Two US Navy officers in southern California have been arrested on charges related to allegations of espionage and bribery, amplifying concerns surrounding national security breaches involving China. Jinchao Wei, stationed aboard a naval vessel in San Diego, is accused of transmitting classified national defense information to Chinese officials. Simultaneously, Wenheng Zhao faces charges of conspiracy and accepting bribes from a Chinese official. The allegations, which include sharing sensitive data on aircraft imagery, personnel training, and weapons systems, underscore potential risks to US military preparedness.
Wei, stationed on the USS Essex, is alleged to have communicated with a Chinese intelligence officer, sharing technical manuals, blueprints, and photographs of military equipment. Meanwhile, Zhao is accused of accepting bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for sharing sensitive military information, including plans for a military exercise and blueprints for a base in Japan.
Matt Olson, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, has said, “Make no mistake, as a department, we will continue to use every legal tool in our arsenal to counter that threat and to deter the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and those who aid it in violating the rule of law and threatening our national security.”