A Navy officer charged with espionage will be arraigned Tuesday after the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command referred the case to a general court-martial.LCDR Edward C. Lin is a naval flight officer who faces two counts of espionage, three counts of attempted espionage and five counts of communicating defense information.
Lin was assigned to a secretive patrol squadron in Hawaii at the time of his Sept. 11 arrest at the Honolulu airport, and his prosecution has been designated a “national security case” by the Navy.
Lin also is charged with wrongfully transporting classified material and failing to report foreign contacts. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Phil Davidson dismissed charges of adultery and patronizing a prostitute.The decision not to refer the collateral offenses seems a wise one. The prosecution can focus on the most serious charges and the fact-finders won't be distracted either. From a personal view, I anticipate the case will be complicated by discovery and "classification" issues. I happened to be in on the new designation of Navy "national security cases" back in the late 1980's. They can be straightforward in terms of the elements of the crime and the witnesses and evidence necessary to prosecute, the real issue will be a significant administrative one in terms of following the proper procedures set out in Military Rule of Evidence 505 which is similar to the federal Classified Information Procedures Act.