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Accused Spy Edward Lin Will Face General Court Martial

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin

This post has been updated to include a statement from Lt. Cmdr. Lin’s attorney. 

The Navy officer accused of passing secrets to foreign agents will face a general court martial, with an arraignment on the charges scheduled for next week, a Navy official told USNI News on Friday.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, will face charges that he committed espionage and mishandled classified documents, U.S. Fleet Forces commander Adm. Phil Davidson decided on May 10, the official told USNI News.

Lin is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Norfolk, Va., on May 17. At the hearing Lin will enter his plea to the charges.

Charges related to prostitution and adultery were dismissed without prejudice by Davidson, but the service reserves the right to handle the accusation through administrative punishment.

In an email statement, Lin’s attorney, Larry Youngner, wrote that “following the release of the convening authority’s decision, we are pleased the charges and specifications of adultery and prostitution against our client, Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, have been dropped. As previously stated, we maintain that Lt. Cmdr. Lin is innocent of espionage, innocent of failing to follow lawful orders, innocent of false official statements and innocent of violating Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Now that the remainder of Lt. Cmdr. Lin’s case has been referred to a court-martial, we request a speedy trial on the merits and look forward to defending Lt. Cmdr. Eddy Lin, who has honorably served the United States, to include combat tours, since 1999.”

Lin, originally from Taiwan and a U.S. citizen since 1998, was arrested on Sept. 11, 2015 in Hawaii and has been held in pre-trial confinement for eight months at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Va.

Prior to his detainment by NCIS, Lin had served as department head for the Navy’s secretive Special Projects Squadron 2 “Wizards” (VPU-2) and was clued in on some of the service’s most sensitive signals and electronic intelligence methods. Lin was also a Navy congressional aid and aware of the programs in the Navy’s secret black budget.

Prosecutors say following his detainment, Lin confessed to passing on classified information to foreign agents from Taiwan, including a Mandarin-speaking FBI informant, during an 11-hour interrogation taking place over two days.

Lin’s lawyers claim the Navy and the FBI entrapped Lin into giving over sensitive but publicly available information and questioning their client without properly advising him of his rights.

“The government has engaged in a nefarious scheme to entrap Lt Cmdr. Lin,” civilian defense attorney Larry Youngner said during the April 8 hearing.
“The defendant was induced by government agents to commit this offense.”

While much of the evidence in the case is classified, it’s not classified to the level of some of the most sensitive information Lin could have passed to a foreign country, according to a recording of Lin’s April 8 Article 32 hearing in Norfolk played for reporters.

  • Don Bacon

    It’s interesting that the FBI was involved in a Naval investigation. So they used “a Mandarin-speaking FBI informant” perhaps borrowed from some China business? By the FBI? (The FBI is expert at entrapment in the domestic civil arena.)

    • Guest

      That’s not entrapment.

    • Andre


    • Could Homeland Security directed FBI to check if it was more than just Navy information sold.

  • right so are you. If it was a white American you wouldnt say that.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Agree with throwing out the spurious sexual charges and getting down to brass tacks. I hope the Navy JAG puts their top guys and gals on this one. Nail his butt… if he’s guilty of course.

    • WRBaker

      Yes, they didn’t prosecute Petraeus for adultery either – seems like all the services like to ignore this charge though it remains on the books.

      • redgriffin

        Is adultery against the law in the civilian world and is it a misdemeanor or a felony? Petraeus was guilty of reveling US Secrets to his unvetted mistress though.

        • WRBaker

          A quick search and it seems there are 16 or so states that still have a law on the books. From the looks of things, they must be misdemeanors because most have small fines for it.
          Petraeus got off with a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials, a two-year probation and a $100,000 fine. The SecDef could have chosen to pursue adultery charges and take a star away from him but, of course, nothing was done.
          I’m sure the cadets at West Point question also question the Honor Code.

          • redgriffin

            So he got away with a slap on the wrist.

  • was this arrest of a nobody to scare the real Taiwanese spies in American military and government or was it to send a message to some other foreign entity?

    Is that why they didn’t read him his rights? Is this to keep KMT happy? Like going after Raymond Chow for Allen Leung and not smearing Allen Leung in the press as a “tong leader” despite Allen Leung’s genuine involvement in multiple Chinatown associations unlike my father who WAS smeared by the press after being murdered?

    so why make Edward Lin’s arrest public (although muted) if USA is committing to its friendship with KMT?