U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Kellogg III will spend three years behind bars after a joint agency investigation yielded evidence of his attempted espionage for Russia.
The sentencing took place at a general court-martial in May after Kellogg pleaded guilty to charges related to the illegal communication of national defense information. Kellogg was dishonorably discharged from the Navy and received a rank reduction from E-5 to E-1, according to the FBI.
The FBI said, “Kellogg had permission to access classified national defense information relating to the capabilities, operations, and maintenance of Navy nuclear propulsion systems while he served aboard the USS Carl Vinson from May to September 2018, as a Nuclear Electrician’s Mate.”
San Diego-based sailor court-martialed in Russia defection, nuclear espionage case https://t.co/n6X0lgJRJj [Breaking] pic.twitter.com/XAmMumq3kp
— San Diego Union-Tribune (@sdut) May 23, 2019
Kellogg admitted that in Aug. 2018, he tried to take a commercial flight from San Diego, California to New York City so he could give confidential information about the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered warships to a news reporter who was supposed to go public with it.
He confessed that in July and August 2018, he expressed plans to defect to Russia.
He also conducted online searches for “flights to Moscow, contact information for the Russian Consulate in San Diego, and contact information for Sevmash, a Russian shipbuilding enterprise,” the FBI said.
Kellogg also admitted that in May and August 2018, he took pictures of controlled spaces comprising sensitive Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program information aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
He shared the photos with his father and ex-girlfriend, neither of who held security clearances.
Kellogg acknowledged that “from June 2018 to August 2018, he failed to obey a lawful general order by wrongfully storing classified information in his berthing,” according to the FBI.
Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said, “The FBI is committed to protecting the nation’s critical assets, advanced technologies and sensitive information in the defense sector against all counterintelligence threats. As demonstrated by this case, the FBI works closely with NCIS to investigate and prosecute those military members who intentionally risk our national security and violate the oath they took to protect our nation.”
Special Agent in Charge Garrett Waugh of the Southwest Field Office said, “This sailor’s attempts to disclose classified Navy nuclear propulsion information posed a significant threat to national security and endangered the lives of American service members. NCIS will continue to prioritize counterintelligence efforts as well as investigate and disrupt espionage activity directed at the Navy and Marine Corps.”