US Navy Sailor Convicted of Espionage on Japan-Based Destroyer

Chief Petty Officer Found Guilty of Disclosing Classified Information to Foreign Government Representative

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In a recent development within the maritime sector, Chief Petty Officer Bryce S. Pedicini, an esteemed member of the United States Navy serving aboard the Japan-based destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76), has been found guilty of egregious offenses, including attempted espionage, refusal to obey a lawful directive, and attempted disobedience of a legitimate general order.

The conviction, delivered by a military court, stems from Pedicini’s grave breach of divulging secret defense material to a representative of a foreign government, as disclosed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

NCIS Director Omar Lopez emphasized that Pedicini’s conviction underscores the gravity of betraying one’s country and fellow service members. Lopez further underscored that this case serves as a stark reminder of adversaries’ persistent endeavors aimed at undermining the supremacy of the United States’ military apparatus.

The events leading to Pedicini’s conviction transpired between November 2022 and February 2023, during which he illicitly provided a foreign agent with access to classified defense-related materials. Pedicini’s actions were brought to light when he attempted to transmit photographs of his computer screen to a contact aboard the USS Higgins in May 2023, prompting his apprehension by NCIS personnel.

According to official records, Pedicini disclosed classified information on multiple occasions under the guise of aiding in research paper composition, although the precise identity of the foreign government and the nature of the shared information remain undisclosed.

Despite Pedicini’s noteworthy service tenure, which includes commendations such as three Good Conduct Medals and the National Defense Service Medal, he now faces the repercussions of his misconduct within the military justice system. His sentencing is slated for May 7, 2024.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Pedicini enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2008 subsequent to graduating from Chrest Presbyterian Academy. He served aboard other guided-missile destroyers, namely the USS McFaul and USS Curtis Wilbur, both stationed in Japan, before his assignment to the USS Higgins. Pedicini attained the rank of Chief Fire Controlman in August 2022.

The U.S. Navy’s charge sheet outlines 14 counts against Pedicini, encompassing charges of espionage, transfer of defense information, and failure to report foreign contacts or solicitations for sensitive information.

Despite inquiries by CNN to Pedicini’s legal representation via the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Office, no response has been forthcoming at the time of reporting.

Reference: NPR, CNN

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