Politics

U.S. Sailor Gets 27 Months in Prison for Passing Military Secrets to China

A U.S. sailor was sentenced to 27 months in jail and ordered to pay a $5,500 positive for passing U.S. navy secrets and techniques to China in alternate for bribes, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, 26, aka Thomas Zhao, of Monterey Park, California, pleaded responsible in October 2023 to one rely of conspiring with the intelligence officer and one rely of receiving a bribe, the DOJ mentioned in a release.

“Mr. Zhao betrayed his solemn oath to defend his country and endangered those who serve in the U.S. military,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, mentioned in a press release.

“Today, he is being held to account for those crimes. The Justice Department is committed to combatting the Chinese government’s efforts to undermine our nation’s security and holding accountable those who violate our laws as part of those efforts.”

Zhao labored at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme close to Los Angeles. Between August 2021 and at the least May 2023, Zhao acquired at the least $14,866 in at the least 14 separate bribe funds from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) intelligence officer.

In alternate for the illicit funds, Zhao secretly collected and transmitted delicate, personal data relating to U.S. Navy operational safety, navy trainings and workouts, and demanding infrastructure.

Zhao entered restricted navy and naval installations to accumulate and file this data, in accordance to the DOJ.

He transmitted plans for a “large-scale maritime training exercise in the Pacific theatre, operational orders and electrical diagrams and blueprints for a Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar system located in Okinawa, Japan,” it mentioned.

And he used subtle encrypted communication strategies to transmit the knowledge.

The DOJ mentioned he additionally destroyed proof and hid his relationship with the intelligence officer.

“Zhao’s conduct violated his official duties to protect such information and the oath he swore to protect the United States,” the DOJ assertion mentioned.

The FBI Los Angeles Field Office’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division and Naval Criminal Investigative Service performed the investigation, whereas the IRS-Criminal Investigation offered substantial help.

“Zhao betrayed his country and disgraced himself when he accepted bribes from an intelligence officer with the People’s Republic of China,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California mentioned.

“As a result, he has now been removed from the military and will serve time in federal prison. Today’s sentence shows that my office will swiftly act to root out and punish those who seek to undermine our nation’s security,” he added.

“Make no mistake, the PRC is engaged in an aggressive effort to undermine the national security of the U.S. and its partners,” mentioned Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch, including:

Zhao selected to betray the oath he took to our nation and put others in danger by offering delicate U.S. data to a PRC intelligence official. The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly proven it should freely break any legislation or norm to obtain a perceived intelligence benefit. Today’s sentencing demonstrates, but once more, the lack of China’s Intelligence Services to forestall the FBI and our important companions from apprehending and prosecuting the spies China recruits.

“NCIS will continue to leverage its unique law enforcement and counterintelligence authorities to vigorously pursue those who attempt to compromise our national security information. We are grateful to the FBI and Department of Justice for their substantial assistance to this lengthy investigation and greatly appreciate our continued partnership,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Angel Cruz of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Office of Special Projects mentioned.

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on ”X”, Truth Social, or on Facebook. 

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