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UCMJ Article 103: Spying

At Bilecki Law Group, we defend service members of all branches against charges of spying under Article 103 of the UCMJ. If found guilty, the military justice system may be coming for your life and we believe the full story must be told at trial.

What Is Article 103 Of The UCMJ?

Spying as identified under Article 103 of the UCMJ takes place when at a specific time and place, a service member was found on property under control or jurisdiction of the armed force of the United States and was lurking, acting clandestinely, or under false pretenses to collect information with the intent to provide that information to the enemy in a time of war.

Now, the truth of the matter is that Article 103 of the UCMJ is a fairly wide warning article that covers all matters related to spying from good old fashioned espionage to simply communicating with the enemy. What you need to know if you find yourself charged with any crime under Article 103 is that the military justice system will presume your guilt, your fellow service members will turn against you, and you may not have a friend left in the world willing to listen to you.

Fortunately for you, we’ve saved countless service members from the worst possible outcome when charged under the UCMJ and we know that there is always more to the story than is being told. That’s because the military justice system requires “guilty” verdicts to maintain military discipline and more often than not, they rush to get them without considering all the facts. We slow them down, they don’t like it, and we don’t care. So, let’s talk about Article 103 in a little more detail.

What Charges Are Included Under Article 103?

As we mentioned earlier, Article 103 of the UCMJ actually covers eight specific charges and each one comes with specific elements that must be satisfied to find guilt. This is important because each element stands as an opportunity to put up a relentless fight so that the prosecution doesn’t get the easy win they are seeking. There’s a great deal of detail to each one and it’s best to just lay it out as stated in the UCMJ. Note that merely attempting a crime under Article 103 is enough to find you guilty.

Spying

This is the first charge and namesake of Article 103. To be found guilty, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused was found (in) (about) (in and about) 

(a) ((a) (an)) (fortification) (post) (base) (vessel) (aircraft) within the (control) (and) (jurisdiction) of an armed force of the United States, namely, __________

(b) ((a) (an)) (shipyard) (manufacturing plant) (industrial plant) (__________) engaged in work in aid of the prosecution of the war by the United States

(c) (__________)

(2) That the accused was lurking, acting clandestinely or under false pretenses

(3) That the accused was collecting or attempting to collect information

(4) That the accused did so with the intent to provide this information to the enemy

(5) That this was done in time of war.

Espionage (Article 103a)

To be found guilty of espionage under the UCMJ, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused communicated, delivered, or transmitted any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense

(2) That this matter was communicated, delivered, or transmitted to (state the party allegedly communicated with), any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly

(3) That the accused did so with intent or reason to believe that such matter would be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.

Attempted Espionage (Article 103a)

To be found guilty of attempted espionage under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused committed a certain overt act, to wit: ___________

(2) That the act was done with intent to commit espionage against the United States

(3) That the act amounted to more than mere preparation

(4) That the act apparently tended to bring about the offense of espionage.

Aiding The Enemy -Furnishing Arms or Ammunition (Article 103b)

To be found guilty of aiding the enemy under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused aided the enemy, namely: (state the name or description of the enemy who purportedly received the aid)

(2) That the accused did so with certain (arms) (ammunition) (supplies) (money)  by (state the manner in which the aid was allegedly supplied).

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Attempting To Aid The Enemy (Article 103b)
To be found guilty of attempting to aid the enemy under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused did a certain act, namely: (state the manner in which the giving of aid was allegedly attempted)

(2) That (state the name or description of the enemy who purportedly was to receive the aid) was an enemy

(3) That the act was done with the intent to aid the enemy with certain arms, ammunition, supplies, money or other things

(4) That the act amounted to more than mere preparation; that is, it was a direct movement toward the offense of aiding the enemy

(5) That the act apparently tended to bring about the offense of aiding the enemy with certain arms, ammunition, supplies, money or other things; that is, the act apparently would have resulted in the actual commission of the offense of aiding the enemy except for (a circumstance unknown to the accused) (an unexpected intervening circumstance)  which prevented the completion of the offense).

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Harboring Or Protecting The Enemy (Article 103b)

To be found guilty of harboring or protecting the enemy under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused, without proper authority, harbored or protected (a) certain person(s), namely: (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have been harbored or protected);

(2) That the accused did so by (state the manner alleged)

(3) That (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have been harbored or protected) was an enemy

(4) That the accused knew that the person so protected was an enemy

Giving Intelligence To The Enemy (Article 103b)

To be found guilty of giving intelligence to the enemy under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused, without proper authority, knowingly gave intelligence information to (a) certain person(s), namely: (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information)

(2) That (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information) was an enemy

(3) That this intelligence information was true, or implied the truth, at least in part.

Communicating With The Enemy (Article 103b)

To be found guilty of communicating with the enemy under Article 103, the following elements must be satisfied:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused without proper authority, knowingly communicated, corresponded, or held intercourse with (a) certain person(s), namely: (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the communication, correspondence, etc.)

(2) That the accused did so by (state the manner alleged)

(3) That (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the communication, correspondence, etc.) was an enemy

(4) That the accused knew (he) (she) was communicating, corresponding, or holding intercourse with an enemy.

 

How To Fight And Beat Charges Under Article 103 Of The UCMJ

Look, here at the Bilecki Law Group, we are as patriotic as any and military veterans ourselves. The notion of a service member spying on this country strikes a raw nerve with us as it does any who have worn the uniform. That being said, we also understand that the military justice system is not designed to give those same service members a fair shake. They need to make an example out of someone and to them an innocent service member will do just fine.

We fight for every service member charged and we don’t shy away from the tough cases because we know that true justice depends on the service member’s ability to put up a staunch court martial defense. In the case of Article 103, the military justice system can come for your very life and the death penalty is potentially on the table. That means if you made a singular mistake, the prosecution may come for your very ability to exist.

If we are going to win, if we are going to save your life, you need to be ready to stand up and fight at every turn. Article 103 UCMJ charges don’t come along everyday and that means when they do, the prosecution will be coming for you with everything they have. It also means that your fellow service members will often presume your guilt and you’ll find yourself out of friends in a hurry. Only your willingness to make the prosecution work to satisfy every single element will save your life.

We will give the prosecution no easy wins and we’re ready to take the fight right to the heart of the military justice system and trial if needed. It will take an experienced court martial defense attorney and your free JAG defense counsel may likely care more about their career than yours. That’s because they don’t want to be the one associated with defending the next Bradley Manning or Benedict Arnold. That’s exactly how you are about to be treated if you don’t make a stand and fight.

If you are under investigation or facing court martial for charges under Article 103, give us a call. We’ll always shoot you straight on what you are facing and as long as you are willing to fight, so are we. True justice is hard to come by in the military justice system and we understand our role in providing a staunch defense so that true justice can at least have a fighting chance.

Don’t just plead guilty… Fight Back !