US Navy Sailors Charged With Spying on Behalf of China

( – Two US Navy sailors have been arrested and charged with spying for China. The suspects both have Chinese ancestry, and investigators say they passed secret military data to the communist regime’s agents. With tensions already high thanks to China’s aggression against US ally Taiwan, this is a serious breach of security.

On August 3, Justice Department officials announced that two serving members of the US Navy are facing espionage charges. So far, they’re being treated as separate cases, although it isn’t clear if they were working together or were recruited by the same Chinese official.

The Justice Department said the first sailor, 22-year-old machinist’s mate Jinchao “Patrick” Wei, was serving on the USS Essex, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship homeported at San Diego. Wei allegedly made contact with a Chinese intelligence officer last February and since then has handed over images and video of his ship, details of a Marine Corps exercise the Essex was involved in, and 27 technical manuals showing details of weapon systems and ship power and damage control systems. These manuals could be used to help plan attacks against US Navy ships. Investigators say Wei was paid thousands of dollars for his treachery.

The second case involves 26-year-old Petty Officer Wenheng “Thomas” Zhao, stationed at Naval Base Ventura County. He allegedly began passing information to a Chinese officer posing as a researcher, who claimed he wanted it for “investment purposes.” Zhao also sent photos and video, including images of blueprints for a radar system at a US base in Japan, as well as details of US Navy ship movements. Zhao was paid almost $15,000 for the information, according to the DOJ.

China is becoming increasingly aggressive towards Taiwan, a democratic state it claims as its own territory, and views the US military as its main obstacle to an invasion. It appears Beijing’s intelligence services are working to find out as much as they can about how our navy operates, including how it moves ships and Marines around. That should have the Pentagon worried.

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