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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.

Categories: Aviation, Budget Industry, China, Foreign Forces, Military Personnel, News & Analysis, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.