You wouldn’t think espionage would have much of a place here in Universe Today, but you’d be wrong. Four people in the US were arrested recently, accused of selling selling secrets to the Chinese. And what were they selling? Details about the space shuttle and other US aerospace programs.
The space shuttle? Really? Didn’t anyone tell them the program would be shelved in just a few years. And they’re not exactly the safest way to get into and back from space.
Anyway, here’s what happened.
The US justice department charged Chinese-born Dongfan Chung with 8 counts of economic espionage, conspiracy, and making false statements to FBI investigators.
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The 72-year-old engineer had been working in the aerospace industry for the last 30 years, mostly at Rockwell and Boeing. He retired back in 2002, but he’d been still working as a contractor for Boeing as recently as 2006.
Apparently he sent trade secrets to China, including information on the C-17 military transport aircraft, Delta IV rocket and the B-1 bomber; in addition to information about the space shuttle.
And he’d been a spy for a long time, receiving instructions from Chinese officials as far back as 1979. In one letter sent back to China, Chung expressed a desire to contribute to the Motherland.
If convicted, Chung is looking at 100 years in prison.
So that’s one person, what about the other 3?
They’re Tai Shen Kuo, 58; Yu Xin Kang, 33; and Gregg William Bergersen, 51. Bergersen is a US weapons system policy analyst with the defense department, and was charged with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to a foreign government. Kuo cultivated a relationship with Bergersen to get the information, and Kang was ferrying it to Chinese officials.
Kuo and Kang are looking and life in prison, and Bergersen will face at least 10 years.
Original Source: Department of Justice News Release