Wednesday, August 09, 2006
U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy publicly acknowledged that a sailor who deserted in 2005 has been charged with espionage, believed to be on behalf of Russia, military sources said.

Ariel Weinmann, 21, was a fire control technician third class assigned to the submarine USS Albuquerque on his first tour of duty when he deserted in July 2005, according to charges now pending against him. He was taken into custody March 26 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport by customs agent when he tried to re-enter the United States.

According to the charges, Weinmann attempted on three occasions to pass classified information to foreign agents. These occurred in March 2005 in Bahrain; October 2005 in Vienna, Austria; and March 2006 in Mexico City. Weinmann also faces charges of desertion. These charges could result in the death penalty.

Navy sources say Weinmann is likely to have had access to technical manuals and other material about how submarine weapons systems work. It is not believed he had anyone inside the Navy working with him.

This is the second case of allegations of potential spying by Russia against the U.S. military. The Defense Department has said it believes Russia collected information from the U.S. Central Command in Doha, Bahrain, about U.S. intelligence in Iraq during 2003.
Posted By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Bureau: 8/09/2006 12:40:00 PM ET | Permalink
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