US Government Seeks Extradition of Veteran Who Helped China

US Government Seeks Extradition of Veteran Who Helped China

( – The US government is negotiating with Australia for the extradition of a former US Marine Corps aviator. Prosecutors say the pilot helped train Chinese navy pilots without authorization. Now, he faces a range of serious charges.

From 1989 to 2002, Daniel Duggan was a combat pilot for the US Marine Corps. After leaving the service, he moved to Australia and became a citizen in 2012, renouncing his US citizenship in the process. However, by that time, he had already been on the State Department’s radar for several years; in 2008, it emailed Duggan to warn him if he planned to give flight instruction to foreign pilots, he had to apply for written authorization first. Duggan never applied for the authorization — but, according to a 2017 indictment unsealed last month by a DC court, between 2010 and 2012, he was allegedly paid at least $100,000 to train Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) pilots.

The indictment says Duggan and eight co-conspirators used a South Africa-based company that runs an operation in China to deliver the training. Lessons included aircraft carrier operations, which would be very valuable to the PLAN. China now has two aircraft carriers and is building at least two more, but they don’t have the decades of experience in naval aviation required to make their carriers really effective. Marine pilots like Duggan have the experience — but the US doesn’t really want it being passed on to China.

On October 21, 2022, Duggan was arrested by Australian police, following an FBI request. In December, the US formally requested his extradition, and the Australian government agreed. The case is now scheduled to be heard on January 10 by a state magistrate in New South Wales, where Duggan was arrested.

If he’s returned to the US, Duggan will face charges of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to unlawfully export defense services to China, and arms trafficking.

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