Navy Officer to Face Court Martial for Alleged Espionage

Cmdr. Edward Lin will be arraigned in Norfolk, Virginia, on Tuesday afternoon.

May 13, 2016, 12:17 PM

— -- Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin will face a general court martial on charges of espionage and alleged espionage.

On Friday, the Navy announced that the admiral overseeing Lin's case had accepted a recommendation that there was enough evidence to warrant that Lin's case should proceed to a court martial on the charges.

"On May 10, the convening authority, Admiral Phil Davidson, commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command, referred charges against Lt. Commander Edward C.L. Lin to a general court martial," said Lt. Commander Tim Hawkins, a Navy spokesman.

Davidson elected not to refer charges relating to prostitution and adultery to a court martial.

"Those charges were dismissed without prejudice," said Hawkins, who added that there could be future punitive or administrative action related to those charges.

Lin will be arraigned in Norfolk, Virginia, on Tuesday afternoon.

The Taiwan-born Lin, 39, served as a flight officer in one of the Navy's most secretive units, Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two (VPU-2), which flies reconnaissance aircraft capable of intercepting signals and electronic communications.

Lin's case first became public at a preliminary court hearing held April 8 in Norfolk, where evidence was presented to a presiding officer to determine whether Lin's case should be recommended for a court martial.

Lin was arrested on September 11, 2015, at the Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii as he prepared to travel overseas. His eight-month detention at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Virginia, was not disclosed by the Navy until the court hearing in April.

At the hearing, Navy prosecutors presented 11 hours of video recordings of Lin's interrogations made in the two days after his arrest. They said that in the interrogations Lin admitted to passing along secret information to a foreign power, though no reference was made as to which country or countries he was involved with.

Prosecutors also revealed that Lin's detention resulted from alleged dealings he had with an FBI informant posing as an operative for a foreign country, information which led Lin's defense team to say he had been entrapped.

A U.S. official told ABC News that preliminary indications point to possible espionage for either China or Taiwan, though the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI are continuing to investigate the case.

Lin's attorney, Larry Youngner, made the case at the hearing that none of the information in Lin's interrogations should be admitted as evidence because NCIS investigators did not get a complete response from him if he understood that his rights about self-incrimination.

Though the question was asked about his right under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Youngner said Lin never provided a response because one of the investigators quickly switched the conversation to another topic.

The attorney also told the presiding officer that materials Lin was alleged to have passed along probably did not warrant being labeled as classified information since they could mostly be found in open-source reporting.

Lin's family has set up a website supporting his innocence and alleging that his pre-trial confinement violated his constitutional rights.

Lin has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him.

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