Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao Pleads Guilty to Transmitting Sensitive U.S. Military Information to Chinese Intelligence
Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, also known as Thomas Zhao, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for bribing a PRC intelligence officer to reveal sensitive U.S. military information. Monterey Park’s 26-year-old pleaded guilty to plotting with the intelligence officer and taking a bribe.
Department of Justice strongly condemns Mr. Zhao’s behavior. Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said, “Mr. Zhao violated his oath to defend the nation and endangered U.S. soldiers. For those offenses, he is being tried today.” The Justice Department has spoken out against China’s national security threats.
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Martin Estrada said, “Zhao betrayed his country and degraded himself by accepting payments from a PRC intelligence officer. He was discharged and will serve time in federal prison.” This quick action warns that national security threats will be found and punished.
Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI stated, “Make no mistake, the PRC is engaged in an aggressive effort to undermine the national security of the U.S. and its partners.” Recalling Zhao’s betrayal as a direct threat to others, such activities will not be permitted. This sentence shows the implications of undermining national security.
Zhao’s betrayal has serious implications. The sentencing emphasizes the importance of national security and the determination to punish those who break it.