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Petty officer held in secret for 4 months
The Virginian-Pilot ^ | August 4, 2006 | TIM MCGLONE

Posted on 08/04/2006 7:04:47 AM PDT by US admirer

NORFOLK — A petty officer has been in the Norfolk Naval Station brig for more than four months facing espionage, desertion and other charges, but the Navy has refused to release details of the case.

The case against Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann is indicative of the secrecy surrounding the Navy military court here, where public affairs and trial court officials have denied access to basic information including the court docket – a listing of cases to be heard.

After months of requests, the Navy this week provided The Virginian-Pilot with Weinmann’s name, rank and the charges he faces.

In an e-mail, Theodore Brown, a spokesman for Fleet Forces Command, said, “It is sometimes a challenge to balance the desires of the media, the public’s right to know, and the rights of an individual accused of a crime.”

“In this case,” he concluded, the command “is attempting to provide as much unclassified information as is reasonable, while maintaining an appropriate concern for the privacy of the individual involved. ”

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

The Navy’s position was challenged by military legal affairs experts and First Amendment advocates who say the nation’s courts, whether civilian or military, historically have been open to the press and public.

A docket listing Weinmann’s preliminary hearing, called an Article 32, was never produced. The Navy would not disclose when the hearing was held.

“That’s hogwash,” said Eugene R. Fidell, president of The National Institute of Military Justice and a Washington lawyer .

“I know of no authority to keep the proceeding closed,” he said. “I’ve never seen an Article 32 classified.”

The command’s e-mail to The Pilot this week said that Weinmann was arrested at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on March 26 after he had been listed as a deserter. Fleet Forces officials refused to release the so-called charge sheet, which would detail the accusations against the sailor.

Weinmann had been serving aboard the submarine Albuquerque until he deserted in July 2005, according to Brown. Weinmann enlisted in July 2003, he said.

The enlisted man could face a court-martial. An investigative officer who presided over the Article 32 is expected to release a report to Weinmann’s command in the coming weeks. Besides espionage and desertion, Weinmann is charged with failure to obey an order and acts prejudicial to good order and discipline, according to Brown.

Espionage is defined, in part, by the Uniform Code of Military Justice as the communication to a foreign government of any information relating to U.S. national defense. It carries a maximum punishment of death.

Military defense lawyers say secret military hearings and the refusal to release basic charge information have become more common since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Court precedents and federal laws have established the right of public access to court-martial proceedings, including Article 32 hearings, the lawyers and First Amendment advocates say.

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals said in a 1997 case involving an attempt to close a criminal proceeding, “We believe that public confidence in matters of military justice would quickly erode if courts-martial were arbitrarily closed to the public.”

The court said the public and the media have a right to attend military court proceedings, “absent extraordinary circumstances.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that the closure of a court proceeding or the sealing of any criminal case must be decided by a judge on a case-by-case basis.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, said that, even in military courts, an order must be issued closing or sealing a case.

Brown acknowledged Thursday that “there is no order,” but said that the charge sheet in the Weinmann case would not be released.

Dalglish and others said protecting someone’s privacy has never been a legally acceptable reason to exclude the public from a court proceeding or to withhold the identity of someone who’s been in custody for four months.

“We don’t lock up people in this country secretly,” Dalglish said. “Personal embarrassment has never been found to be a justification for closing a proceeding.”

Other than the Weinmann case, Norfolk Naval Station has refused to provide The Pilot with copies of the military court docket since at least November. The docket lists cases heard in military court each day. In March, The Pilot filed a Freedom of Information request for the past year’s dockets but has received no written response.

Beth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region, has said that computer problems have made it difficult for the Trial Services Office at Norfolk Naval Station to generate a docket.

In two e-mails sent to The Pilot in January and February, Baker said the dockets should be available “soon.”

“The docket for the Trial Service Office has been transferred to a new system that is not user friendly to us at all,” Baker told The Pilot in a March e-mail.

More recent requests for the docket went unanswered.

Some military courts, including Marine Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, Calif., post their court dockets on a Web site.

The National Institute of Military Justice has begun a project to collect military court dockets and post them on its own Web site. Fidell, of the institute, said law students hope to begin pos ting them by the end of the summer.

“Why this continues to be an issue in 2006 is beyond me,” Fidell said.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: deserter; espionage; govwatch; norfolk; spy; usn; weinmann
... wonder who he was spying for....????
1 posted on 08/04/2006 7:04:48 AM PDT by US admirer
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To: US admirer

If even the Article 32 wwas classified, this guy must've had some access to top top secret stuff...


2 posted on 08/04/2006 7:06:57 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: US admirer

I don't like the submarine connection.


3 posted on 08/04/2006 7:08:21 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Pan_Yan; Excuse_My_Bellicosity

submarine ping


4 posted on 08/04/2006 7:10:53 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny. "--Aeschylus)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

"I don't like the submarine connection."

Nosir! Who would be interested in Fire Control? Chinese? Russians?


5 posted on 08/04/2006 7:11:08 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: US admirer

Possibly another Pollock case?


6 posted on 08/04/2006 7:11:57 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (NYT Headline: 'Protocols of the Learned Elders of CBS: Fake But Accurate, Experts Say.')
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To: theDentist

He was only in the military for two years, it was highly unlikely he knew anything THAT classified. This is just odd.


7 posted on 08/04/2006 7:12:33 AM PDT by tioga
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To: tioga

'twould be interesting to know how many tours he'd been on during the two years.


8 posted on 08/04/2006 7:19:10 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: US admirer

They don't call it the silent service for nothing. This is how they should've handled Wen Ho Lee and every other scumbag spy. These public trials in civilian courts are total BS.


9 posted on 08/04/2006 7:19:35 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity ("Sharpei diem - Seize the wrinkled dog.")
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
If it is there should be hell to pay. Israel promised not to be "bad" anymore by spying on its only dependable friend and benefactor in the world. If it is behind this there will be immense political damage for another backstabbing.
10 posted on 08/04/2006 7:20:11 AM PDT by US admirer
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To: dljordan

I'll bet the Israelis.


11 posted on 08/04/2006 7:20:49 AM PDT by Al Gator (Refusing to "stoop to your enemy's level", gets you cut off at the knees.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

-how much time does basic training take before he even gets to go on a tour?


12 posted on 08/04/2006 7:21:26 AM PDT by tioga
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity

But Wen Ho Lee wasn't a spy. Clinton just used him as a scapegoat for their lax oversight at Los Alamos.


13 posted on 08/04/2006 7:23:48 AM PDT by aynrandfreak (The Left hates America)
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To: tioga

was never in sub service. I'm sure there are a few on this page who can say.


14 posted on 08/04/2006 7:24:28 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Al Gator

"I'll bet the Israelis."

Distinct possibility but I didn't want to say it.


15 posted on 08/04/2006 7:24:41 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: tioga
He was only in the military for two years, it was highly unlikely he knew anything THAT classified.

In my first year in the Navy I went through boot camp, 'A' school, sub school and was assigned to a nuke fast attack boat.

By the end of my second year I was qualified in submarines which means I had studied and been tested on evey system on the boat.

This is in addition to my own responsibilities which I knew intimately and at great length by then.

This guy could do real damage with what he knows and if guilty should be fried, in my opinion.

16 posted on 08/04/2006 7:28:06 AM PDT by GOPBiker (Thank a veteran, with a smile, every chance you get. You do more good than you can know.)
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To: tioga

very odd. we'll read more soon enough


17 posted on 08/04/2006 7:28:46 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: dljordan

Why would Israel care about our subs. Much, much more likley to be Chinese.


18 posted on 08/04/2006 7:29:16 AM PDT by tdewey10 (It's time for the party to return to the principles of President Reagan.)
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To: dljordan
Nosir! Who would be interested in Fire Control? Chinese? Russians?

It would not be limited to fire control. If he was submarine qualified (earned his dolphins) he is qualified for every position aboard the boat.
19 posted on 08/04/2006 7:33:36 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: tdewey10
Its not the subs. His is a "fire control" technician.

Sub launched vehicles are an interest to EVERYBODY.

The Israelis have a VERY ACTIVE espionage program that includes the US.

Remember Pollard?
20 posted on 08/04/2006 7:33:52 AM PDT by Al Gator (Refusing to "stoop to your enemy's level", gets you cut off at the knees.)
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To: tdewey10

"Why would Israel care about our subs. Much, much more likley to be Chinese."

I agree but the Iraelis have subs too or they can sell the intelligence.


21 posted on 08/04/2006 7:34:10 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: US admirer


Just think: if this guy was a brown skinned, Muslim member of the Taliban the ACLU would be all over this....


22 posted on 08/04/2006 7:34:31 AM PDT by Tzimisce (How Would Mohammed Vote? Hillary for President! www.dndorks.com)
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To: GOPBiker

Wow.


23 posted on 08/04/2006 7:34:34 AM PDT by tioga
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To: US admirer
Uh, if someone deserts the military routinely does NOT expend a lot of resources finding them. Usually deserters are picked up on other warrants by local police and then they are ultimately turned over to the military for prosecution of desertion. This article notes that military officials caught him in the DFW airport, which sounds to me like they were tracking him closely. I suspect there is some sort of espionage involved here.
24 posted on 08/04/2006 7:35:29 AM PDT by Obadiah
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To: R. Scott

" It would not be limited to fire control. If he was submarine qualified (earned his dolphins) he is qualified for every position aboard the boat."

Ouch! The Bubbleheads are going to want this guys hide.


25 posted on 08/04/2006 7:39:47 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: ASA Vet; BIGLOOK; US admirer

"Weinmann had been serving aboard the submarine Albuquerque until he deserted in July 2005, according to Brown. Weinmann enlisted in July 2003, he said.

The enlisted man could face a court-martial. An investigative officer who presided over the Article 32 is expected to release a report to Weinmann’s command in the coming weeks. Besides espionage and desertion, Weinmann is charged with failure to obey an order and acts prejudicial to good order and discipline, according to Brown.

Espionage is defined, in part, by the Uniform Code of Military Justice as the communication to a foreign government of any information relating to U.S. national defense. It carries a maximum punishment of death."


26 posted on 08/04/2006 7:40:27 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist Homosexual Lunatic wet dreams posing as journalism)
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To: dljordan

Yep. If guilty he will get no sympathy from them - or me.


27 posted on 08/04/2006 7:43:09 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: aynrandfreak

Sure. It's public record that he took home tapes with top secret nuclear weapons info. Part of his plea bargain was that he return them, but he only returned half. Wonder where the others went? Those trips to China to meet with govt. officials didn't mean a thing, either.


28 posted on 08/04/2006 7:44:58 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity ("Sharpei diem - Seize the wrinkled dog.")
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To: tioga

Good question. Boot camp, "A" school, Nuke school and I'm sure at least one other school. What could he have known in two years?


29 posted on 08/04/2006 7:45:42 AM PDT by em2vn
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To: Al Gator

In all honesty I wish Israel had all of our military secrets, that is as long as they can keep them secret from the rest of the world


30 posted on 08/04/2006 7:45:59 AM PDT by Luigi Vasellini (What do you call 2 toddlers and some duct tape??........muslim body armor!!!!!!!)
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To: US admirer

That's what he gets for being so petty...


31 posted on 08/04/2006 7:48:14 AM PDT by LIConFem (It is by will alone I set my mind in motion...)
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To: US admirer
This is WWIII and the Navy does not owe the Pilot one word about one of their own.

I am getting a little tired of the publics right to know.
32 posted on 08/04/2006 7:48:32 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ("Over there, over there, We won't be back 'til it's over Over there.")
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To: mariabush

Ummm......

Stalin and Mao had a problem with "The public's right to know", too.

Whatever war we are in, everybody suffers when secrecy is abused. And because the abuse is secret, nobody knows that abuse has occured. Kind of a vicious cycle, Nes' Pah?

In this countr, the accused still has rights.


33 posted on 08/04/2006 8:15:53 AM PDT by Mr. Quarterpanel (I am not an actor, but I play one on TV)
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To: dljordan

Maybe thats why its being kept under wraps?


34 posted on 08/04/2006 8:24:22 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

You mean Pollard?


35 posted on 08/04/2006 8:26:33 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: US admirer
Lt. Hugh Mann
36 posted on 08/04/2006 8:30:28 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: Luigi Vasellini

So did John Pollard, buddy... but the government thinks otherwise, and rightly so.


37 posted on 08/04/2006 8:31:36 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: Mr. Quarterpanel
And the military is still entitled to secrets.

My husband is former counterintel and he says that there are a lot of things that the country as a whole just are better off not knowing.
38 posted on 08/04/2006 8:33:05 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ("Over there, over there, We won't be back 'til it's over Over there.")
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To: All
If it was classified, how would you see it, or even know about it... ;>)

“I’ve never seen an Article 32 classified.”

39 posted on 08/04/2006 8:34:42 AM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Sophomore dies in kiln explosion? Oh My God! I just talked to her last week...)
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To: tioga

Basic training, 2 to 3 mos., Basic electronics school 3 months, basic enlisted sub school 2 months, Fire control (submarine) "A" shcool, 4 months, Fire control "C" shcool, 4 to 6 months; initial gold or blue crew workup 1 to 3 months. totals 16 to 20 months.Probably his first experience at sea indicating a self initiated operation and likely Israeli contact by him.

This also indicates that the USN should pay more attention to its screening process these days. Weed these morons out along the way.


40 posted on 08/04/2006 8:47:05 AM PDT by ping jockey (radical islam; the great evil of all times.)
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To: mariabush

I am grateful to your husband for his service. I agree with his sentiment.

You are correct, secrets should be kept. What I was responding to is that once this Petty Officer is arrested, this becomes a matter for the courts, and the veil comes off. Methods and practices can be protected, but not court docket entries, charges, hearings, and general court proceedings.

The US has been quite successful prosecuting spies without giving up secrets. This case is no different. Hiding the sailor's charges and identity only makes the whole thing look shady.


41 posted on 08/04/2006 9:56:24 AM PDT by Mr. Quarterpanel (I am not an actor, but I play one on TV)
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To: dljordan

Maby the UK???


42 posted on 08/04/2006 11:34:06 AM PDT by Thunder90
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To: Thunder90
Maby the UK???

That's very doubtful. The US shares more submarine technology with the UK (and vice versa) than any other country. Might be the only country in the world I would rule out immediately. Based on the guy's name, Israel seems the most likely, but you never know. Could just be a mercenary deal. Russia, France, China, and Brazil also have a history of poking into submarine work.

43 posted on 08/04/2006 3:30:56 PM PDT by Phocion ("Protection" really means exploiting the consumer. - Milton Friedman)
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To: Phocion

Very strange. I hope it's not Israel, but they do have a bad track record for this. On the other hand, as you say, it could be simply a mercenary. Not that that's a comforting thought!


44 posted on 08/04/2006 6:14:13 PM PDT by livius
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