Taiwan-born US Navy Officer Accused of Spying for China

Taiwan-born US Navy Officer Accused of Spying for China
Photo Credit: Lowy Institute

A US Navy officer who was born in Taiwan has been accused of spying for China.

Lieutenant Commander Edward C. Lin  faces accusations of writing false official statements, communicating defense information, taking classified documents out of the United States without permission, falsely reporting his whereabouts upon return to duty, patronizing a prostitute and committing adultery, USNI News has reported.

While some officials connected to the case reportedly mentioned the recipient of the data to be China, the official charge sheet did not say which foreign government received the information – that information remained classified. There has also been speculation that the information may have been transmitted to Taiwan.

Lin, who has been held for the past eight months in a Navy prison in Virginia, was a signals intelligence specialist working with reconnaissance planes. He was also a department head at a squadron in Hawaii. The intelligence-gathering roles may have meant he was in a position to glean sensitive data.

USNI News noted that the specifics of how the US gathers signal intelligence are among the military’s most closely-guarded secrets. The information Lin may have had access to could enable other parties to devise ways to counter US monitoring.


The news may be troubling to Taiwan. The EP-3E Aries II plane, which Lin worked with, resembles the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft used by Taiwan. With Taiwan currently operating twelve Orions, sensitive data regarding the Aries II may overlap with classified information on the Orion aircraft, making it a national security issue for Taiwan.

USNI News said the Navy’s last major incident of espionage was in 1985 when it was discovered a warrant officer had been transmitting information to the Soviet Union for eighteen years.  

Lin is a naturalized US citizen, having moved to several countries before ending up in the United States when he was fourteen.

Edited by Edward White



Navy Times


Washington Post