A former US Army sergeant accused of searching the Internet for “what is the name of China’s intelligence agency” has been arrested on charges of trying to pass classified information to China’s intelligence agency.
Joseph Schmidt, 29, was arrested at San Francisco International Airport after arriving from Hong Kong.
Washington State Attorney Tessa Gorman said, “His efforts [wa Schmidt] Betraying our country”, “terrible”.
Schmidt served in the US Army from 2015 to 2020.
He was primarily based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in western Washington state and worked primarily in intelligence, gaining access to top-secret documents.
The court documents include allegations that he conducted frequent Google searches and numerous documents related to efforts to provide US national security secrets to China.
Investigators say he went to China to research online how to evade the US military and offered his services as an “interrogator” to the Chinese embassy in Turkey and Chinese intelligence.
In one of the ’emails’, he is alleged to have written to the Chinese embassy in Istanbul, Turkey: “I have a current top secret clearance and would like to speak to a government official to provide it to you. Information if possible.”
He was accused of writing a computer ‘Word’ document titled “Top Secret”.
Prosecutors say the title of the 23-page document is written in Chinese, but “almost everything [inyandiko] Written in English”.
Another post is titled “Important news to share with the Chinese government.”
Investigators say he visited websites related to espionage and espionage, including “What Real Spies Do and How They Are Recruited”, “What Real Spies Do and How They Are Recruited”.
After completing his military service, he went to Turkey and stayed for about a month, after which he went to China. He returned to the US on Friday and was immediately arrested when he arrived at the San Francisco airport.
“Members of our military are sworn to defend our country and our Constitution,” said Tessa Gorman, Acting Attorney General for the Western District of Washington State.
“In that context, the alleged actions of this ex-soldier were appalling — not only did he attempt to release national military information, but information that would allow enemy aliens to access the Department of Defense’s secure computers.”
Schmidt was brought up trying to give the country’s military information and keep the country’s military information. If convicted, he could face decades in prison.
It is not known whether he has retained a lawyer to represent him on the charges against him.
Schmidt’s arrest comes two months after two US Navy SEALs were arrested in Southern California on charges of spying for China.
The two were allegedly paid thousands of dollars by China in exchange for maps and documents detailing the operation of US ships and radars.
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