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US Army soldier indicted and accused of selling sensitive military information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An Army soldier has been arrested on accusations of selling sensitive information related to U.S. military capabilities, Justice Department officials said Thursday.

Sgt. Korbein Schultz, who is also an intelligence analyst, was accused in a six-count indictment of charges including conspiring to obtain and disclose military defense information and bribery of a public official. The 24-year-old was arrested at Fort Campbell, which straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky border, shortly after the indictment was released Thursday.

“The men and women of the United States Armed Forces dedicate their lives to maintain our national security,” Henry C. Leventis, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, told reporters. “Our laws protecting national defense information are critical to that mission, and they must be enforced. Illegal dissemination of national defense information puts our country, our fellow citizens, members of our military and our allies at risk.”

The indictment alleges Schultz — who had a top-secret security clearance — conspired with an individual identified only as “Conspirator A” to disclose various documents, photographs and other national defense materials since June 2022. The indictment claims that Schultz was recruited by the individual not only due to his security clearance but also because he was tasked with gathering sensitive U.S. military information.

Some of the information that Schultz supposedly gave to the individual included information related to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, hypersonic equipment, studies on future developments of U.S. military forces and studies on military drills and operations in major countries like China.

The indictment outlines that Schultz was initially asked to provide documents detailing lessons that could be learned from Russia's war with Ukraine and how those lessons could be applied to the U.S. helping Taiwan in the event of an attack. Schultz was paid $200 for that information, which then prompted Conspirator A, to ask for a "long-term partnership."

Conspirator A, who was described in the indictment as a foreign national purporting to reside in Hong Kong, later suggested that Schultz could earn more money if he handed over “internal only” material rather than unclassified documents.

In total, Shultz received at least 14 payments totaling $42,000.

“The defendant and his co-conspirator also discussed recruiting another member of the U.S. military to join their conspiracy and to provide additional national defense information in order to conceal their illegal conduct,” Leventis said.

Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ruth Castro said in a statement that Schultz has been in the Army since November 2018 and his hometown is Wills Point, Texas.

Schultz was previously assigned to Fort Cavazos, Texas, and was deployed once to Eastern Europe, according to Lt. Col. Tony Hoefler, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell.

The case is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions of current or former military members accused of illegally disclosing sensitive government secrets.

For instance in April 2023, Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira was charged with leaking highly classified military documents about Russia’s war in Ukraine on Discord, a social media platform popular with people playing online games. He pleaded guilty on Monday in a deal with prosecutors that calls for him to serve at least 11 years in prison.

In August, two U.S. Navy sailors were charged with providing sensitive military information to China — including details on wartime exercises, naval operations and critical technical material.

And more recently, the Justice Department announced charges this week against a civilian Air Force employee and retired Army lieutenant colonel for allegedly sharing classified information about the war in with Ukraine on a foreign dating site.

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Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.