NORFOLK, Va. -- When federal agents stopped Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin in the Honolulu airport on Sept. 11, 2015, he was about to board a plane to China to meet a woman with whom he had been communicating online since April.
But Lin, 40, who held a top secret security clearance and was assigned to a secretive Hawaii-based patrol squadron at the time, had lied to the Navyabout where he was going. Instead, he had told his command he planned to spend 10 days in Alexandria -- where he had previously lived while assigned as a staff aide to an assistant secretary of the Navy -- because telling his leadership he was going to Virginia rather than the communist adversary required a less rigorous approval process.
That wasn't the naval flight officer's first misstep, but it was one of many detailed Thursday during a daylong court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk as Lin -- who immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan in 1994 and who joined the Navy in 1999 -- pleaded guilty to charges that cast him less like a government spy and more as an officer with a number of foreign friends whose career derailed under his own recklessness and arrogance.