Intelligence: Submarine Sailor Spills Secrets

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August 14, 2006: An American sailor was arrested last March, for desertion, when he flew in from Austria. When his luggage was searched, the case turned into one more concerned with espionage. The sailor, Ariel J. Weinmann, was a fire control technician aboard the nuclear attack sub, the USS Albuquerque. Most of the details of this case have been classified, but Weinmann is believed to have sold secret information, about American nuclear subs, to Russia.
Weinmann deserted in July, 2005, but apparently began stealing, and trying to sell, classified information as early as March 2005. He copied computer files onto one of the subs laptops, and then took that laptop with him when he deserted. The laptop was later recovered in his Austrian apartment, but the hard drive had been removed. When arrested, Weinmann had CDs, memory cards and a USB device, all with classified data on them.
Weinmann entered the navy in July, 2003, and finished his training in October, 2004. He only made one six month cruise with the USS Albuquerque. Apparently the object of that cruise was intelligence collecting. If Weinmann passed on details of how American subs conduct their underwater information collecting, this could turn out to be a serious case. Weinmann's normal job, working with fire control equipment, is not nearly as valuable to a foreign navy.
Russia is continuing to manufacture nuclear submarines, and sells high tech weapons and military equipment to countries like China and Iran. It appears that navy investigators are trying to get Weinmann to spill all he knows, and what he did, in return for a break on the life sentence he is facing if convicted. Given the amount of incriminating evidence Weinmann was caught with, a conviction looks pretty assured.

 


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