Navy officer formerly based out of Hawaii accused of espionage

U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Edward Lin, shown in a 2008 file photo, faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage and prostitution after the Navy says Lin passed on U.S. secrets to China and falsified records. If convicted of the charges, Lin may face the death penalty. (Courtesy: Spec. 1st class Sarah Murphy/U.S. Navy file)

U.S. defense officials say a Navy officer with access to classified information is accused of passing military secrets to China or Taiwan, or both.

According to a profile posted on the Navy website back in December 2008, the Taiwan-born Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin was assigned to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in Hawaii and spoke at a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

A USNI News report of April 10 said that Lin “had been a department head for the Hawaii-based Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two ‘Wizards’ (VPU-2) that flew EP3-E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft. … Lin’s job on the Aries II, which bear a resemblance to the maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare P-3C Orion, was to manage the collection of electronic signals from the aircraft – a central coordinator.”

Lin is currently assigned to the Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group in Norfolk, Virginia.

A document that describes multiple charges against Lin accuses him of failing to report foreign contacts and says that on multiple occasions he gave or attempted to give secret national defense information to representatives of a foreign government. He is in pretrial confinement.

Click here to see the redacted letter concerning Lin from the Navy Office of Information in Washington, D.C.

Sister station WAVY in Chesapeake, Virginia reported that sources told the station that Navy officials took Lin into custody eight months ago and have been holding him in the Navy Consolidated Brig off in Chesapeake since that time.

In the documents, officials state that a Navy commander illegally shared information to a foreign government, falsified records and engaged in prostitution and adultery.

Lin is facing 15 total charges, including three counts of attempted espionage, two counts of espionage, three counts of making false official statements and five counts of communicating defense information with a person not cleared to have the information.

Uncensored portions of the charge sheet do not identify whom he is accused of spying for. Three U.S. officials said the countries involved are China or Taiwan, and possibly both.

A military hearing was held in Norfolk, Virginia last Friday. A Navy admiral must decide whether there is enough evidence against Lin to pursue a court martial.

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