[Fox News] 2 US sailors hit with charges tied to national security, China

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The U.S. Department of Justice arrested two U.S. Navy sailors on national security charges relating to China on Thursday.

It is unclear whether the two cases are connected in any way. The first sailor, a 22-year-old assigned to a vessel in San Diego, was arrested on an espionage charge relating to a conspiracy to share intelligence with a Chinese official.

The second sailor, based near Los Angeles, is charged with conspiracy and receipt of a bribe from a Chinese official.

DOJ officials have not identified either U.S. sailor by name. A DOJ spokesman detailed the charges against each of the members, however.

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“In the first case out of the central district, the defendant, a petty officer who served as a construction engineer, is charged with conspiring with a PRC intelligence officer to collect and transmit sensitive military information about naval operations,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said during a Thursday press briefing. 

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“The defendant allegedly accepted bribes and gave the PRC intelligence officer photographs and videos of military exercise plans, operational orders and electrical systems.,” he added.

“In the second case, out of the southern district, the defendant faces charges for espionage and for violating our export control laws, for collecting and transmitting sensitive national defense information at the direction of a PRC intelligence officer,” Olsen continued.

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“As tasked by the intelligence officer, the defendant allegedly transmitted or attempted to transmit more than 50 manuals and other documents containing technical and mechanical data about naval amphibious assault ships,” Olsen said. “Several of these materials were allegedly marked with export control warnings and contained details about the power structure, weapons systems and damage control aboard those ships.”

Olsen said China “stands apart” from all other adversarial nations in the threat it poses to the national security of the United States. 

“China is unrivaled in the audacity and the range of its malign efforts to subvert our laws,” Olsen said Thursday.

This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates.

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