U.S. Navy petty officer based in Japan charged with espionage

Washington — A Navy sailor who was based in Japan was charged by the U.S. military with espionage for allegedly giving classified information to an employee of a foreign government.

Bryce Pedicini, a chief petty officer fire controlman, is accused of providing documents to an employee of a foreign government at least seven times between November 2022 and February 2023 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, according to a charge sheet obtained by CBS News.

In May 2023, in Yokosuka Japan, he tried to pass photographs that showed the screen of a computer connected to the military's classified network.

Bryce Pedicini / Credit: U.S. Navy Photo
Bryce Pedicini / Credit: U.S. Navy Photo

He was providing the information "with reason to believe that it would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation," the charge sheet said, adding that it was "relating to the national defense." It's unclear what exact documents he passed or to what nation. Pedicini is also accused of failing to report a foreign contact and the solicitation of classified information by an unauthorized person.

The Navy confirmed Wednesday that a sailor assigned to Japan-based destroyer USS Higgins was under investigation and legal proceedings are underway.

"A sailor assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) is suspected of mishandling classified documents and information. The incident remains under investigation and legal proceedings continue," Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a spokesperson for U.S. Naval Surface Force, said in a statement.

Pedicini's service record from the U.S. Navy says he enlisted in 2009 and served on a number of destroyers. He was promoted to chief in 2022.

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