FBI Probes Possible NASA Delivery of Antimissile Data to China, Other Nations


Allegations of illegal technology transfer are under review, lawmakers say.

China and other nations might have received data on classified antimissile technology from a NASA research site in California, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday, quoting two U.S. lawmakers.

“We have been informed of an investigation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NASA office of inspector general and other law enforcement agencies have been working on since 2009 relating to the alleged illegal transfer of [International Traffic in Arms Regulations]-controlled technology by individuals at the NASA Ames Research Center,” Representatives Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Lamar Smith, R-Texas, stated in letters to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

“It is our understanding that this illegal technology transfer may have involved classified Defense Department weapons system technology to foreign countries, including China, potentially with the tacit or direct approval of the center’s leadership.”

“Large numbers of foreign nationals are invited to work at NASA Ames the past six years” without undergoing sufficient screening, while site personnel have verbally or via computer documents passed on sensitive antimissile-related data while attending meetings outside the United States, according to the letter.

The Justice Department has prevented the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern California from filing criminal counts in the case, according to the lawmakers. That claim was rejected by Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California: "Those allegations are untrue. No such request was made, and no such denial was received.”

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