WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three men were taken into custody by the FBI Wednesday after they were caught trespassing on the grounds of the Washington Navy Yard, authorities said. The men, all of whom were later identified as Chinese citizens, held diplomatic passports and were caught with audio and video recording equipment.
The FBI has yet to officially disclose the names of the suspects but an official with intimate knowledge of the investigation, who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, said one of the men, 42 year-old Shang Tsung, had been posing as a Rear Admiral with the U.S. Navy and had gained access to a highly secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility within the compound on more than twenty-five occasions since June.
“The individual was found to be in possession of multiple U.S. Navy uniforms as well as a Controlled Access Card and a suppressed firearm,” the official said. A civilian employee who works in the secure facility and wished to remain anonymous corroborated the account, saying Shang, who was known around the complex as “Rear Admiral Johnson,” had “entered the SCIF on a near-weekly basis to access hard drives and other sensitive information.”
All three of the alleged spies had been living on the grounds of the Navy Yard and sleeping in unsecured storage areas and server rooms since early June when they first infiltrated the complex. Authorities say the three Chinese men were granted access to the Navy Yard by gate security after they allegedly told officers they “were supposed to be there.”
The Washington Navy Yard has come under scrutiny in recent years for its lax security in the wake of a mass shooting on September 16th, 2013 that left thirteen people, including the gunman, dead. On July 2nd, 2015, the Navy Yard was placed on lockdown after emergency services received reports of gunfire on the premises. Federal authorities later gave an “all clear” after a search of the complex turned up nothing out of the ordinary.