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Wenheng Zhao (AKA Thomas), US Navy Sailor (Espionage, 2022 - 2023)

Wenheng Zhao (26), a U.S. Navy Petty Officer, was convicted for  receiving bribes in exchange for transmitting sensitive U.S. military information to an individual posing as a maritime economic researcher, but who was actually an intelligence officer from the  People’s Republic of China.

Beginning in August 2021 and continuing through at least May 2023, Zhao accessed and sold highly sensitive information to a Chinese intelligence officer for an approximate total of $14,866.  The indictment did not identify any other conspirators involved in this activity.  None of the information was classified at the Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret levels.

 Zhao, who held a SECRET level security clearance, sent the Chinese military officer non-public and controlled operational plans for a large-scale U.S. military exercise in the Indo-Pacific Region. These documents detailed the specific location and timing of Naval force movements, amphibious landings, maritime operations and logistics support. The indictment further details that Zhao photographed electrical diagrams and blueprints for a radar system stationed on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan.

The PRC intelligence officer paid Zhao approximately $15K. Currency was sent as Chinese Yuan and USD.


Information Zhao passed to Chinese Intelligence

·         Specific plan and details regarding the locations and timing of US Naval Force


·         Information about amphibious landing distributed maritime operations and logistics

support provided large-scale exercise 2021 Pacific NCF, CONOPS.

·         Operational orders of military training exercises.

·         Blueprints outlining the electrical system in the GATOR storage ground air task-

oriented radar systems Okinawa Japan..



·         PRC IO used an operational cover of maritime think tank to approach Zhao.

·         Zhao used Telegram and other encrypted messaging apps.

·         Zhao used a “dynamically encrypted” IP address to transmit sensitive information.

·         entered and brought his personal cellphone into secure military locations and facilities 

o   Took photos of computer screens.

o   Took videos of equipment.

·         Repeatedly deleted and destroyed evidence of his communications and the sensitive information he transmitted to the IO.

·         IO wanted to pay Zhao to purchase a new phone.


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