The Taiwan-born US Navy officer accused of spying is innocent and will fight the charges, according to his supporters who have started raising funds for his defense.
Lieutenant Commander Edward C. Lin was a signals intelligence specialist working with reconnaissance planes.
As Navy Times reports, according to US officials, “investigators believe Lin was spying for Taiwan or the People’s Republic of China, or both.”
Lin is understood to have been in pretrial confinement for the past nine months at a Navy prison in Virginia. He has been charged with espionage, failing to follow lawful orders, making false official statements and violating a ‘catch all’ article in the US Code of Military Justice, which is used to cover a range of other allegations.
Lin’s lawyer, Larry Youngner, told Navy Times Lin is innocent of these charges.
According to a statement from Youngner, published by Navy Times, Lin’s legal team is currently waiting on a decision as to whether the case will actually proceed to trial.
“Should Lt. Cmdr. Lin’s case be referred to a court-martial, we request a speedy trial on the merits and look forward to defending Lt. Cmdr. Lin, who has honorably served the United States, to include combat tours, since 1998,” says the statement.
Meanwhile, Lin’s supporters have set up a new website, Bring Eddy Home, claiming “Eddy” is innocent of the alleged crimes with which the government has charged him.
“He is no spy for Taiwan or any other foreign country,” says the website.
Like a spy novel
USNI News noted last month 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 Bring Eddy Home website says after taking Lin into custody in September 2015, the government has taken its time “to create a conventional, easy-to-digest, sensationalized tale of espionage, misdirection, and sexual perversion.”
The government’s charges cover a “litany of crimes that peddles a narrative fit for a spy novel – espionage, falsification of an official document, failure to report a foreign contact, as well as prostitution and adultery” the website says.
It says that by “cloaking” the case in secrecy, the government has managed to “categorize much of the evidence directly or even tangentially related to his case as ‘classified’ without proffering any basis for such classification.”
“Initially, Navy officials told us that the government wanted to resolve the case quickly and quietly, and discouraged us from seeking a civilian defense counsel or community support. It was only after we ignored this guidance and hired an experienced former military judge advocate [Youngner] to represent Eddy that we started to see the government’s case for the house of cards that it is.”
His supporters are also raising funds for his legal defense.
According to USNI News, when military personnel are charged with a crime they are assigned legal counsel, although they can still hire their own lawyers.
“Fees for outside counsel can run tens of thousands of dollars depending on the length and complexity of the case,” says USNI.