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U.S. Army Sergeant Arrested for Alleged Conspiracy to Trade Military Secrets for Cash

A U.S. Army sergeant and intelligence analyst, Korbein Schultz, was arrested at Fort Campbell, Tennessee, on charges related to a conspiracy in which he is accused of trading military secrets with a co-conspirator in Hong Kong in exchange for cash. The arrest was announced by the Justice Department following an indictment by a federal grand jury.

Henry Leventis, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, stated that Schultz was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, exporting technical data related to defense articles without a license, conspiracy to export defense articles without a license, and bribery of a public official.

The U.S. attorney's office revealed that Schultz worked with a co-conspirator based in Hong Kong, who claimed to work for a "geopolitical consulting firm based overseas." Schultz allegedly disclosed documents, plans, maps, notes, and photographs relating to national defense, as well as information that he had reason to believe could be used to injure the United States or benefit a foreign nation. In exchange for his services, Schultz received approximately $42,000 over 14 payments. According to the prosecutor's office, Schultz, who had a "Top Secret security clearance," was recruited by the co-conspirator and asked to provide sensitive materials pertaining to the U.S. and its military. Specifically, the co-conspirator tasked Schultz with providing classified information about weapons systems and the U.S. response to a potential military attack by China against Taiwan.

The information provided by Schultz included documents related to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), information on hypersonic equipment, studies on the future development of U.S. military forces, studies on major countries such as the People's Republic of China, and summaries of military drills and operations. Schultz also shared three documents that violated the Arms Export Control Act, including manuals for the HH-60W helicopter, F22-A fighter aircraft, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"Protecting national defense information is absolutely critical to our country’s safety and security," said Leventis. "The unauthorized sale of such information violates our national security laws, compromises our safety, and cannot be tolerated."

Schultz is scheduled to make his first appearance in a central Tennessee court. It was not immediately clear whether an attorney had been assigned to represent him.

Lt. Col. Tony Hoefler, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, confirmed Schultz's current assignment with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and stated that they "have and will continue to cooperate with the US Attorney's Office" in the case.

The arrest of Schultz follows several recent developments regarding military secrets, including the arrest of an Air Force member for illegally sending secret information about Russia’s war in Ukraine through a foreign dating website and the guilty plea of a Massachusetts Air National Guard member for leaking classified military documents about the war in Ukraine on Discord.

Lynsey Wolf, Lead Investigator at DTEX, commented on the case, saying, "In the case of Korbein Schultz, this is an insider that has allegedly been disclosing sensitive materials, including plans, maps, notes, and photographs relating to national defense, for nearly two years. These are actions that should have raised red flags. They almost certainly did, but it can be challenging for government agencies to know what those flags are before it’s too late. In the case of data exfiltration with disgruntled employees, the goal should always be to identify anomalous behavior in order to intercede 'left of boom,' or before the data is transmitted. In order to identify potentially disgruntled employees at risk of this type of malicious behavior, it is important to focus on privilege escalation and anomalous access to systems. Understanding the context of when, why, where, and how employees interact with data, machines, applications, and peers as they perform their job responsibilities can provide critical insights into the varying behaviors, activities, and indicators driving organizational threats.”

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