A US Navy officer accused of spying for Taiwan and China might have traded secrets for sex, according to media reports.
Taiwan-born Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin (林介良), 39, could have given secret information to a Chinese girlfriend, the New York Times said.
The Daily Beast Web site reported that US defense officials said that Lin possibly swapped secrets “in exchange for sexual favors.”
The case continues to make headlines in the US.
Lin, who moved from Taiwan to the US with his family 25 years ago, has been charged with espionage and attempted espionage for two unnamed nations along with a number of lesser offenses, including adultery and hiring a prostitute.
A number of Washington-based military officials have said privately that the FBI believes Lin was spying for Taiwan and China.
Taiwanese military officials have denied any connection to Lin.
There is little official information available about just what Lin is alleged to have done, but several sources said this is a serious case.
He was formally charged last week and the US Navy is expected to decide by next week whether he is to be tried in a court martial.
It has emerged that Lin was secretly arrested in September last year in Hawaii, where he was serving with Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2, also known as VPU-2.
He was assigned to a squadron that flies P-3 Orion and P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft — highly modified US Navy spy planes that detect and record electronic signals and communications.
Lin is now being held in a US Navy detention facility in Virginia.
A US defense official told CNN on Tuesday that Lin was arrested as he attempted to board a flight bound for China.
It is believed that Lin told his superiors he was going on vacation to a country in the Pacific, but not to China.
“While the extent of his alleged espionage is not yet public, he has the potential to become the most damaging US naval spy since the 1980s,” ABC TV News said.
It said the US had spent significant time assessing the damage he might have caused, which suggested “this is no ordinary spy case.”
Lin might have been especially prized in the US intelligence gathering community because he speaks fluent Mandarin.
The Daily Beast said that navy officials suspect that during at least one personal trip, Lin met with a Taiwanese and provided secret information.
The Web site said that Lin visited Taiwan in 2011 on a cultural trip organized by Taipei.
The Web site also talked to Lin’s sister, Jenny Lin, who said in a brief telephone conversation that her brother was innocent.
“The only thing I can say is that he is a proud and patriotic American who would never harm his country,” she said.
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