Maryland Scientist Charged With Attempted Espionage To What He Thought Was ‘Israeli Agent’

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ywbn15.gif5:20PM EST: A Maryland scientist who once worked in varying capacities for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been arrested for attempted espionage, David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced today.

A criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia charges Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, with attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States to an individual that Nozette believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.

Nozette was arrested earlier today by FBI agents and is expected to make his initial appearance tomorrow in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious and should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation’s secrets for profit,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

“Those who would put our nation’s defense secrets up for sale can expect to be vigorously prosecuted,” said Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.  “This case reflects our firm resolve to hold accountable any individual who betrays the public trust by compromising our national security for his or her own personal gain.”

“The FBI is committed to protecting the nation’s classified information and pursuing those who attempt to profit from its release or sale,” said Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Nozette received a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1983, and worked at the White House on the National Space Council, Executive Office of the President, in 1989 and 1990. He developed the Clementine bi-static radar experiment that purportedly discovered water on the south pole of the moon. Nozette also worked at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from approximately 1990 to 1999 where he designed highly advanced technology. At the Department of Energy, Nozette held a special security clearance equivalent to the Defense Department Top Secret and Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information clearances. Department of Energy clearances apply to access to information specifically relating to atomic or nuclear-related materials.

Nozette was also the President, Treasurer and Director of the Alliance for Competitive Technology (ACT), a non-profit corporation that he organized in March 1990. Between January 2000 and February 2006, Nozette, through his company ACT, entered into several agreements to develop advanced technology for the U.S. government. Nozette performed some of this research and development at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Virginia, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. From 1989 through 2006, Nozette held security clearances as high as Top Secret and had regular, frequent access to classified information and documents related to the U.S. national defense.

According to the affidavit, on Sept. 3, 2009, Nozette was contacted via telephone by an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer, but who was in fact an undercover employee of the FBI (UCE). During that call, Nozette agreed to meet with the UCE later that day at a hotel in Washington D.C. According to the affidavit, Nozette met with the UCE that day and discussed his willingness to work for Israeli intelligence.

Nozette allegedly informed the UCE that he had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to U.S. satellite information. Nozette also allegedly said that he would be willing to answer questions about this information in exchange for money. The UCE explained to Nozette that the Israeli intelligence agency, or “Mossad,” would arrange for a communication system so that Nozette could pass information to the Mossad in a post office box. Nozette agreed to provide regular, continuing information to the UCE and asked for an Israeli passport

According to the affidavit, Nozette and the UCE met again on Sept. 4, 2009, in the same hotel. During the meeting, Nozette allegedly informed the UCE that, although he no longer had legal access to any classified information at a U.S. government facility, he could, nonetheless, recall the classified information to which he had been granted access, indicating that it was all still in his head. In the meeting, Nozette allegedly asked when he could expect to receive his first payment, specifying that he preferred to receive cash amounts “under ten thousand” so he didn’t have to report it. At the conclusion of this meeting, Nozette allegedly informed the UCE, “Well I should tell you my first need is that they should figure out how to pay me . . . they don’t expect me to do this for free.”

On or about Sept. 10, 2009, undercover FBI agents left a letter in the designated post office box for Nozette. In the letter, the FBI asked Nozette to answer a list of questions concerning U.S. satellite information. The undercover agents also provided a $2,000 cash payment for Nozette. The serial numbers of the bills were recorded. Nozette retrieved the questions and the money from the post office the same day.

On or about Sept. 16, 2009, Nozette was captured on videotape leaving a manila envelope in the designated post office box in the District of Columbia. The next day, FBI agents retrieved the sealed manila envelope that Nozette had dropped off and found, among other things, a one-page document containing answers to the questions posed by the undercover agents and an encrypted computer thumb drive. One of answers provided by Nozette contained information classified as Secret, which concerned capabilities of a prototype overhead collection system. In addition, Nozette allegedly offered to reveal additional classified information that directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, and other major weapons systems.

Also on or about Sept. 17, 2009, undercover FBI agents left a second letter in the post office box for Nozette. In the letter, the FBI asked Nozette to answer another list of questions concerning U.S. satellite information. The FBI also left a cash payment of $9,000 in the post office box. Nozette allegedly retrieved the questions and the money from the post office box later that same day.

On or about October 1, 2009, Nozette was filmed on videotape leaving a manila envelope in the post office box. Later that day, FBI agents retrieved the manila envelope left by Nozette and found a second set of answers from him. The answers contained information classified as both Top Secret and Secret that concerned U.S. satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorneys Deborah A. Curtis and Heather M. Schmidt, from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Asuncion, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains mere allegations and that every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Meir Lewittes – YWN BBRY GROUP 2 / BBUSER / Shimon Frankel)




13 COMMENTS

  1. He;s toast. If he was “spying” for Iran it would be OK, but Israel? Shock & Horror! Move over, Jonathon Pollard, you’re about to have company.

  2. Smells fishy….why did they use Israel in the set-up?
    The US government is shooting itself in the foot, if this whole thing was a setup why are they publicizing that their top scientists are untrustworthy.
    Unless this guy is Jewish then it makes sense, cause that’s what the FBI is after lately, some Jewish blood.

  3. Apparently the Obama administration is desperate to find ways to create a psychological climate, in the USA and the World, where Israel is depicted in a negative character.. B. Hussein Obama is miffed that the Israelis didn’t roll over like a dead dog to his preposterous demands to immediately halt all construction in the country no matter where and why. Since the Jews had the chutzpah to make him look stupid, and in furtherance of his Muslim “peace” objectives, he needs to “recalibrate” the public opinion to one of aroused suspicion (and perhaps hostility – time will tell) toward the Jewish citizens of the world.)

    This Obama/FBI trap/setup is also most unfortunate for all of us as American citizens, because a remarkably brilliant scientist that has previously contributed so much towards the safety of our nation, and would have continued working with his super talents to further create technological advancements ensuring our safety (in this very dangerous terrorist world) is now lost because of Obama’s blind hatred!! But hey, our only real enemies are the Muslim terrorists, and Obama may indeed view them more favorably than we were led to believe..

    My comment is most mindful of Chazal’s references to Galus Edom being followed by Galus Yishmael!!

  4. Apparently the Obama administration is desperate to find ways to create a psychological climate, in the USA and the World, where Israel is depicted in a negative character..

    B. Hussein Obama is miffed that the Israelis didn’t roll over like a dead dog to his preposterous demands to immediately halt all construction in the country no matter where and why. Since the Jews had the chutzpah to make him look stupid, and in furtherance of his Muslim “peace” objectives, he needs to “recalibrate” the public opinion to one of aroused suspicion (and perhaps hostility – time will tell) toward the Jewish citizens of the world.)

    This Obama/FBI trap/setup is also most unfortunate for all of us as American citizens, because a remarkably brilliant scientist that has previously contributed so much towards the safety of our nation, and would have continued working with his super talents to further create technological advancements ensuring our safety (in this very dangerous terrorist world) is now lost because of Obama’s blind hatred!!

    But hey, our only real enemies are the Muslim terrorists, and Obama may indeed view them more favorably than we were led to believe..

    My comment is most mindful of Chazal’s references to Galus Edom being followed by Galus Yishmael!!

  5. Anon 7;53,

    You should stop being so shallow.. and understand that this is the only “espionage” sting operation EVER to be conducted from start to finish in less than 6 weeks!!!

  6. According to The Jerusalem Post, the comment left earlier by Shazam seems to be incorrect, although there is no reason to believe that the subject of the article either thinks of himself, nor is thought of as Frum, it was reported that the FBI’s transcript of the tape, which was made of their telephone conversations with him have Jim allegedly saying: “Since my parents are Jewish, theoretically I entitled to an Israeli passport under the Law of Return.” Maybe, his mother was not a Georiis al pe Halacha. I have no idea. But one website states that he was brought up in West Rogers Park.
    True, the evidence put forth by the government publically makes no denial of the fact that an effort was made to entrap him; but likewise, he didn’t make them work too hard.

  7. Anon 7:53,

    For your convenience I will post today’s JPost article re this espionage case.

    It can also be at >> http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256037270857&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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    Steve Rosen: CIA, FBI paranoid about Mossad
    Oct. 21, 2009

    E.B. SOLOMONT, JPost correspondent in NEW YORK , THE JERUSALEM POST

    Charges of espionage against US Defense Department scientist Stewart Nozette reflect “extreme views” against Israel that could harm US-Israel relations, former AIPAC staffer Steve Rosen told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

    Rosen, AIPAC’s former foreign policy chief who was accused, with Keith Weissman, of passing along classified information, said it was revealing that Israel was inserted into the narrative of Nozette’s entrapment and subsequent arrest. The case against Rosen and Weissman was dismissed last spring.

    “One of the things that our case revealed is the very extreme views that are held by some in counterintelligence agencies of the CIA and FBI about Israel,” Rosen said. “They believe that the Mossad spied on the US on a huge scale and they believe that the Pollard case was the tip of some sort of iceberg.

    “When you keep repeating that the Mossad is spying on America, Israel is harming the United States, of course it harms the alliance between Israel and the US,” he continued. “The current case is even more peculiar because the government of Israel did nothing.

    “It’s revealing that they used Israel for the sting,” Rosen added. “They could have used China, or others. But they chose Israel.”

    Describing an “obsession” with Israel within certain parts of the CIA and FBI, Rosen said if his own case had gone to trial, details reflecting the extreme views of his investigators would have come out. “There was no wrongdoing,” he said, reflecting on the case against him and Weissman.

    “But we go through this all the time. There is a faction in the counterintelligence bureaucracies that is fomenting these tales,” he said. “They are methodically trying to create the impression that Mossad is under every bed.”

    Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the Nozette case is part of a “troubling” pattern of targeting Israel and Jews as potential spies against the United States.

    “I am not naïve enough to believe that there aren’t efforts to obtain information in all kinds of ways,” Foxman said. But, he asked, “Why is it that we don’t hear of any other country, except for Israel? I find that troubling.”

    The US Defense Department has repeatedly singled out Jewish employees for possible disloyalty, Foxman said. The situation has escalated, with increasing cases of Jews having difficulty obtaining security clearance. If you have relatives in Israel, speak Hebrew, or practice Orthodox Judaism, he said, “changes are, you won’t get clearance. That’s the mindset out there.”

    Weissman’s attorney in the AIPAC case, Baruch Weiss, said he knew very little about Nozette, only what he read in media reports.

    However, “this case certainly raises the legitimate question of whether this was a legitimate sting or whether it was an unfairly selective sting aimed at Jews to test dual loyalty,” Weiss said.