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US Army intelligence officer who wanted to be like ‘Jason Bourne’ charged with selling secrets to China

Sergeant Korbein Shultz was arrested on Thursday 8 March 2024 after allegedly selling secrets to China (US Army/Department of Defense )
Sergeant Korbein Shultz was arrested on Thursday 8 March 2024 after allegedly selling secrets to China (US Army/Department of Defense )

An active-duty United States Army intelligence officer has been accused of selling sensitive information on Taiwan to China for around $42,000.

Korbein Schultz, 24, was arrested at Fort Campbell, on the Kentucky–Tennessee border, on Thursday.

The sergeant, from Wills Point in Texas, allegedly used his top secret security clearance to download classified government records, including maps, plans and notes, on national defence.

Announcing his indictment, the Department of Justice said Sgt Shultz worked with an individual known as “Conspirator A” from June 2022 until his arrest.

Conspirator A asked him to use his clearance to gather information on US weapons systems and the military’s plans should Taiwan come under military attack. One of the documents the sergeant sent was a manual on using intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"I will just keep sending you an abundance of information,” the sergeant told Conspirator A in a message on 26 August 2022, having just downloaded seven more documents.

The individual told Sgt Shultz that he lived in Hong Kong and worked for a geopolitical consulting firm. Much of the information sent was related to China, according to prosecutors.

Sgt Shultz, who told Conspirator A that he wanted to be like the fictional spy Jason Bourne, has now been charged with six counts including conspiracy and bribery, the DOJ said.

“Protecting national defence information is absolutely critical to our country’s safety and security,” US Attorney Henry Leventis for the Middle District of Tennessee said in a statement.

“The unauthorised sale of such information violates our national security laws, compromises our safety, and cannot be tolerated.”

Part of Sgt Shultz’s job was to instruct others on the proper handling of classified documents, say officials.

At the same time, the officer allegedly received at least 14 payments from the mystery person, who at one point told him he wanted to turn their relationship into “a long-term partnership”.

According to a US Army spokesperson, Sgt Shultz has received multiple awards, including the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.

“We cannot tolerate any betrayal of trust, and we remain vigilant in our mission to protect national defence information crucial to our security,” Brigadier General Rhett R Cox, Commanding General of the Army Counterintelligence Command said.

“We encourage all members of the Army team, past or present, to remain vigilant and report any potential suspicious activity."

Thursday’s announcement comes after a 22-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was jailed for 16 years after he leaked classified military documents to his friends online.

Also earlier this week, a former Air Force employee and retired Army lieutenant colonel pleaded not guilty to charges that he shared classified information about Russia’s war with Ukraine on a foreign dating site.