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US sailor pleads guilty to espionage, data theft

[JURIST] A US Navy [official website] sailor pleaded guilty Monday at a court-martial [press release, DOC] hearing in Norfolk, Virginia, to espionage, desertion, failing to properly safeguard and store classified information, copying classified information, communicating classified information to a person not entitled to receive it, and stealing and destroying a government computer. Petty Officer 3rd Class Ariel Weinmann [case backgrounder; Wikipedia profile], accused of passing classified information to an undisclosed foreign government on three different occasions, now faces a life sentence without parole. Prosecutors said Weinmann deserted the Navy in July 2005 and traveled to Austria, where he transmitted classified information that he had stored on a stolen government computer.

Although Weinmann pleaded guilty to espionage [Navy Times report] in relation to the Austria charge, he pleaded not guilty to two additional charges of espionage. Prosecutors also alleged that Weinmann tried to give information to a representative of a foreign government in Bahrain in March 2005, and again in Mexico City in March 2006, shortly before his arrest at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. AP has more.

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