would Like:

Get the Latest Maritime News Delivered to Your Inbox!

Our free, fast, and fun newsletter on the global maritime industry, delivered everyday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *