Ex-JBLM soldier arrested after attempting to spy for China

Oct 6, 2023, 7:28 PM

jblm soldier spy china...

Exterior of Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Photo courtesy of Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

(Photo courtesy of Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

Federal investigators have charged an ex-Army soldier with trying to pass off classified information to China after he left his post here in Western Washington, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Joseph Daniel Schmidt, 29, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) from 2015 to 2020. Shortly after leaving the military in 2020, Schmidt allegedly traveled to Hong Kong and tried to pass off U.S. defense information to the Chinese. His primary assignment at JBLM was within the 109th Military Intelligence Battalion.

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“Joseph Daniel Schmidt was once a trusted guardian of our nation’s secrets and swore an oath to defend and protect U.S. national security,” Suzanne Turner, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division wrote in a prepared statement. “As alleged by the government, Schmidt betrayed his promise and potentially placed our nation at risk in his attempts to pass national defense information to Chinese security services. The FBI and our partners remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the American people and U.S. national security.”

Federal investigators stated that when he reached out to China in 2020, he attempted to offer “a device that allows for access to secure military computer networks.” Schmidt also allegedly reached out to the Chinese Consulate in Turkey.

“(It was) a particular type of card that can be used to access secret government networks,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg told KIRO Newsradio.

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Schmidt has been in Asia for the past three years and was arrested after he flew into the San Francisco International Airport Thursday night. He faces up to 10 years in prison alongside a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Greenberg, alongside Deputy Chief Matthew J. McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, is prosecuting the case.

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Ex-JBLM soldier arrested after attempting to spy for China