A new recording made public by prosecutors raises at least as many questions as it answers.”>
A U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage didnt offer military secrets to a foreign government, but instead to an FBI informant who was pose as a Taiwanese official, military officials exposed Thursday.
The latest twisting in the case against Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, came as military officials let reporters to listen to a recording from a military pretrial hearing held on April 8. There, attorneys alleged that Lin was the target of a sting operation that led to his arrest and two-day interrogation at the Honolulu International Airport last September.
Prosecutors said that during questioning, Lin confessed to being a spy. Lins job, working in and around military reconnaissance aircraft, gave him access to information about sensitive equipment that the U.S. uses to spy on its adversaries.
Lins attorney vigorously rebutted the charges and said that his client had been denied his right to speak with a lawyer at the time he was arrested and questioned. The Pentagon Thursday played an 80 -minute section from the pretrial hearing, known as an Article 32. But they left out at the least a half-hour that officials said was classified.
The recording sheds new light on Lins case, but it also creates several unanswered questions. And prosecutors offered no explanation of how Lin, who once spoke in uniform about fulfilling his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen, had turned from a model sailor to a spy.
In the recording, the Navy alleged that as Lin met with the FBI informant from Aug. 25 to Sept. 9 of 2015, he shared classified information. Its not clear where the two satisfied or what Lin allegedly disclosed. The men spoke to each other in Mandarin.
A military attorney, Navy Cmdr. Johnathan Stephens, presented nine disks that he said contained records of the meeting and of Lins interrogation. The beauty of this is you get to watch the totality of the event, Stephens told the presiding magistrate, Cmdr. Bruce Gregor.
Lin was apprehended at the Honolulu airport on Sept. 11, interrogated for 11 hours over the course of two days, and then confessed, the prosecution said.
But Lins lawyer, Larry Youngner, said his client was deprived of legal counsel during questioning. Surrounded by FBI agents, Lin was told he had right a lawyer, and where reference is asked if he had any questions, he responded, Yea, I got questions, merely to be ignored by the agents, Youngner said.
The military also said classified documents discovered in Lins home. But Younger countered that these documents could also be found online, and that a notebook recovered from Lins home also contained nothing classified.
We believe there is yet to be proof that there was classified information in that notebook found at his home, Younger said.
Lins family said this week that his defense attorney has been unable to obtain all the evidence that the military believes proves Lins guilt.
Youngner didnt deny that Lin spoke to the person who turned out to be an informant. But he was of the view that Lin merely recurred talking phases the Navy had given him to use when dealing with Taiwanese officials.
It wasnt clear under what auspices Lin believed that the two were session. But Youngner stressed that his client had been motivated by a sense of duty.
How many times does he say[ on the videotapes ], I was trying to help the United States, Younger told the judge, adding, There is no intent or attempt to aid a foreign government.