• I think I previously saw on the FBI website that northern corean/ chinese / russian military officers were considered as " wanted" by the FBI.

  • My point is not that the US has no reason to suspect some foreign military officers of havng " bad" intentions regarding the US interests and security. I'm sure there are some such officers.

  • What astonishes me is that the US governemnt overtly and through legal ways tries to prevent them from realizing their plans.

I mean, is the US officially at war with Northern Corea/China ?

If its not the case, then how is a juridical action against a foreign military officer compatible with the respect of sovereignty of a foreign country? For the foreign military officer is not acting in his own name.

What does international law say about all this?

Note : I went back today to the official FBI site but could not find the corean military officers any more. I found Chinese and Russian officers cases.

2 Answers 2


If the FBI has reason to believe they have committed a crime under US law

Being an official of a foreign (or domestic) government in a military or civilian capacity does not make a person immune from US law except in the specific case of diplomatic immunity.

There are some US laws that apply even if the perpetrator is not and has never been in the US, for example, computer hacking and fraud.

So, if the FBI has probable cause they can ask for and get an arrest warrant.

If the US were at war with this person’s country then, barring war crimes or crimes against humanity, military action against the US is not a crime.

Naturally, exactly the same circumstances apply to US citizens vis-a-vis foreign laws.

  • 1
    Do you think there is a juridical issue here ( is the question debated in legal studies) or is it an obvious legal fact? Generally, the reasons given for a person to have a duty of abiding a law are (1) being a citizen of the country where the law is valid or (2) living in the country as a foreigner.
    – user31535
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 11:27
  • 1
    I mean that, in the abstract, admitting as a principle that any country can launch a legal action ( in this very country) against a foreign person could have counterntuitive consequences.
    – user31535
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 11:28
  • 5
    @RayLittleRock extraterritoriality is an accepted fact of law. The US claims far less of it than most countries.
    – Dale M
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 21:09
  • 3
    @RayLittleRock Any country can define on its own where it has jurisdiction, though other countries might not recognize this. In general, it is reasonable to assume jurisdiction when a crime was committed in a country, even if the perpetrator was never in the country. This could e.g. be the case for phone scams or cybercrime. The real question isn't jurisdiction, but extradition. The US can ask all they want, but DPRK isn't going to send their officers over. The wanted persons should carefully consider any international travel though.
    – amon
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 21:10

Outside of the Counterintelligence list, there are no North Korean, Chinese, or Russian military officers or government officials are on any of the FBI wanted list. The Counterintelligence list includes one Chinese military officer, but no Russian or Korean military officers (though it is possible albeit unlikely that the three Russians on the list are in fact military officers – perhaps you could point to the purported Russian officers). In each case, there is an outstanding arrest warrant, which entails judicial review. In one case, the warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Boston, and the charges are acting as an agent of a foreign government, visa fraud, making false statements, and conspiracy. Any person who acts as an agent of a foreign government operating in the US is required by law to register as such, and it does not matter if the person is military or civilian.


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