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Naval Officer Sentenced To Six Years For Espionage

Petty Officer 1st Class Sarah Murphy/U.S. Navy
June 06, 2017

A judge in Virginia has ruled that Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin will face six years behind bars for pleading guilty to violations of the U.S. Espionage Act.

Lin received the lucrative plea deal in May when he pleaded guilty for failing to report foreign contacts, mishandling classified information and making false statements about his travel plans, among other things. He was arrested in 2015 while attempting to board a flight to China, where shortly after he became a media sensation when accusations buzzed that he was an insider spy for China, and traded valuable government secrets for sex and money.

However, while he was found to be acting extremely recklessly with classified information, it may not have been as bad as large media outlets originally reported.

Former Marine and military lawyer Robert Bracknell told USNI News that, “While this case didn’t turn out to be related to foreign intelligence – not really a ‘spy’ case – the sentence sends a strong message to the force about taking care to safeguard classified and sensitive information.”

Military Judge Cmdr. Robert Monahan deliberated for four hours before sentencing Lin to nine years, where under a pretrial agreement he will serve six and receive credit for 646 days of time served before trial, as well as having three years suspended. This means Lin could be released in about four years.