Chinese-Born Sailor Sold US Navy Secrets To China

According to Assistant United States Attorney Fred Sheppard, a Navy sailor located in San Diego who has been charged with selling secrets from the military to China was reportedly persuaded by his mother to keep up the illicit plot. This information was provided by the individual who was accused.

Reports show Jinchao Wei, one of two sailors from the United States Navy who were recently detained for allegedly giving Chinese intelligence operatives classified military information, appeared in front of a court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle Pettit concluded that the defendant, who was born in China and is now 22 years old, posed an unacceptable danger of fleeing the jurisdiction.

Sheppard said that Wei poses a threat to the general public on the basis of the information that he allegedly gave to the intelligence officer working for the Chinese government.

According to the reports, the intelligence officer approached Wei in February 2022 and urged him to reveal military secrets. During that period, the sailor was working on his citizenship application for the United States.

Sheppard testified before the court that Wei’s mother, who was not identified, was conscious that her son had been selling data to China and urged him to continue to do so because she believed it might lead to future career chances with the Chinese government.

At the time of his arrest last week, Wei had been an active-duty sailor based at Naval Base San Diego. He faces the risk of spending the rest of his life behind bars.

The indictment states that beginning in February 2022, Wei spoke with a PRC intelligence official who asked for details regarding the U.S.S. Essex as well as other Navy ships. The Chinese intelligence official specifically instructed Wei to provide him with material pertaining to vessels and equipment used by the United States Navy. The two parties decided to conceal their chats by encrypting their messages and erasing all traces of their exchanges.

Prosecutors include Trial Attorney Adam Barry of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Assistant United States Attorneys John Parmley and Fred Sheppard of the Southern District of California.