US Sailor Charged With Espionage, Facing Court Martial

(U.S. Navy photo by Ryo Isobe)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini faced court martial today for charges of espionage and sharing defense information with a foreign national while based in Virginia and Japan, U.S. Naval Institute News reported, citing the Navy and the sailor’s charge sheet.

Pedicini, who was assigned to the destroyer USS Higgins currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, was set to face court martial as soon as Wednesday, USNI News reported, citing Navy officials and the service’s trial docket. Between November 2022 and February 2023, Pedicini allegedly communicated classified information from secure locations and gave the information to a foreign government from Hampton Roads, Virginia, where several Navy activities are headquartered, a Navy charge sheet issued in May shows.

“A sailor assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) is suspected of mishandling classified documents and information. The incident remains under investigation and legal proceedings continue,” Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a service spokesperson, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Navy Sailor Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribes From China In Exchange For Spying)

The Navy also says Pedicini attempted to pass on defense information he knew to be classified to a foreign national in Japan between May 8 and May 13, the charge sheet states. To do so, he took a personal electronic device into a secure storage room and processed the information on a computer not cleared to take in classified information.

The charge sheet did not specify the nature of the information Pedicini unlawfully handled or disclose the identities of the recipient government and foreign national.

Based on the dates specified in the charging documents, Pedicini was arrested shortly after the May incident and has been held in pre-trial confinement since May 19, only being referred to general court-martial on Jan. 18.

Naval Surface Forces is the convening authority for the court-martial, the charging documents show. Pedicini faces two specifications of attempted violation of a lawful general order, two specifications of violation of lawful general order, two specifications of failure to obey a lawful order, eight counts of espionage or attempted espionage and seven counts of communicating defense information.

Pedicini joined the Navy in 2008 and was promoted to chief petty officer on Aug. 22, according to a biography provided by the Navy.

Pedicini’s attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment through the Navy by posting time.

In January, the federal government sentenced a Navy sailor formerly based in California to more than two years in prison for funneling sensitive military information to a Chinese intelligence officer.

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