JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former FBI agent said damage done by Navy Lt. Fan Yang, who is now facing multiple federal charges, represents a grave threat to all three area military bases and the entire country's national security.
Yang and his wife were arrested last week after their San Jose home was raided by federal agents on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, making false statements to investigators and illegally possessing a firearm. In U.S. District court in Jacksonville on Thursday, they were denied bond.
Yang was not just any defendant going before a federal judge, but a man described as a brilliant engineer who was trained by the U.S. Navy on our most complex wartime weapons and how we spot our enemies.
Yang was not just any defendant going before a federal judge but described as a brilliant engineer who was trained by the US Navy on our most complex wartime weapons and how we spot our enemies.
The I-Team is learning that this case of deception could be even bigger than the public realizes.
Toni Chrabot, a former FBI supervisor who now runs the security firm The Risk Confidence Group said Yang's knowledge could have also compromised our assets overseas.
"This is someone that we trained, someone who has access to some of the most sensitive information," Chrabot said. "This is not a case that started yesterday. I think there is a lot more information known."
Court records show that the FBI was interviewing confidential witnesses linked to the case for over a year. We also know that in January 2019, Yang told the Navy he had been contacted by a Chinese national who made a business proposition, but he denied the offer. We now know that was a lie.
This was something that the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service probably already knew that because they were already watching him.
The government also knows that Yang and his wife helped get two hard drives to China. It's not clear if our government knows what those files contained.
Several computers and hard drives were seized in the raid on their home last week. There is no doubt those are being combed for evidence.
Court documents said Yang, who came to the United States in 1999 and became a citizen in 2006, was actively serving at NAS Jacksonville in a "sensitive anti-submarine warfare unit."
What is not yet known is Yang's motivation to help the government of his former homeland.
"What I learned in my 25 years with the FBI is ... almost everything is about money," Chrabot said.
But even with the $200,000 in cash the government says the couple collected, was there a more sinister plot to spy on the United State and take the very information this nation taught Yang and use it against us?
Ge Song Tao and Zheng Yan, two Chinese nationals arrested this week in Louisiana in connection with the Yangs' case, are expected to be transferred to Florida. They are no longer listed in the Lafayette Parish jail.