Ex-Soldier Arrested On Charges Of Sharing Classified Information With China

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley has faced criticism from former President Donald Trump and others over reports that he improperly shared U.S. military intelligence with Chinese officials.

While Milley has attempted to defend his actions, another troubling report has emerged from within the ranks of the U.S. military regarding the dissemination of classified information to China.

The Department of Justice recently indicted 29-year-old former Army Sgt. Joseph Daniel Schmidt on charges related to retaining and attempting to transmit national defense information to China via email. He was arrested on Friday.

According to the charges against him, Schmidt allegedly accessed top-secret military data during the five years he spent in the 109th Military Intelligence Battalion.

Prosecutors say that after leaving his final post at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, he sent an email to China’s consulate in Turkey and indicated a willingness to provide classified information he obtained during his military service.

The indictment lays out Schmidt’s alleged plot, including a request to meet with Chinese officials in person. He reportedly traveled to Hong Kong a short time after his military career ended, where he allegedly continued tapping into sensitive military data in an effort to share it with China.

Evidence provided in the court documents includes computer files such as a document he titled “Important Information to Share with the Chinese Government.” That Word document allegedly contained classified information and was created two days after he sent the email.

“Members of our military take a sworn oath to defend our country and the Constitution,” asserted acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Tessa M. Gorman in a statement announcing the arrest.

She went on to accuse him of plotting to “betray our country,” adding that his “shocking” behavior involved “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.”

Schmidt was on his way to San Francisco, California, from Hong Kong when he was detained by authorities.

Gorman expressed gratitude for the “diligent work” thus far. The case is still under investigation by the bureau and the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Command.

If convicted, Schmidt could be fined $250,000 and face a sentence of 10 years for each of the counts against him.