U.S. Sailor Charged with Espionage: Allegations of Classified Information Transfer to Foreign National Surface
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Chief Petty Officer Bryce Steven Pedicini, a fire control man aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, faces charges of espionage and communicating classified information to an unidentified foreign national.

A U.S. sailor stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, finds himself at the center of a national security controversy as he stands accused of engaging in espionage and sharing classified information with a foreign national. Chief Petty Officer Bryce Steven Pedicini, assigned as a fire control man aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, allegedly transmitted classified national defense information multiple times between November 2022 and February 2023.

According to a charge sheet obtained by Stars and Stripes, Pedicini, hailing from Tennessee, is suspected of mishandling classified documents and information. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a spokesman for Naval Surface Forces Pacific, stated that Pedicini is accused of handing over classified documents to a foreign national on at least seven occasions. The alleged incidents occurred both at Hampton Roads, Va., and Yokosuka Naval Base in May.

Attempted Espionage and Violations of Orders

The charge sheet outlines seven specific allegations of espionage and one of attempted espionage. Additionally, Pedicini faces seven charges related to communicating defense information, two for failure to obey a lawful order, and two for violating a lawful general order. The Navy contends that Pedicini had reason to believe that the classified documents provided to the foreign national “would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.”

In a serious breach, authorities assert that Pedicini attempted to pass on photographs of a computer screen linked to the Defense Department’s network, used for transmitting classified information. The charge sheet identifies the intended recipient as a “citizen and employee of a foreign government.”

Pre-trial Confinement and Legal Proceedings

Pedicini has been in pre-trial confinement since May 19, and as of Wednesday, he remains confined in San Diego. The case was referred for a general court-martial on Jan. 18 under the authority of Naval Surface Forces Pacific. Ongoing legal proceedings continue, with a motion hearing for Pedicini scheduled in San Diego.

As a fire control man, Pedicini’s responsibilities spanned a wide array of advanced naval systems, including radars, fire control systems, and computer systems, notably working with the Navy’s advanced missile system, Aegis. He enlisted in January 2008 and served aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur and USS McFaul.

Pedicini’s awards and decorations include three Good Conduct Medals, two Navy “E” Ribbons, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin. The serious charges against him highlight the potential national security risks associated with espionage within the U.S. military, particularly in sensitive roles aboard advanced naval vessels.

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