Home » Aviation » Early Results of Edward Lin Espionage Investigation Triggered National Security Alert

Early Results of Edward Lin Espionage Investigation Triggered National Security Alert

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin

Then-Lt. Edward C. Lin

The investigation into a naval flight officer suspected of giving secrets to China and Taiwan triggered a potential national security incident alert to senior leadership in the Navy and Pentagon, two Navy officials confirmed to USNI News late Tuesday.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Chieh-Liang Lin, 39, was quietly detained in September from his duty station as a department head assigned to the Navy’s secretive Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two ‘Wizards’ (VPU-2) at Marine Corps Air Base Kaneohe, Hawaii, and has been held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Va., under pre-trial confinement since.

Three months later, in December, Pentagon and Navy leadership received an incident alert that classified information could have been compromised, the two officials confirmed.

The alert likely stemmed from a requirement outlined in the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General handbook for litigating national security cases.

According to the handbook, OJAG’s National Security and Intelligence Law Division “is required to notify the Department of the Navy General Counsel (DON GC) if serious disciplinary action is being contemplated with respect to compromise of classified information.
Additionally, [the National Security and Intelligence Law Division] is responsible to ensure that the Secretary of the Navy and the [Chief of Naval Operations] or the Commandant of the Marine Corps, as appropriate, are kept advised of the status of such cases.”

In addition to Navy leadership, the House and Senate armed services committees were also notified when Lin was initially detained in September, committee sources told USNI News on Tuesday.

The committees were “informed of the allegations against [Lt. Cmdr.] Edward Lin prior to his placement in pre-trial confinement,” a source on the Senate Armed Services Committee told USNI News.

While the Navy has not released details of the case beyond a heavily redacted list of charges, defense officials did tell USNI News on Friday that the investigation was being conducted by NCIS and the FBI.

Lin served in one of the Navy’s most sensitive signals and electronic intelligence reconnaissance units responsible for – in part — ascertaining the strengths and weaknesses of the defense systems of potential adversaries, particularly China and Russia.

Likely due to the sensitivity of what Lin could have allegedly shared with China and Taiwan, the case was has been designated a “National Security Case,” which is tried with an additional set of rules above those of normal courts-martial due to the sensitivity of the evidence involved in the proceedings.

The combination of Lin’s extended pre-trial confinement – which would have been reviewed several times before his Friday Article 32 hearing under military law– and the alerts to Navy leadership, the Pentagon and Congress may indicate prosecutors believe that Lin was able to pass classified information to a foreign government.

However, the question remains why the Navy is handling the case rather than the Department of Justice, which has more experience and resources in prosecuting national security cases.

The DoJ and the Pentagon have a 1984 memorandum of understanding outlining which cases each prosecutes. Under Navy rules, in respect to the DoJ MOU, 72 hours after a preliminary investigation suggests an act of espionage occurred, the NCIS is required to notify the relevant government investigative agency – in this case, the FBI.

The unusual length of Lin’s eight-month-long pretrial confinement could be one reason the Navy took the lead on Lin’s case over the DoJ, Rob “Butch” Bracknell, a former Marine and military lawyer, told USNI News.

“One could be they wanted to incapacitate this guy and keep them from continuing to communicate with the foreign power. If he’s indicted and arrested, he would probably be released on bail in the federal system,” Bracknell said.
“In a civil law system there’s a presumption for bail; conversely in the military system there’s a very low showing required to keep someone in pretrial confinement.”

Military jurors are could be more likely to understand the technical aspects of the evidence and already have the clearance to view classified information, he said. Also, military law can stack additional charges that don’t exist in federal court – like the Navy’s allegations that Lin committed adultery and paid for prostitutes.

Additionally, Bracknell said a military proceeding would be easier than a federal trial for “public messaging.”

“The military probably can also place greater restraints on the media and control the public messaging better,” he said.
“That’s not a flattering aspect of the military system, but it’s true.”

Following last Friday’s Article 32 hearing, Adm. Phil Davidson – the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command – will review the case and decide whether or not to take the case to court-martial.

  • Shared information with China and Taiwan–adversary and friend

    • Butch_Bracknell

      There are no “friends” in international relations — only states with similar interests.

      • right so maybe All states should get nuclear weapons–makes them safer.

    • I don’t see where China is involved but regardless they are intentionally keeping him locked up so he can’t contact the foreign employer or whatever. Also, he can’t use those professional minorities to cry racism.

      • Patrick

        China is implied because of the nature of Lin’s background.

        • Taiwan?

          Okay maybe his contact will be a Mainlander in which case – did he OFFER himself to a Mainland handler and that didnt raise ANY suspicions by the Mainlanders who didn’t then give USA a heads up?

          because the trend for decades is that ALL the real spies have turned out to be Taiwan born AND claimed to be spying for China and nobody NOTICES that KMT should be beneficiaries?

          The Irish are excellent liars and that’s not even the only contingent in American government – you’ve got everybody else in there as well – but the Irish ALONE …

          • Patrick

            JEng, if it turns out Lin was passing secrets to Taiwan, that place he was born in, Taiwanese security and military is heavily infiltrated by Chinese spies and agents. IOW, whether he thought he was helping Taiwan (who has disavowed Lin as spying for Taiwan) China gets the items he sent either way.
            However, you segue into troll land by your racist comment that all spies are Taiwan born. As for your laughable and additional racial comments on the Irish, you’ve shown yourself to be a troll. Back to your mom’s basement for video games troll

          • katrina leung and ALL the scientists that ADMITTED not just Wen HO Lee are Taiwanese and got slaps on the wrist – Isabelle Cheng is teaching in Portsmouth which remains a German target (and inspiration

            those if anything are American allied spies so if this costs China – then China either is a willing scapegoat OR China is being played just like Wen Jiabao having everyone around him compromised with special favors so that he was unclean by association.

            I was there when Mrs. Zheng Bijian said her daughter and son in law refused to come home – they like America and wouldn’t take special offers. “so many, so many” she was living on her husband’s 33 dollar a month salary and everyone around her was starting to get rich.

            Third parties were throwing money and special favors at Central Government employees. I would have taken it – it’s free and they can’t make me do anything BUT then I would have ended up castigated by the New York Times.

          • Patrick

            A bit of context and pretext would be nice to figure out what your rant is

          • Among Lin’s Chinese contacts on LinkedIn was a former Washington, D.C.–based Taiwanese military attaché whose job was to “file intelligence reports on current statuses and events of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to superiors in the home navy force.” Another Taiwanese who endorsed Lin listed himself as a current “security manager” for Apple who previously worked high up in Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, where he was “responsible for U.S. and European think tanks engagement,” an intelligence-oriented billet. A former senior British nuclear submarine commander, who served as a Royal Navy liaison officer in Washington, D.C., from 2012 to 2015, also endorsed Lin for various military and communication skills.

          • Patrick

            And…so what? If LinkedIn is your source you’re a poor investigator and simply trolling along. Perhaps you could provide us with your LinkedIn contacts so we can see who endorsed you; although trolling rarely gets endorsements

          • no that’s newsweek – I cant post the link for newsweek cuz this moderator holds back comments with links.

          • Larry Wu-Tai Chin, Gwo-Bao Min, Peter Lee, and Wen Ho Lee

          • Patrick

            A list of names…well that certainly provides background.

          • INS should deny immigration to the entire bloodline of these Chinese and Taiwanese spies – that would have an effect on Cantonese selfishness. Iirc, Dad had to vouch for every immigrant he sponsored and luckily they didn’t let him down except possibly my aunt’s oldest son – I’m not sure of the details but he said not to talk that one if anything ever happened to him and Mom broke that rule of course.

            I think the rule should be made permanent and that deportation should be implemented because it will induce self-policing and send a message back to China to not screw up.

            Allen Ho’s entire family should lose citizenship as should Edward Lin’s.

          • Patrick

            Why stop at China/Taiwan bloodlines? Lets be racially pure and keep all foreigners out of the US. And your goofy family history aspects aside, deporting entire bloodlines would be impossible to do because that would mean rounding all people of Asian blood up, putting them in holding camps, and then deporting them…except we are all descended from immigrants so your inane and racist thought pattern is un-American.

            And blaming an entire family for one person’s crimes would mean pretty much a huge chunk of American families would have to be sent to jail every time someone commits a crime.

            How about this: you stop talking so we can all enjoy the silence.

          • only the spy and triad ones need to be blocked – everyone else can stay and contribute

          • Patrick

            So spies and criminal; who makes that call and how is racial profiling not done? Answer, because racists see it as the easy way out. perhaps we should send White spies and criminals back to where they came from?

          • getting caught redhanded

          • Patrick

            Getting caught red handed is what drives prosecution and prison time. Deporting the spy in question, Lin, would require stripping him of his American citizenship and that is nearly impossible to do unless the US is in a declared war with the nation in question (Taiwan or China) and that isn’t the case. Therefore, Lin gets investigated, prosecuted, and sent to prison as the US citizen he is

          • it’s not racist if some Chinese people are hanjian and triad – it’s the FACTS and it’s not doing us any favors to whitewash them and let them hide in our midst and use us as sheep’s clothing – ooh don’t arrest a traitor, that’s RACIST!

          • Patrick

            Its racist to state entire families should be deported because of the crimes of one; perhaps if someone in your family committed a crime we should round you and your family up and deport all of you, right?

          • It’s not racist – it’s a deterrent – they all came in under the sponsorship of one american family member whose right to sponsor has been found to be undeserved and especially for the criminal’s own descendants, they don’t deserve citizenship after what they did to other people usually fellow Americans.

          • Patrick

            So now you’re demonizing the children who did not commit crimes other than to be born. Deporting entire families is a Trump tactic and instantly naïve and racist. And who are you to determine who has the right to citizenship? You are obviously not a lawyer, someone who works for INS, and are simply an uneducated, racist person who simply wants to get rid of those you don’t like all based on ‘what they did to fellow Americans” and there is your biggest flaw. this is a nation of laws that punishes those who break them. Whether you don’t like the punishment or not is moot and simply a whine.

          • citizenship is like a driver’s license – a privilege not a right- nobody is ENTITLED to be here who came from somewhere else

          • Patrick

            So your point is…what? You said entire families should be deported based on the crimes of one. The you identify some form of testing to identify which region “they” are from so they can be blocked from further immigration based on the crimes of a few. Then you obscure your line of commenting stating citizenship is a privilege if you aren’t from here. IOW, you’re all over the map and fumbling to maintain your flawed argument of keeping “undesirables” out that you feel shouldn’t be here. That’s racism.

          • China needs to do the same – hold a grudge against all traitors including foreigners – they would see the division and distribution of the country and identity so they don’t need to be nor want to be Chinese anymore – nor their hybrids – so be it. Give them their wish.

            Each and every bloodline that seeks to self-amputate – should be permitted to hold that opinion and if they can take HK and Taiwan so be it – but they don’t enter the Mainland ever again which should suit them just fine. It’s only China – who cares about those scrubs.

            My family is being run out of NYC because according to the powers that be, MY father is trash. It’s their call.

          • Patrick

            Foreign traitors? What, exactly, is that? And “hybrids” is a veiled term for mixed race children so I see you’re back to your “racially pure” nonsense

          • a lot of guys marry Chinese who don’t like Chinese people but raise their kids to be better perfect Chinese best of both worlds with an ayi to confer language fluency, a lot of guys marry nonChinese Asians who don’t like Chinese and want to be able to express that sentiment behind the kevlar of having an Asian wife and kids _ I reckon there are nonAsian wives like that too – and some Japanese have Korean and Chinese daughter in laws like my cousin and raise those grandsons to acquire cultural and language familiarity and confidence but that doesn’t mean they are sympathetic to the nonJapanese side of the family.

            I don’t have a problem with hybrids – I don’t really bother to remember when they haven’t been nice to me- usually I would say they are very nice kids – black or white or half Korean or Filipino but it doesn’t mean that out of consideration and recognition of the nice ones, I should be so unCantonese as to not state that the hybrids can be used as a weapon – even politically when some half Taiwanese moves into Chinatown and declares how difficult it is to be Third Culture Kid- that’s such a Wentworth MIller caliber moan – when real immigrant kids basically are the supreme TCKs in terms of the dissonance that is just part of their growing up experience – where’s their special box to check off on NYC forms?

            I think to test drive central government and to waste its time, they’ll start rolling out their Gum Seng Mo’s to which I have to say Get Over Yourself.

          • Patrick

            And a lot of guys and women marry other ethnic people as well; so what? Welcome to the West and the US in particular. The rest of your comment is confusing and culturally selective to your background. That you ‘have no problem with hybrids” ignores that you yourself are a hybrid as are we all based on all of our backgrounds and who inter-married with who. I’ve got six distinct ethnic backgrounds from my ancestors, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China or your inane comments about “thinking ‘they’ are ok until ‘they’ do something you don’t like?” Absolutely nothing

          • sohmen pao and watari pao are no accident

          • it’s an old story – Germans have been doing it since the Roman Empire, Mongolians have tried to do it and been rejected for their daughters’ unbound feet, Japanese have done it by force to the Aisingioro and the Last Corean Princess and Prince.

            It’s not believable and it’s not leverage. There are plenty of people who marry for love or desire and are just normal people and then you have the ones that make the general public go, “…huh.”

            When it’s private and genuine, we can appreciate it but why should we stay silent when it looks like it could be a weapon against us even at its most simpleminded when hauling out your yellowskinned wife ( “黃臉婆”) to excuse some damaging piece of yellow journalism?

            Prince Philip is so grateful to QE2 for lifting him out of poverty.

          • Secundius

            Nobody in this Country is Racial PURE! Not Even those that Got Off the Mayflower…

          • Patrick

            Guess you’ve never read about white supremacy, skinheads, and the KKK in the US, eh? They would disagree with you; but then, if we followed JEng’s logic, they should all be rounded up and deported even through they are Americans

          • Secundius

            Give Me A Break! I don’t think there’s a Racial Pure Human on the Entire Planet, INCLUDING the “Inuit” Eskimo. One of the Biggest Racist in US History, J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI. And yet his Father was “Black”…

          • Patrick

            Again, what’s your point? Mayflower passengers, the Puritans, were all from England as they didn’t like how the Anglican Church was going. Since global intermarriage wasn’t occurring like it is now they were as pure ethically as you could get at the time. As for Hoover, it remains unclear which of his ancestors was black but it is possible he had a black great-grandfather, not his father. And he was a racist at the same time based on where he grew up (segregated Washington DC) and influences of that; but then we have blacks today who are huge racists who grew up/lived in DC and who also have black parents and grandparents. Again, what’s your point?

          • Secundius

            One Slight Problem, Mayflower Only made One Trip. There were 60 Purest’s, 32 Crew, and 10 other Passengers. At the End of the 6-week Voyage, ONLY 41 got off. Including Purest’s, Crew, and Passengers. 61 DIED crossing the Atlantic to Plymouth Rock Colony. Mayflower WAS NEVER USED AGAIN…

          • Yo Yo Ma is totally Chinese.

          • NY SUN 2007 article:

            In 1981, the FBI confronted a Taiwan-born nuclear scientist, Gwo-Bao Min, at an airport as he prepared to travel to China. They suspected Mr. Min was relaying sensitive information to the Chinese from the government laboratory where he worked. He was carrying a notecard that discussed miniaturizing nuclear weapons, but prosecutors deemed the evidence insufficient to bring charges.

            In 1991, the FBI came to suspect that a physicist who was also born in Taiwan, Peter Lee, was passing military information to China. The probe languished for a time, but picked up again after Lee traveled to China, where he lectured a Chinese group on submarine detection technology he was not authorized to discuss. He ultimately pleaded guilty to two felonies, disclosing classified information and making false statements to investigators. The Navy discouraged bringing some serious charges because a trial could call attention to the fact that some of the data had been declassified.

            Lee was sentenced to a year in a halfway house. The lenient sentence prompted years of wrangling in Congress about whether investigators and prosecutors mishandled the case.

            Neither the Min or Lee cases brought the FBI nearly as much chagrin as that of Katrina Leung. In 2003, Leung, who had received $1.7 million as an informant for the bureau over two decades, was arrested and charged, in essence, with being a double agent for China. While the alleged presence of a turncoat among the FBI’s so-called assets was worrisome enough, it also emerged that Leung had long-running sexual affairs with two veteran FBI agents, including her own handler at the bureau. A federal judge dismissed all charges against Leung after finding that prosecutors engaged in misconduct. While that ruling was on appeal, Leung pleaded guilty to one false-statements charge and a tax charge. She was sentenced to probation.

          • Secundius

            In the Wen Ho Lee, Incident. The FBI “Screwed-Up” the Investigation Case. That’s why Lee got such a Light Sentence…

          • the fbi said they still thought he was shady – that’s pretty bad

            the fbi could change their mind and say my dad was shady when before they said he was clean – I would just leave – hand back your passport and ask China to let us in

          • Secundius

            The only “One’s” Casting a Shadow, were the FBI…

          • this is from wen ho lee’s wikipedia entry:

            In 1982, Lee was recorded on a wiretap speaking with another Taiwanese-American scientist who had been accused of espionage. Lee offered to the scientist to find out who had turned him in. When confronted by the FBI about this incident, Lee said he did not know the scientist, until the FBI demonstrated proof of the conversation. Despite some evidence that could have kept the case open, the FBI closed this file on Lee in 1984.[7]

          • Secundius

            I tried to answer your question, but got REDACTED by the USNI News “Moderator” TWICE. I know the Actual Story through friends that worked the case. And were Hampered by the FBI, in every way Imaginable. The FBI, has a Colorful History of Inventing Convictions on the Innocent. J. Edgar, was a Racist to the “Nth” Degree. And yet he was also a “Mulatto”, His Father Dickerson Naylor Hoover was “Black”. Rumor’s has it, that he had Someone KILLED to Keep the Secret a SECRET…

          • I think that Shi Pei Pu was propaganda because of what Japan may have done to the male Chinese opera stars – Mei Lan Fang was given an unbelievable pass but the boy in Farewell My Concubine not to mention Walter Dempsey Junior in Manila. I think it’s all to continually refresh the old true crimes with current stories.

            And there’s something going on with Jin Yong/Louis Cha inventing the Dongfang BuBai character and the erroneous Sunflower Manual – the Japanese emperor goes through a weird gender bending thing when he ascends.

            something is UP with all these spy stories.

          • Secundius

            How did that Come About? I thought I was Communicating to You Directly, and Not through USNI News. But I agree with your Comment…

          • uh huh

            what is USNI anyway? How come it is so weird about what it lets through and what it doesn’t? Weirder than people’s daily. Probably nobody reads the disqus comments anyway – nobody here but me and the propagandists manning the MK Ultra station.

            when celebrities have untimely deaths or they make a movie about that death 20 years later – is that a cycle of making the general public aware of the loss of someone in the prime of life eg soldiers who are usually in their early 20s?

          • Secundius

            USNI News, United States Naval Institute News. I was waiting for my iPad to Upgrade. And the First Message to Appear was Your’s, but with NO Identifier as the Address Source. The USNI News Website, I Thought I Was Talking to You Directly…

          • maybe this is all propaganda to declare insecurity and uncertainty with regard to being able to wage war with China – as a message to Japan – I’d love to help you but my car won’t start.

          • maybe not – maybe it just served propaganda _ I don’t think the Fbi really screws stuff up eg Paul Phua in Vegas.

          • The Irish are excellent liars – pretty ones – like fairies – they really are the original fairies. People however super nice but so naturally full of mischief would SPOT other liars.

          • Patrick

            Racism again. Your comments remain laughable and incoherent

          • It’s not racist if it’s true. Some people are really good at dancing – and are BLACK (or Filipino) – is that racist?

          • Patrick

            Its racist when you state it the way you did. Here’s your comment “The Irish are excellent liars and that’s not even the only contingent in American government – you’ve got everybody else in there as well – but the Irish ALONE …” That’s racist

          • Patrick

            Yes it is racist when you put it that way. Racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority (or inferiority) of a particular race

          • I was naturally very limber – I’m from the South of China ancestrally with only a dash of the North – China recruits gymnasts from the Yuet – that’s not racist, it’s just true.

            The Toisanese are famous for their plasterwork in construction. Maybe you mean STEREOTYPE when you claim racism.

          • Patrick

            Nope, I mean racism in reference to your comments. You stated any of the previously identified spies as well as Triad members should be singled out and deported along with their families. Ask Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian descent how well that worked in WW II. Your snobbish approach to this discussion is to simply screen those you see as undesirable and get rid of them. there was another group in Germany during WW II who also felt that way.

          • Allen HO sounds Cantonese which will aggravate central governement. Canton agitates for ITSELF.

            ” at the direction of the CGNPC and the China Nuclear Power Technology Research Institute, a subsidiary of CGNPC, and that he was to do so surreptitiously.”

          • why would China purchase final stage and not research when the risk would be trojan horse that could contain a bombing of China blamed on itself eg 3-11?

            It sounds so unChinese. Did China sabotage Cantonese Allen Ho?

            THINK about how Chinese people doublecross – WHY would Central government go near final stage without full comprehension – they don’t RUSH ever – that’s very noticeable about them.

            Didn’t Canto HO SMELL That? Why wouldn’t HE say final stage could blow up in your face?

            What if America bought Allen HO and then sent final stage info that would explode inside China? Why wouldn’t the Mainlanders think of that, right?

            I disagree with ‘final stage” request being genuine from Mainland.

            Canton MIGHT be greedy and profit motivated but not central government.

          • the skyscraper overseer told me a smaller Asian company copied their presentation without the plans and tried to build their own and it didn’t work out – it wasn’t a Chinese firm.

            every country has its character – China has multiple characters because of its provinces BUT central government has a specific character. I have no idea if and what they steal but central government would not ask for this quickie information.

            maybe the real target is one of the Unnamed Persons like UP1 is Taiwanese and another UP worked for Korea and Japan. I think the UPs need to be identified to understand what is going on.

            Canton runs like its own fiefdom, correct? Same as with Shanghai?

            I think that being uncorrupted is easy – making underlings follow you is not impossible in a fiefdom.

          • Patrick

            Your uninformed trolling is laughable. The Chinese are very good at reverse engineering things rather than trying to set out and develop their own things. Why research and develop when you can steal, reverse engineer, and make slight changes so your piracy can be legally defended?

          • I think the Mainland Chinese are very good at accepting official American government help at fighting the Japanese Nazis of Asia and their collaborators. I don’t think they need to steal because America secretly shares technology with them.

          • Patrick

            Hilarious; you’ve confirmed troll status, back under the bridge with you. Try not to think, it makes everyone’s head hurt

          • Well the alternative is that America has a KMT problem while looking away at KMT triad – you really want THAT to be the reality when Taiwan is playing games with its status. The implications are ominous.

            Or America runs the worldwide heroin trade with KMT and that’s why it lets off Paul Phua and is lenient with Chan Wing Yeung’s entire family even when Dana Blake is killed on my brother’s birthday.

            No one can expect patriotism or trust in this government by non triad Chinese in that case.

          • Patrick

            “Sounds Cantonese”…perhaps you could use those limited Internet skills to find out? The context of all of your comments is racist because of the way you put them out there.

  • Doug Criner

    I wonder wga

  • BaronR

    A lot of red tape information, citing of articles, procedures and condemnations but what about the type of secrets Lt. Cmdr Lin had passed onto China and Taiwan, isn’t this the main reason for his arrest.

    • vegass04 .

      Yes it is but it would be quite strange for an article to tell you exactly what he stole.

      • BaronR

        Pl. read my reply to Patrick above.

    • Patrick

      Detailing the secrets would confirm what was lost and whomever this guy was working for would have confirmation of what they had was legitimate. That he was in an extremely classified unit should provide you with all that is required; he damaged the national security of the US, degraded our capabilities, and now scarce funding has to be used to develop new ways to counter what he did and divert funding from other efforts to do so.

      • BaronR

        The way I look at this is this article is saying something of nothing.

  • Secundius

    USNI News Moderator, That’s OK, I Made Copies and Sent Them Off…

  • Secundius

    @ JEng.

    Tried to answer you question, but “Moderator” Redated my Comment Twice Now…