U.S. Army sergeant accused of exchanging sensitive military information with co-conspirator in Hong Kong

U.S. Army sergeant accused of exchanging sensitive military information with co-conspirator in Hong Kong

A U.S. Army sergeant and intelligence analyst was arrested Thursday on six charges related to a conspiracy in which he is accused of trading military secrets with a co-conspirator in Hong Kong in exchange for cash, officials said.

Korbein Schultz was arrested at Fort Campbell, Tennessee, following an indictment by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department said.

Schultz was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, exporting technical data related to defense articles without a license, conspiracy to export defense articles without a license and bribery of a public official, said Henry Leventis, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Schultz worked with a co-conspirator based in Hong Kong who said he worked for a “geopolitical consulting firm based overseas” to “disclose documents, writings, plans, maps, notes, and photographs relating to national defense as well as information relating to national defense which Schultz had reason to believe could be used to injure the United States or used to the advantage of a foreign nation.”

In exchange for his work, the co-conspirator paid Schultz about $42,000 over 14 payments, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Sgt. Korbein Schultz.181st Multifunctional Training BrigadeSchultz, who prosecutors said had a “Top Secret security clearance,” was recruited by the co-conspirator, who often asked Schultz for sensitive materials pertaining to the U.S. and its military, the U.S. attorney’s office alleged.

Specifically, the co-conspirator tasked Schultz with providing classified information about weapons systems and information regarding a U.S. response should China engage in a military attack against Taiwan — materials he had access to because of his security clearance, the prosecutor’s office said.

The information Schultz provided included “documents related to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), information on hypersonic equipment, studies on the future development of U.S. military forces, studies on major countries such as the People’s Republic of China, and summaries of military drills and operations,” the office said.

In addition, over the course of the nearly two-year alleged conspiracy, Schultz shared three documents that violated the Arms Export Control Act, including Air Force Tactics Techniques and Procedures manuals for the HH-60W helicopter, F22-A fighter aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles, prosecutors said.

Schultz is scheduled to make his first appearance in a central Tennessee court Friday, Leventis said.

“Protecting national defense information is absolutely critical to our country’s safety and security,” Leventis said. “The unauthorized sale of such information violates our national security laws, compromises our safety, and cannot be tolerated.”

It was not immediately clear whether an attorney had been assigned to represent Schultz. A representative at the public defender’s office in the Middle District of Tennessee said that she was unsure whether Schultz was represented by someone in the office and that it typically does not give out information about defendants.

In a statement Friday, Lt. Col. Tony Hoefler, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, confirmed Schultz’s current assignment with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and said they “have and will continue to cooperate with the US Attorney’s Office” in the case.

Schultz’s arrest follows several recent developments regarding military secrets.

A member of the Air Force was arrested Saturday and charged with illegally sending secret information about Russia’s war in Ukraine through a foreign dating website to a woman claiming to be in Ukraine.

And Monday, Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira pleaded guilty to leaking classified military documents about the war in Ukraine on Discord.

CORRECTION (March 8, 2024, 2:23 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when the investigation started. The alleged conspiracy started in June 2022, not the investigation.

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.  » …
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