US Army analyst arrested for selling military secrets

Korbein Schultz, 24, allegedly received $42,000 for documents that included plans for Taiwan's defense.
By Alex Willemyns for RFA
2024.03.08
US Army analyst arrested for selling military secrets Sgt. Korbein Schultz, an Army intelligence analyst, discusses coordinating the support of linguists with Afghans at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 30, 2021.
Image from U.S. Army video

A U.S. Army intelligence analyst with “top secret” clearance was arrested on Thursday for allegedly sending troves of sensitive military planning documents related to China – including plans to defend Taiwan in case of an invasion – to a person in Hong Kong.

Korbein Schultz, 24, was arrested at Fort Campbell, a U.S. military installation on the border between Tennessee and Kentucky, and charged with bribery offenses and conspiracy to disclose national defense information, according to an unsealed indictment.

The indictment says that Schultz, a native of Willis Point, Texas, joined the Army in November 2018. In June 2022, it says, he began talking over an encrypted messaging app with a person who claimed to be a geopolitical risk analyst living and working in Hong Kong.

From that time on, according to a Justice Department statement, he provided the contact with “documents, writings, plans, maps, notes, and photographs relating to national defense” in exchange for bribes that totalled approximately US$42,000 across at least 14 payments.

The documents and photographs included information “Schultz had reason to believe could be used to injure the United States or used to the advantage of a foreign nation,” the statement alleges.

While the unsealed indictment does not specifically identify China as the “foreign nation” seeking the documents, the Justice Department statement notes that Schultz’s contact sought information including “studies on major countries such as the People’s Republic of China.”

The person also “tasked Schultz with gathering information related to a variety of U.S. military weapons systems, including classified information, and information related to the United States’ potential plans in the event that Taiwan came under military attack,” it says.

Latest arrest

At a press conference in Nashville, Tennessee, following Thursday’s arrest, Henry Leventis, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said that Schultz had put national security at risk.

“The unauthorized sale of such information violates our national security laws, compromises our safety, and cannot be tolerated,” Levantis said. “Today’s indictment should serve as a reminder of the Justice Department’s vigilance in protecting the United States against any threat to national security, foreign or domestic.”

ENG_CHN_ArmyAnalyst_03082024.2.jpg
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Henry C. Leventis, left, announces the arrest and indictment of Army intelligence analyst Korbein Schultz as FBI Special Agent Douglas DePodesta, center, and Special Agent Roy Cochran, senior counterintelligence executive with the U.S. Army, look on in Nashville, Tenn., on March 7, 2024. (George Walker IV/AP)

Matthew Olsen, assistant U.S. attorney general for national security affairs, said in a statement that Schultz had “plac[ed] personal profit above the security of the American people” by selling the secrets.

“Today’s arrest shows that such a betrayal does not pay,” Olsen said, adding that his team was committed to “holding accountable those who would break their oath to protect our nation’s secrets.”

Schultz is only the latest active duty or former member of the military to be arrested for allegedly selling classified information to China.

In August, a 22-year-old U.S. Navy sailor stationed on the USS Essex in San Diego, California, was arrested for allegedly providing a Chinese spy with technical manuals regarding the ship for $5,000.

A 29-year-old former soldier also with “top secret” clearance was arrested in San Francisco in October for actively seeking out Chinese intelligence services to attempt to provide them with information. 

In January, a 26-year-old Navy sailor was likewise jailed after pleading guilty to providing a Chinese spy with documents including “plans for a large-scale maritime training exercise in the Pacific theatre” in exchange for payments that totalled approximately $15,000.

Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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