The U.S. Department of Justice has exposed a grave breach of national security, revealing the arrest of two Navy sailors in California who are accused of betraying their country by providing classified military information to Chinese intelligence agents.
These shocking developments serve as a stark reminder of the aggressive efforts made by the People’s Republic of China to subvert U.S. democracy and threaten its defenders.
DOJ (Department of Justice) disclosed that U.S. Navy Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao employed at Naval Base Ventura County, California, accepted financial bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer to relay national security secrets between August 2021 and May 2023.
Zhao, stationed at Naval Base Ventura County, California, allegedly transmitted sensitive military information to a Chinese intelligence officer disguised as a maritime economic researcher. In return, he received over $14,000 in bribes.
The information leaked included critical details about U.S. military exercises in the Indo-Pacific, compromising the location and timing of Navy movements, ship landings, and maritime operations. Zhao also allegedly photographed diagrams and blueprints of a radar system at a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan.
Furthermore, as per statements from DOJ officials, Jinchao Wei, a U.S. Navy sailor stationed at Naval Base San Diego in California, was arrested on Wednesday.
Wei faced charges of conspiring to provide national defense information to an intelligence officer affiliated with the People’s Republic of China in exchange for substantial sums of money.
The Justice Department alleges that Wei had access to classified information about the ship’s weapons, propulsion, and desalination systems. Starting in February 2022, Wei reportedly communicated with a Chinese agent, ultimately sharing photographs and videos of the USS Essex in March 2022.
He also allegedly provided information from dozens of technical manuals about the USS Essex and similar ships, along with details about U.S. maritime drills through 2023.
Both Zhao and Wei are now facing severe consequences for their actions. Zhao has been indicted on charges of receiving bribes in exchange for transmitting sensitive U.S. military information, carrying a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said that “Zhao chose to corruptly sell out his colleagues and his country.”
“By sending this sensitive military information to an intelligence officer employed by a hostile foreign state, the defendant betrayed his sacred oath to protect our country and uphold the Constitution,” Estrada said in a statement.
Source: THE HILL