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Chief Petty Officer Gets 18 Years for Betraying U.S. Navy Secrets


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A former U.S. Navy chief petty officer has been court-martialed and sentenced to 18 years in a military prison for attempted espionage and violating orders, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). It is the latest in a series of high-profile spying cases involving Navy personnel, and by far the most serious prison sentence. 

In January, Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Bryce Steven Pedicini was charged with multiple counts of attempted espionage for mishandling or disclosing classified information. 

Pedicini was a former destroyer crewmember who worked on the Aegis combat system, the Navy’s premier integrated radar and weapons control platform. The technology is closely held, and shared only with America’s closest military allies. Top-end Aegis variants can target ballistic missiles in mid-flight, and in his LinkedIn biography, Pedicini described himself as a “ballistic missile computer technician.”

In 2022, while assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMAC) in Norfolk, Pedicini allegedly passed classified documents to an “employee and national of a foreign government” seven times, operating under the pretense of writing “research papers” for a private party. According to NCIS, a “research paper” consulting request is a tactic used often by America’s foreign adversaries to pay servicemembers to give up classified national defense information.  

In 2023, while assigned to the destroyer USS Higgins at Yokosuka, Pedicini allegedly entered a secure information room aboard a Navy barge with a personal electronic device. He then allegedly tried to transfer photographs of a high-security computer screen to a foreign government employee. 

Pedicini was arrested shortly after this event and court-martialed in January 2024. Last month, he was convicted of charges under Article 103a (Attempted Espionage), Article 92 (Failure to Obey a General Order), and Article 80 (Attempted Violation of a General Order). He has now been sentenced to 18 years in prison, plus a dishonorable discharge and reduction in rank to E-1. 

“This sentence holds Mr. Pedicini to account for his betrayal of his country and fellow service members,” said NCIS Director Omar Lopez in a statement. “The criminal act by this lone individual should not diminish the incredible sacrifices made by our service members and their families on a daily basis to protect our nation.”

A fourth charge (communication of defense information) is still subject to an appeal, but NCIS does not expect the outcome to affect Pedicini’s sentence.

Source: Maritime-Executive


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