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Espionage Defense Lawyer

With the recent introduction of the DOJ’s China Initiative under the Trump administration, many innocent US citizens are facing unfair accusations and persecution and require a trained, seasoned espionage defense lawyer who knows how to stand up to Big Government and combat their overreach. The Initiative seeks to target those they believe are involved in stealing trade secrets, online hacking, and financial espionage.

While being unfairly prosecuted for espionage can be overwhelming and confusing, you do not have to face the situation alone. Our top espionage attorneys at Hickey & Chung are available right now to take your case and help you reinstate your good name. When facing the possibility of criminal charges and even jail time, it’s important that you have a qualified and dedicated lawyer standing by your side.

What is espionage?

Espionage takes place when a person hordes or shares confidential information that is considered material to the defense of the nation. It involves spying and recording sensitive information about national security for the benefit of a foreign government. Information that is stolen specifically online is called cyber espionage. Because government officials apply espionage laws in an overinclusive manner, you may be accused of espionage for the sharing of any data with a recipient in China, even though you are fully entitled to do so. Professors, postdoctoral fellows, lab technicians, and anyone handling research data at research universities can be targeted. This is especially true if the researcher has personal ties to China.

In addition to national espionage, the term also encompasses corporate spying, the theft of trade secrets, and the secret acquisition of non-public information such as formulas, financial statements, or business plans. Corporate espionage usually occurs between two companies that are in direct competition with one another.

Examples of espionage

  • Accumulating or transmitting potentially damaging information about the United States government in relation to military operations, national defense, infrastructure, aircraft, and foreign policy.
  • Sharing confidential information about the US with a foreign government.
  • Aiding, abetting, or hiding a person connected with espionage and wanted by US law enforcement.
  • Disclosing military, tech, or weapons-related secrets.
  • Sharing freely available datasets with fellow researchers in China may be considered espionage, although it may not be.

Navigating espionage laws

Espionage laws have come to the forefront of society at different times in history. After the US entered WW1, the Espionage Act of 1917 was declared to establish strict punishments for those who betray their country by disclosing confidential information to foreign enemies. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 concerned the protection of trade secrets and the economy. In 2018, the China Initiative was established to root out financial misdeeds and identify non-disclosure of China-related ties and the covert influence of Chinese interests. These laws have been applied liberally, needlessly accusing innocent data sharing.

Understanding espionage investigations

To protect its interests, the US government will go to extreme lengths to prosecute and convict individuals it suspects of treason, spending a great deal of time and money to do so. The FBI and the Counterintelligence Division may be involved in investigating espionage as well as the CIA. The penalties for espionage are significant, ranging from reputation defilement to a criminal record and prison time. Other consequences include deportation, loss of one’s visa, and loss of one’s license or professional credentials. There are even states in which the death penalty is on the table for those participating in espionage or treason.

If you are facing espionage accusations, don’t delay in contacting a qualified, experienced attorney immediately. At Hickey & Chung, we understand the seriousness of the charges against you, and we will zealously advocate for your fair treatment and to combat flagrant discrimination on the basis of nationality.

Why choose us?

At Hickey & Chung, our dedicated, highly experienced espionage lawyers can prepare a detailed and airtight defense to help exonerate you of unfounded charges. We possess the resources, knowledge, and commitment to help set things straight and restore your peace of mind. The stakes are extremely high when it comes to fighting espionage charges. Call us at Hickey & Chung today so we can clear your name, reinstate your reputation, and protect your freedom.


Brendan Hickey is a Harvard Law School graduate who spent years working as a Federal Public Defender for federal and state criminal cases. He is an active member of the CJA (Criminal Justice Act) panel for the Northern District of California. Mr. Hickey is devoted to ensuring that unfairly accused defendants receive the in-depth, personalized legal representation they deserve. He has the skill, expertise, and passion to help clear you of unfounded espionage charges so you can reclaim your career and your life.


After attending the prestigious University of Chicago Law School, Naomi Chung established her own criminal defense practice and was lauded as a Northern California “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers in 2020. Ms. Chung is passionate about protecting her clients from unfair discrimination and will fight for justice for those wrongly accused of espionage under the China Initiative and other DOJ mandates.