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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 106—Spies
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Text. “Any person who in time of war is found lurking as a spy or acting as a spy in or about any place, vessel, or aircraft, within the control or jurisdiction of any of the armed forces, or in or about any shipyard, any manufacturing or industrial plant, or any other place or institution engaged in work in aid of the prosecution of the war by the United States, or elsewhere, shall be tried by a general court-martial or by a military commission and on conviction shall be punished by death.”


(1) That the accused was found in, about, or in and about a certain place, vessel, or aircraft within the control or jurisdiction of an armed force of the United States, or a shipyard, manufacturing or industrial plant, or other place or institution engaged in work in aid of the prosecution of the war by the United States, or elsewhere;

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

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

(4) That the accused did so with the intent to convey this information to the enemy; and

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


(1) In time of war. See R.C.M. 103(19).

(2) Enemy. For a discussion of “enemy,” see paragraph 23c(1)(b).

(3) Scope of offense. The words “any person” bring within the jurisdiction of general courts-martial and military commissions all persons of what-ever nationality or status who commit spying.

(4) Nature of offense. A person can be a spy only when, acting clandestinely or under false pre-tenses, that person obtains or seeks to obtain information with the intent to convey it to a hostile party. It is not essential that the accused obtain the information sought or that it be communicated. The offense is complete with lurking or acting clandestinely or under false pretenses with intent to accomplish these objects.

(5) Intent. It is necessary to prove an intent to convey information to the enemy. This intent may be inferred from evidence of a deceptive insinuation of the accused among our forces, but evidence that the person had come within the lines for a comparatively innocent purpose, as to visit family or to reach friendly lines by assuming a disguise, is admissible to rebut this inference.

(6) Persons not included under “spying”.

(a) Members of a military organization not wearing a disguise, dispatch drivers, whether members of a military organization or civilians, and persons in ships or aircraft who carry out their missions openly and who have penetrated enemy lines are not spies because, while they may have resorted to concealment, they have not acted under false pretenses.

(b) A spy who, after rejoining the armed forces to which the spy belongs, is later captured by the enemy incurs no responsibility for previous acts of espionage.

(c) A person living in occupied territory who, without lurking, or acting clandestinely or under false pretenses, merely reports what is seen or heard through agents to the enemy may be charged under Article 104 with giving intelligence to or communicating with the enemy, but may not be charged under this article as being a spy.

Lesser included offenses. None.

Mandatory punishment. Death

Next Article > Article 106a—Espionage >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 30


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