The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on December 21 that a former US Navy sailor along with her husband had been sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiring to illegally export controlled sensitive military equipment to China for profit. .
Ye Song “Ivy” Wang, 37, a naturalized US citizen from China, was a logistics specialist for the US Naval Special Warfare Command from 2015 to 2019, where her duties included purchasing military equipment, according to a DOJ press release.
Naval Special Warfare Command – a naval component of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) – includes Navy SEALS and Special Boat teams.
According to the press release, her husband, 38-year-old Shaohua “Eric” Wang, who is also a US citizen, enlisted his wife to “use his Navy position” to purchase military equipment for resale. He traveled to China frequently, had buyers in the country, and maintained a warehouse in China to store military equipment.
In March 2018, he used his military email and his mailing address in Navy Command to order “a tool for the identification of United States military personnel in the field,” the DOJ said.
When the device arrived at Navy Command, it was deployed to Iraq and she told her command that what she ordered was something for a camping trip for her husband.
On her return from Iraq in October 2018, she admitted to law enforcement agents that she knew her husband was illegally sending military equipment to China.
Her husband kept pressuring her to buy more, even handing her an Excel spreadsheet of the items he wanted her to buy. According to prosecutors, Ivy Wang became so “angry” with her husband that she “gave him his password on her military email asking him to buy export-controlled military equipment as hers” when she was stationed abroad.
“MS. Wang betrayed his oath to the US Navy and ultimately jeopardized the operational readiness and security of our nation’s military by attempting to acquire and illegally export sensitive military equipment to China,” the Navy said. said Joshua Flowers, Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Service’s Southwest Region. Office, according to the press release.
In addition to a 30-month sentence, Ivy Wang was also fined $20,000. According to the DOJ, her husband was sentenced on February 3 last year to 46 months for his role in the scheme. Both are residents of San Diego.
According to a court document (PDF), Ivy Wang became the target of investigation when a special security officer in Naval Command was alerted that she repeatedly attempted to obtain top security clearance. Her job had already given her a classified security clearance.
The officer was also concerned to learn that she was preparing an inventory of the records of the deployed personnel of the Naval Command, including names and addresses, as per the court document.
Court documents also show that one of the companies she reached out to was US-based Airborne Systems, which manufactures military parachutes. It is not clear whether she has purchased anything from the company on behalf of her husband.
Wang is not the first Chinese national to be accused of illegally exporting US equipment and technology to China.
In November last year, a Chinese-American electrical engineer working for Raytheon Missiles and Defense was sentenced to 38 months in prison for violating a US export control law. The engineer traveled to China carrying a company-issued computer containing information related to the missile guidance system.
Three months later, a Chinese researcher who worked for 10 years at the Ohio-based Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to steal American trade secrets and sell them for profit in China. Went.
In July, a Chinese national was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for attempting to illegally export maritime raiding craft and engines to China. According to the DOJ, the US military uses engines to launch ships at sea from submerged submarines or aircraft. China is unable to make similar engines.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in September 2020 that the bureau was opening a new Chinese counterintelligence investigation every 10 hours. Ray also said that the bureau had more than 2,000 counterintelligence investigations related to China at the time.