The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently indicted a former U.S. sergeant for reportedly trying to provide China with classified information.
Joseph Daniel Schmidt, 29, was recently arrested and charged with retention of national defense information and attempting to transmit national defense information over his alleged efforts to provide China with key defense information through email.
Former U.S. Army Sergeant, Joseph Daniel Schmidt, whose last duty post was Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in western Washington was arrested today on an indictment charging him w trying to pass national defense info to China pic.twitter.com/TWykheCcof
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) October 6, 2023
One America News (OAN) reported that Schmidt served in the 109th Military Intelligence Battalion for five years and, because of his job, had access to top-secret information.
Upon leaving the military, Schmidt allegedly contacted the Chinese Consulate in Turkey, offering them U.S. defense information, per OAN.
Court records show that in Schmidt’s email to the Chinese Consulate in Turkey, the former U.S. sergeant indicates that he has a top-secret U.S. government security clearance along with his experience in surveillance detection and operating spies. He then allegedly offers to share his knowledge with the Chinese leadership before requesting a face-to-face meeting.
Investigators later obtained Schmidt’s Apple iCloud account, where they found a Word document that he allegedly wrote two days after sending his email to the Chinese Consulate in Turkey. The document titled “Important Information to Share with the Chinese Government” is said to have contained sensitive material surrounding the U.S. military.
Prosecutors said that in 2020, Schmidt flew to Hong Kong shortly after leaving the military. Upon arriving, he had in his possession a device that allowed him to access U.S. military networks and provide them to Chinese authorities.
The former sergeant was then arrested as he tried to fly back to San Francisco from Hong Kong, according to OAN.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington recently said that Schmidt committed alleged actions to “betray our country.”
“Members of our military take a sworn oath to defend our country and the Constitution. In that context the alleged actions of this former military member are shocking – not only attempting to provide national defense information, but also information that would assist a foreign adversary to gain access to Department of Defense secure computer networks,” Gorman said.
“I commend the FBI for their diligent work to end his alleged efforts to betray our country,” Gorman added.