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NextImg:INTELLIGENCE BREACH: Two U.S. Navy Sailors of Chinese Origin Arrested for Passing Highly Sensitive Military Information to the People’s Republic of China | The Gateway Pundit | by Jim Hᴏft

Two U.S. Navy sailors, both of Chinese origin, have been arrested in two separate cases in the Southern and Central Districts of California on charges of espionage following accusations that they had been transmitting highly sensitive military information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), according to U.S. Department of Justice.

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Jinchao Wei (Credit: New York Post)

U.S. Navy sailor Jinchao Wei, aka Patrick Wei, a 22-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested Wednesday on espionage charges as he arrived for work at Naval Base San Diego, the homeport of the Pacific Fleet. He was indicted for conspiracy to send national defense information to an intelligence officer working for the People’s Republic of China.

According to the indictment, unsealed on Thursday, Wei was an active-duty sailor on the amphibious assault ship the U.S.S. Essex stationed at Naval Base San Diego. As a machinist’s mate, Wei held a U.S. security clearance and had access to sensitive national defense information concerning the ship’s weapons, propulsion, and desalination systems.

Between March 2022 and the present, Wei sent various photographs, videos, and documents concerning U.S. Navy ships. He received thousands of dollars in payment for the information.

The indictment details Wei’s actions through June, August, and October 2022, including sending technical and mechanical manuals. Many of these documents contained export control warnings and were considered “critical technology” by the U.S. Navy.

The indictment further alleges that in 2023, Wei continued to provide information about the Essex, including blueprints related to modifications to the flight deck.

Throughout the alleged conspiracy, Wei was instructed to gather non-public U.S. military information and to destroy any evidence regarding the relationship.

Wenheng Zhao (Credit: New York Post)

U.S. Navy servicemember Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, aka Thomas Zhao, 26, of Monterey Park, California, was arrested following an indictment by a federal grand jury.

Zhao has been charged with receiving bribes in exchange for transmitting sensitive U.S. military information to an individual posing as a maritime economic researcher but was discovered to be an intelligence officer from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Zhao worked at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, where he held a U.S. security clearance. The indictment alleges that Zhao received bribes totaling approximately $15,000 from a Chinese intelligence officer for violating his official duties by disclosing non-public sensitive U.S. military information.

The activities allegedly began in August 2021 and continued through May 2023. At the Chinese intelligence officer’s direction, Zhao reportedly recorded and transmitted U.S. military information, photographs, and videos, all under the guise that the intelligence officer was a maritime economic researcher seeking information for investment purposes.

For bribes, Zhao is accused of sending non-public operational plans for large-scale U.S. military exercises in the Indo-Pacific Region. These plans detailed specific locations, timings, amphibious landings, maritime operations, and logistical support.

Additionally, Zhao is alleged to have photographed electrical diagrams and blueprints for a radar system stationed on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan.

Throughout their relationship, the intelligence officer allegedly directed Zhao to conceal their connection and destroy evidence of their unlawful scheme.

If convicted, Zhao faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The FBI Los Angeles Field Office’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division and NCIS investigated the case, with IRS Criminal Investigation providing substantial assistance.