Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites


Thread Closed  Topic Closed
  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Explorers & Workers
  Agents arrest NASA contractor on plane for China

Post New Topic  
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Agents arrest NASA contractor on plane for China
Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-19-2013 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the accusations are true, this is quite an uncovering of the theft of NASA's intellectual property. From the Hampton Roads' Daily Press
A former NASA Langley Research Center contractor was arrested Saturday and charged with lying to federal investigators after he was blocked from leaving the country on a "one-way ticket" back to his native China.

Bo Jiang -- a Chinese national who was under active investigation for possible violations of federal arms control laws -- is accused of lying to federal agents about the computers and storage devices he was carrying when agents boarded the plane he was on at Dulles International Airport, according to an FBI affidavit.

The investigation into Jiang, who worked at the National Institute of Aerospace, a Hampton-based nonprofit that conducts most of its work for NASA Langley, has spurred Langley to review its security practices.

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-McLean, chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, said it's clear that NASA Langley and the National Institute of Aerospace did not follow procedures designed to prevent such security breaches.

NASA Langley Research Center is now "moving quickly ... to review all security protocols and access to the center by foreign nationals," said Wolf, who got the original whistle blower tip that helped spearhead the investigation.

"It is my understanding that the center is in the middle of a comprehensive security review and is implementing new training," he said.

Later in the article some details of the actual arrest are given:

On Saturday morning, he flew out of Norfolk International Airport. He changed planes at Dulles International, bound for Beijing.

While the plane was still on the ground at the Northern Virginia airport, however, federal agents came aboard and asked to have a word with him. Jiang agreed to a "consensual" search, in which they pressed him for what computers and storage disks he had with him.

That's when he lied to federal agents about what he had in his possession, the FBI affidavit stated.

"Jiang told the Homeland Security Agent that he had a cellphone, a memory stick, an external hard drive and a new computer," FBI Special Agent Rhonda A. Squizzero wrote in the affidavit. "However, during the search, other media items were located that Jiang did not reveal. Such items found include an additional laptop, an old hard drive and a SIM card."

A separate article in The Examiner (Washington, DC) named Jiang's employer as being the National Institute of Aerospace, a Hampton, VA-based NASA contractor. The arrest warrent was quoted as saying the FBI is "investigating conspiracies and substantive violations of the Arms Export Control Act." The specific property referenced in the article is, according to Virginia Senator Frank Wolf, "source code for high-tech imaging technology that Jiang has been working on with NASA" -- sensitive technologies essential to the U.S. whose disclosure to foreign nationals is strictly limited by U.S. export control laws as their applications may apply to "unmanned aerial vehicles and other aerospace/aeronautic technologies."

p51
Member

Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 03-19-2013 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The one-way ticket I bet played a hand in tripping him up. Lots of spies have been nabbed because of one-way tickets because they're so unusual to ask for.

I have a feeling that CIA operatives when flying commercial under cover are probably told to pay for return tickets and even to argue about arrival times for the flight they'll never take because otherwise it'd seem odd. I know for sure that DEA agents used to (and maybe still do) flag young people going out of Southerm US airports to known drug-producing countries with one-way tickets as likelt going on drug running missions...

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-27-2013 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Possibly related (and quite frankly long overdue), public access attempts to the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) returns:
The NASA technical reports server will be unavailable for public access while the agency conducts a review of the site's content to ensure that it does not contain technical information that is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations and that the appropriate reviews were performed.

The site will return to service when the review is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-27-2013 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
The one-way ticket I bet played a hand in tripping him up.
In and of itself, a one-way ticket may not be indicative of anything more than an expired visa.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2013 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bo Jiang is set to plead to a misdemeanor charge of violating NASA computer rules, due to downloading copyrighted movies and sexually explicit films onto his work laptop, not for taking "secret, confidential or classified information to China," as federal prosecutors had originally alleged.
Along with the misdemeanor, the government said it had resolved the false statements case...
As to Jiang's one-way trip to China...
He was going home because he had no job prospects and his student visa had expired, according to the documents.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-02-2013 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jeez, talk about a sledgehammer to crack a nut! This looks like the misdemeanor charge is so that the authorities can save face by at least finding something to charge him with in the light of their mess up.

I wonder how many non-foreign employees have downloaded porn on their federal PCs? Not many, right?

issman1
Member

Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-02-2013 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will this spoil any chance of China becoming an ISS partner? After all, it has something to offer that otherwise leaves every other nation reliant upon Russia - until at least 2017.

Perhaps a certain US Congressman has the final say rather than the US president?

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-02-2013 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He was going home because he had no job prospects and his student visa had expired, according to the documents.
And also, according to the same article, the circumstance behind his low "job prospects," is that he was "fired from his job in January at the National Institute of Aerospace... after coming back from a monthlong trip to China in December" because he "took a NASA computer, as well as an NIA external hard drive from his employer, with him on that trip, violating the agency’s security regulations, according the criminal information."

So it's not like he was squeaky clean. There was probable cause.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2013 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
There was probable cause.
Violating his employer's security policy is indeed grounds for firing, not necessarily probable cause for being held as an alleged spy.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2013 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Will this spoil any chance of China becoming an ISS partner?
You keep raising this as a possibility in several threads, but that ship has sailed. China has said it does not want to be an ISS partner, and with the space station complete, there is no longer a framework to add partners.

China is pressing ahead with its own space station.

issman1
Member

Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-02-2013 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And who could blame them for that? As for this contractor, clearly a witch-hunt by people in high places with an agenda.

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-02-2013 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Violating his employer's security policy is indeed grounds for firing, not necessarily probable cause for being held as an alleged spy.
Violation of the Arms Export Control Act is a federal matter. It was alleged that the subject had exported protected technical data to China. Simply carrying a hard drive containing sensitive data to China is considered as exporting, no matter who came into contact with it.

Also, it seems that the new copyright violation case is in addition to, not in place of, the export case and springs from "separate criminal information" according to the Bloomberg article. Therefore, I believe that the original export case is still ongoing.

A recent article from The Examiner has more information and also references an upcoming hearing that Bloomberg overlooked:

Former NASA contractor employee Bo Jiang, arrested last March by federal agents as he was about to board a flight to Beijing, took vast amounts of sensitive research by a noted colleague to China in 2012, The Washington Examiner has learned...

Jiang was arrested March 16 at Washington Dulles International Airport and charged with making false statements to federal agents under the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

Prior to his arrest, NASA Langley had suspended Jiang as a contract employee following internal allegations that he had taken "voluminous" NASA files to China in 2012.

The article also explains the nature of the exported material and its original source, a Pakistani career scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center who died in a 2010 car accident.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2013 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Also, it seems that the new copyright violation case is in addition to, not in place of, the export case...
There was no export case, only an investigation, and as reported by Bloomberg, following today's hearing, that investigation seems to be over.
"None of the computer media that Jiang attempted to bring to the PRC on March 16, 2013, contained classified information, export controlled information, or NASA proprietary information," according to the statement of facts filed in Jiang's case.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors dismissed the indictment and Jiang was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-03-2013 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Will this spoil any chance of China becoming an ISS partner?
If Chinese espionage and illegal exportation/theft of US technology were the criteria that decision would have been made long ago... there have been dozens of convictions over the last decade and many more still ongoing investigative actions against other Chinese foreign nationals leveraging slots within US Academic and Government organizations to ex-filtrate material.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-03-2013 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
National Institute of Aerospace release
NIA Statement on the Release of Dr. Bo Jiang

The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) is pleased to learn that Dr. Bo Jiang a former NIA employee who conducted research at NASA’s Langley Research Center was exonerated yesterday in federal court of the felony charge of lying to federal investigators. This single charge had led to him being detained at the Chesapeake City Jail for the past six weeks while the FBI conducted a thorough investigation. After the charge was dropped, Dr. Jiang was released from custody yesterday and is returning home to China with his family.

According to the statement of facts from the court, nine computers and storage devices were examined for their contents during the investigation. “None of the computer media that Jiang attempted to bring to the (China) on March 16, 2013, contained classified information, export controlled information, or NASA proprietary information,” according to the statement of facts filed in the case.

Dr. Douglas Stanley, president and executive director of NIA remarked, “From the beginning of this investigation, we have cooperated with federal authorities to ensure the facts came to light.” He added, “We are very pleased that Dr. Jiang was exonerated on all charges and implications of export control violations, espionage and lying to federal officials. We were confident in his innocence and happy to see that our judicial system eventually reached the correct conclusion.”

Jiang’s work as a research scientist at NIA was part of the institution’s ongoing support of NASA and the aerospace industry to improve aviation safety. Dr. Jiang’s research, as all research performed by NIA, went through multiple export control reviews by NIA and NASA and his work was always ruled to be fundamental research that was not export controlled. NIA remains committed to protecting all export controlled data and to vigilant adherence to all applicable federal security rules, policies and procedures as we employ the best and brightest researchers and scientists who use their skills and talents every day to make the world a better place.

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-07-2013 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
If Chinese espionage and illegal exportation/theft of US technology were the criteria that decision would have been made long ago...

According yesterday's email edition of Aviation Week's Aerospace Dailly & Defense Report, "U.S. China-watchers believe the U.S. can expand cooperation with China in space without harming national security, and in fact ease the tense relationship in a manner comparable to the approach President Richard Nixon used in the run-up to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975."

James Logsdon is said to be researching Richard Nixon's role in space policy. Logsdon told a recent symposium that, "With respect to space, Richard Nixon was a pretty strong internationalist from the start," who "suggested, as John Kennedy had suggested in his inaugural address, that space was an area where countries could cooperate."

Not that the idea of inviting China is widespread or a developing national policy. Seems it's the opinions of persons who are using their position to advocate personal opinions.

Such is the case of Joan Johnson-Freese, described as a "political scientist at the U.S. Naval War College, who stressed that she was expressing her own opinion as an academic." She said, "U.S. restrictions on working with China in space are coming across as the U.S. as a bit of the mean girl in the international space community, as though we think we can just decide who is in the clique and who is not."

She added, "We could do ourselves a big favor in terms of regaining the image and the perception of space leadership, that I think has been faltering lately, by working with China on some aspect of human spaceflight."

Nothing wrong with this pie in the sky, in my opinion. But there's two sides to it. After all, as far as manned spaceflight goes which side was it that created the debris cloud by pulverizing its own weather satellite during a test of anti-satellite weapons earlier?

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Open Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement