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US sailor sentenced to three years after plotting to leak Navy documents to Russia

Stephen Kellogg III, who wanted to publish a paper on waste in the military, was in contact with Russia’s largest shipbuilding company

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SAN DIEGO – US sailor pleaded guilty to two counts of espionage and sentenced to three years after admitting to taking classified information about Navy nuclear-powered warships and planning to give it to a reporter then join Russia, officials said on Friday.

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US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Kellogg III wanted to publish a briefing on waste in the military and admitted he wanted to share the information with the Russians, Naval Jeff Houston said. Criminal Investigative Service in an email to The Associated Press.

According to Navy court documents, Kellogg, 26, was in contact with Sevmash, Russia’s largest shipbuilding company. He admitted that he knew that disclosure of the information could degrade the capability of nuclear-powered warships and therefore cause injury to the United States.

Neither Kellogg nor his lawyers could be immediately reached for comment.

Authorities learned of his plans after he arrested Kellogg on August 27 for disorderly driving while intoxicated at the San Diego airport, where he was prevented by a Delta Airlines employee from boarding a flight to his destination. of New York because he was belligerent, according to court documents.

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He had purchased a one-way ticket and was planning to meet a friend from high school who is a reporter who lives in New York City and who told the person he had a great story, according to investigators and court documents.

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Kellogg knew that if the information became public, potential adversaries would likely know the capabilities and limitations of the United States’ nuclear-powered warships, according to his pre-trial agreement.

Kellogg, who joined the Navy in 2014, was a journeyman nuclear electrician with access to classified information relating to the capabilities, operations and maintenance of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion systems. He served aboard the USS Carl Vinson from 2016 to 2018.

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“The attempts by this sailor to divulge classified information about the Navy’s nuclear propulsion have posed a significant threat to national security and endangered the lives of the United States military,” FBI Special Agent Garrett Waugh said in a statement.

Authorities said Kellogg also admitted to photographing areas with sensitive information about the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program on the ship and then sending the photos to his father and ex-girlfriend.

He told authorities he was storing classified information in his bunk, violating protocol, according to the FBI.

He will receive a dishonorable discharge and demotion, authorities said.

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