Navy officer charged with espionage in national security case

Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-10 16:05:04-04

By Mariano Castillo


(CNN) — A Navy officer has been charged with espionage and attempted espionage, among other accusations, in a proceeding that has been designated a national security case.

The unnamed officer was arrested eight months ago, but information about his case didn’t become available until after a preliminary hearing Friday.

Key parts of the charging sheet are redacted, but the details that are legible have all the trappings of a spy novel: Allegations of espionage, illegally sharing secret information, falsifying records, prostitution, adultery and more.

Friday’s Article 32 hearing was a preliminary hearing, to be followed by a decision on whether the charges are referred to a court-martial.

The officer, who holds the rank of lieutenant commander, was taken into custody at an airport in the U.S. Pacific Command region while heading to a foreign country, a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

Since his arrest, the officer has been in pretrial confinement, held in a brig in Chesapeake, Virginia, the U.S. official said.

The U.S. official declined to say where the the officer was based or how long the officer had been in the Navy, but the charging sheet shows he was assigned to Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. The unit is based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Both the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI continue to investigate the case, the U.S. official said.

The most serious charges against the officer are two counts of espionage and three counts of attempted espionage.

The other charges include violations related to wrongly transporting material classified as secret and failing to report the compromised information.

The officer is charged with three counts of “false official statement” for failing to report foreign travel and putting false information on documents.

There is one count of paying for a prostitute and another for adultery.

CNN’s Nick Valencia and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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