UPDATED: Edward Lin Pleads Not Guilty to Espionage Charges

May 17, 2016 1:50 PM - Updated: May 17, 2016 3:07 PM
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin

This post was updated with additional information from Tuesday’s hearing and an updated charge sheet.

The naval flight officer accused of passing secrets to foreign agents and an FBI informant in a sting operation pled not guilty to charges of espionage and mishandling classified information during a Tuesday arraignment in a Norfolk, Va. military court, a U.S. official familiar with the proceedings told USNI News.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, is accused of two instances of espionage, three instances of attempted espionage and several instances of mishandling classified information and failing to report contact with foreign agents, according to a new charge sheet provided to USNI News on Tuesday.

Fleet Forces commander Adm. Phil Davidson elected not to try Lin on adultery and prostitution charges and dismissed them without prejudice, meaning the Navy could elect to pursue those charges via administrative punishment later.

Lin elected to have a trial by jury and declined to have his charges read during the hearing. His next court appearance will be an administrative hearing in early June, the official said.

Prosecutors have argued Lin, originally from Taiwan, had attempted to pass secret information to at least one foreign agent – an FBI informant fluent in Mandarin, according to an audio recording of Lin’s April 8 Article 32 hearing played for reporters earlier this month.

During the same hearing Lin’s lead defense attorney, former Air Force lawyer Larry Youngner said NCIS and the FBI entrapped Lin into giving the informant publically available information and that Lin was improperly advised of his rights by NCIS agents when he was detained in Hawaii on Sept. 11, 2015.

Lin, originally from Taiwan and became a U.S. citizen in 1998, served as a department head of the secretive signals and electronic intelligence unit Special Projects Squadron 2 “Wizards” (VPU-2) and as a congressional liaison privy to the Navy’s spending on secret so-called black projects.

While Lin was privy to some of the Navy’s most closely guarded secrets, the classified evidence alluded to in the April Article 32 hearing was designated SECRET –indicating whatever alleged classified information is in question was likely not the most sensitive information he knew.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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