Navy Fails the Intelligence Test, Again

Hard on the heels of the ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal, the Navy has charged an officer at the Norfolk Naval Station with espionage. Lieutenant Commander Edward C. Lin, an officer assigned to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, has been in the brig for the last eight months, but the Navy has kept it out of the news until now.

The Navy released a heavily redacted charge sheet on April 8 and it didn’t take long for national media outlets to discover the name of the accused. In addition to espionage, Lin is also accused of attempted espionage and patronizing a prostitute. Although Lin is a U.S. citizen, his family immigrated here from Taiwan over 20 years ago.

It is believed that Lin was spying on the United States for China.

It isn’t known, yet, how much damage Lin has done to the service, how much information was passed to Chinese Intelligence or even the reasons behind the act of betrayal by a man who once said, “I always dreamt about coming to America, the ‘promised land.’ I grew up believing that all the roads in America lead to Disneyland.”

If Lin believed that then, the primary question becomes what happened? What happened to this bright and promising naval officer? What happened to make him turn his back on his adopted country? And, most importantly, what made the Navy forget the lessons learned through the Walker spy ring scandal?

130424-N-TC437-190It will take time for the general public to learn what the Navy already knows. The service has held Lin for eight months prior to announcing the charges and there is definitely a reason behind it. It could be as simple as knowing that all intelligence has a time limit. Once the Navy learned that he had been passing information, they may have thought to turn him or use him against his foreign spymasters.

No matter why the Navy held him for so long with no fanfare, the lid is off of the investigation now. More information should be forthcoming and a trial – even a military trial – will be reported on and Lin’s reasons will become clear with time. The Navy’s reaction should come even sooner.

When the Walker spy ring was uncovered, security clearances were scrutinized and many sailors had to undergo additional investigation. In the current PC climate – especially in the Armed Forces – the utility of being able to scrutinize nationalized citizens will be challenged. Even though, internationally, China has shown that they are willing and able to subvert people with Chinese heritage, the military will have to tighten security for everyone, not just those who are most likely to be subverted by the Chinese.

This attitude will make it more difficult to tighten security and prevent incidents like this from happening in the future. In the present, we can only hope that the Navy does everything in its power to mitigate the damage done and punishes everyone who is responsible. Even then, the damage done to Naval security will be immense.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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