Navy Machinist Arrested: Allegedly Leaked Classified Ship Info to Chinese Intelligence Officer |

On Thursday, the United States announced the arrest of two Navy sailors in California on suspicion of giving Chinese intelligence agents access to sensitive and classified military information.

According to the Justice Department (DOJ), both sailors successfully transferred secrets to Chinese intelligence prior to this week’s arrest in exchange for cash bribes.

The arrests, according to Suzanne Turner, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, “are a reminder of the People’s Republic of China’s relentless, aggressive efforts to undermine our democracy and threaten those who defend it.”


In a statement, Turner claimed that “the PRC compromised enlisted personnel to secure sensitive military information that could seriously jeopardize U.S. national security.”

According to the DOJ, from August 2021 to May 2023, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao of the U.S. Navy at Naval Base Ventura County, California, accepted bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer to transmit classified information.

According to the Justice Department, the Chinese officer received pictures, videos, and information from Zhao in exchange for more than $14,000 while posing as a maritime economic researcher.

Details on a US military exercise in the Indo-Pacific, including the location and timing of Navy movements, ship landings, and maritime operations, are among the information he is accused of having traded.

At a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan, Zhao allegedly took pictures of a radar system’s blueprints and diagrams as well.

Zhao was charged with accepting bribes in return for disclosing sensitive U.S. military information and could spend up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

According to US Attorney Martin Estrada, Zhao “chose to sell out his colleagues and his country in a corrupt manner.”

“The defendant betrayed his sacred oath to protect our country and uphold the Constitution,” Estrada said in a statement. “By sending this sensitive military information to an intelligence officer working for a hostile foreign state.”

Additionally, according to DOJ officials, sailor Jinchao Wei was detained on Wednesday at Naval Base San Diego in California.

Wei was charged with conspiring to provide a People’s Republic of China intelligence officer with information related to national defense in exchange for thousands of dollars.


The Justice Department claims that Wei worked as a machinist on the USS Essex, a small aircraft carrier, where he allegedly had access to secret knowledge about the ship’s armament, propulsion, and desalination systems.

Wei allegedly started corresponding with a Chinese agent in February 2022, and in March 2022, he allegedly started sending the intelligence officer images and videos of the Essex.

Wei allegedly provided information about US maritime drills as well as details from dozens of technical manuals about the Essex and other ships through 2023.

Navy Machinist Arrested: Allegedly Leaked Classified Ship Info to Chinese Intelligence Officer |

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