What You Need To Know:
Today, United States Navy member Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, also known as Thomas Zhao, pleaded guilty to federal felony charges. He admitted to transmitting sensitive U.S. military information to a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for bribes.
Zhao, stationed at Naval Base Ventura County, collected and passed classified U.S. military information to a Chinese intelligence officer. From August 2021 to May 2023, he received over $14,866 in bribes for the classified information.
This included plans for a large-scale maritime training exercise, operational orders, and detailed diagrams for a radar system in Okinawa, Japan.
Zhao used encrypted communication, destroyed evidence, and concealed his ties.
The investigation was led by the FBI’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division, along with NCIS. IRS Criminal Investigation provided substantial support. Zhao’s sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2024, and he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. He has been in custody since his arrest on August 3.