Sailor Pleads Guilty to Espionage

Sailor Pleads Guilty to Espionage
Sailor Pleads Guilty to Espionage 

The Associated Press
December 4, 2006

NORFOLK, Va. -- A sailor accused of stealing a Navy laptop and peddling 
its classified contents to an undisclosed foreign government pleaded 
guilty Monday to espionage, desertion and other charges.

If convicted, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann, 22, of Salem, 
Ore., could face a sentence of life in prison without parole, a 
dishonorable discharge from the Navy and forfeiture of all pay.

Under the plea agreement, Weinmann pleaded guilty to one count each of 
espionage, desertion, failing to properly safeguard and store classified 
information, electronically copying classified information, 
communicating classified information to a person not entitled to receive 
it, and stealing and destroying a government computer.

Weinmann pleaded guilty to trying to transmit classified information 
related to national defense to a representative of a foreign government 
on Oct. 19, 2005, while he was in or near Vienna, Austria.

He pleaded not guilty to two additional espionage counts, one accusing 
him of giving classified information to an agent of a foreign government 
in March 2005 in Bahrain and another accusing him of trying to deliver 
confidential information on March 19, 2006, in Mexico City.

Weinmann told the judge that he deserted the Navy in July 2005 because 
the service did not meet his expectations.

"I had a very idealized view, basically what amounted to a World War II 
Navy," Weinmann told the judge.

Court adjourned Monday with the judge yet to accept the plea. Attorneys 
need to iron out details in the agreement regarding Weinmann's 
cooperation with investigators after trial.

Weinmann, a fire control technician, had been stationed on the 
Connecticut-based submarine USS Albuquerque.

He said he did not report for duty aboard his submarine on July 3, 2005. 
He moved to Austria and never planned to come back to the United States, 
but changed his mind and was arrested in March at Dallas-Fort Worth 
International Airport.

Weinmann told the judge he believed his actions could hurt national 

"I believe if it fell into the wrong hand, sir, the information could be 
detrimental to the United States," Weinmann said.

He said he made copies of classified material on a laptop computer, 
which he took with him to Austria. He said that he printed one document 
and copied other information onto CDs and that he had unclassified, 
classified and secret information sitting on a table in his apartment in 

The military has not said what it believes Weinmann might have sought in 
exchange for the information.

Weinmann's most recent duty station was at the Submarine Support 
Squadron, based in Norfolk.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press

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