Navy Officer Edward Lin Pleads Not Guilty to Espionage

Then-Lt. Edward Lin, a native of Taiwan, shares his personal stories about his journey to citizenship to 80 newly nationalized citizens at a ceremony in Honolulu, Dec. 3, 2008. (Photo by Sarah Murphy/U.S. Navy)
Then-Lt. Edward Lin, a native of Taiwan, shares his personal stories about his journey to citizenship to 80 newly nationalized citizens at a ceremony in Honolulu, Dec. 3, 2008. (Photo by Sarah Murphy/U.S. Navy)

NORFOLK, VA -- A Navy officer pleaded not guilty to espionage on Tuesday during a hearing at Norfolk Naval Station.

No trial date has been set for Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, a naval flight officer who faces two counts of espionage, three counts of attempted espionage and five counts of communicating defense information. Espionage is one of the most serious crimes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, punishable under certain circumstances by death.

New charge sheets in the case show military prosecutors believe Lin committed espionage from 2012 to 2014 in the Washington area. At the time, Lin was serving as a staff aide at the Pentagon to Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy. Mulloy was serving as the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget and the director of the fiscal management division. Mulloy is now the deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources.

The Navy has not publicly said what classified information it accuses Lin of providing or to which government, although Lin's attorneys have said it is Taiwan. Lin was born in Taiwan and he and his family moved to the United States when he was 14. He became a naturalized citizen in 1998 and joined the Navy in 1999.

He was highlighted on the service's website in 2008 when he spoke at a naturalization ceremony in Hawaii.

Lin was assigned to a secretive patrol squadron in Hawaii at the time of his Sept. 11 arrest at the Honolulu airport, and his prosecution has been designated a "national security case" by the Navy.

The attempted espionage charges stem from Lin's time in Hawaii, according to the charge sheets. Lin attempted to communicate secret information on Sept. 1, Sept. 4 and Sept. 9 of 2015 in the Pearl Harbor area, where the Navy has a base.

Lin also is charged with wrongfully transporting classified material and failing to report foreign contacts. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Phil Davidson dismissed charges of adultery and patronizing a prostitute following a preliminary hearing.

Lin is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake. A hearing is tentatively scheduled for June to discuss whether Lin can be released from pretrial confinement.

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