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Military court finds American sailor guilty of attempted espionage

A sailor who previously served in Japan aboard a guided-missile destroyer was court-martialed guilty of sharing classified defense information with representatives of a foreign government.

According to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a military court found Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini guilty on Friday, April 19. He was convicted of attempted espionage, disobeying a lawful order and attempted violation of a lawful general order. The decision came after a seven-day trial period.

The charges against the sailor were announced in February, months after his arrest in 2023. According to the case against him, Pedicini shared “secret and national defense information” with an agent of a foreign government on seven days — the case did not specify which country. several occasions in Virginia between November 2023 and February 2023. Pedicini did this while pretending to write research papers, NCIS said.

“This guilty verdict holds Mr. Pedicini accountable for his betrayal of his country and fellow service members,” NCIS Director Omar Lopez said in a statement.

Bryce Pedicini (photo via Facebook)
Bryce Pedicini (photo via Facebook)

Prior to his arrest, Pedicini served aboard the USS Higgins, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, based in Yokosuka, Japan. He was arrested on May 19, 2023 and placed in pre-trial detention.

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According to prosecutors, Pedicini attempted to share this information knowing that “this information would be used to the detriment of the United States and to the benefit of a foreign nation.” It was not disclosed exactly what information that involved. He also allegedly attempted to share photos of a secret Internet Protocol Router network while back in Japan, shortly before his arrest. The SIPR networks are used by the military for the internal transfer of classified information, and the machines used for this purpose are also highly secured.

The Tennessee native joined the U.S. Navy in 2008 and reached the rank of chief petty officer in August 2022. Before serving on the USS Higgins, he served aboard the USS McFaul and the USS Curtis Wilbur.

Pedicini will be sentenced on May 7.

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