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Top US scientist held for spying

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by tigermission1, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Member

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    To me, there is absolutely no crime that is more despicable or worthy of scorn as betraying a position of trust. This guy was entrusted with the highest level of clearance possible for a government employee, and decided to betray his country when the opportunity presented itself.

    Kudos to the FBI, they have been on their game as of late...


    Space Scientist Is Held as Spy


    FBI Arrests U.S. Government Physicist in Sting Operation Involving Nuclear Secrets

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125600137727795549.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#

    By EVAN PEREZ

    WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. space researcher was arrested in a Federal Bureau of Investigation sting Monday and charged with attempting to spy for Israel.

    Stewart Nozette, 52 years old, of Chevy Chase, Md., is a former government physicist who worked for agencies ranging from the Defense Department to the White House.

    In exchange for thousands of dollars in cash and an Israeli passport, Mr. Nozette allegedly attempted to pass on U.S. top-secret nuclear and space secrets to an FBI agent who was posing as an Israeli intelligence operative, according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in the case.

    An attorney for Mr. Nozette didn't immediately respond to a call seeking comment. Mr. Nozette is expected to make his first appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington. If convicted, Mr. Nozette faces up to life in prison.

    Other alleged spy cases in recent years involving Israel include one that collapsed in May against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israel group. U.S. officials said the Nozette case doesn't include allegations that Israel or its agents were involved.

    The FBI affidavit doesn't explain how Mr. Nozette came to the attention of U.S. investigators. However, the affidavit describes Mr. Nozette's work over the past decade for an Israeli aerospace company that is wholly owned by the Israeli government. During a security search as he departed on a foreign trip in January, a security officer noted he was traveling with two small portable hard drives, which another government officer couldn't locate in a subsequent search as Mr. Nozette re-entered the U.S.

    A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington didn't respond to a request for comment.

    "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.

    FBI wiretaps cited in the government affidavit quote Mr. Nozette telling the undercover federal agent that his former top-secret security clearances allowed him access to sensitive nuclear and intelligence secrets.

    "I don't get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come," Mr. Nozette allegedly is heard on wiretaps telling the FBI agent, according to the affidavit.

    The FBI agent arranged for Mr. Nozette to use a location previously set up -- a "dead-drop" -- at a post-office box in Washington, provided him a cellphone to send text messages, and set up an alias for use in his new Israeli identification documents, according to the affidavit. In a post-office box dead-drop last month, Mr. Nozette left a sealed manila envelope containing an encrypted portable hard drive, the affidavit says. The drive contained classified information on satellite programs supporting U.S. military and intelligence operations.

    While the affidavit indicates that Mr. Nozette at first appeared suspicious about the espionage arrangements, it also relates how the undercover agent gained Mr. Nozette's trust and he is heard on a wiretap saying of the post-office drops: "that seems kind of Mossad-like." The FBI affidavit quotes Mr. Nozette offering to provide additional classified information on nuclear and other weapons systems, as well as military spacecraft or satellites. He explained that he would earn his keep, according to affidavit, because some of the information would have to be from memory, since he no longer has the necessary security clearances. "These are among the most sensitive subjects and it will have to be recreated from memory over some time," the FBI affidavit quotes him as saying.

    Mr. Nozette, a Chicago native, was prominent in his field. He helped develop a radar experiment, now displayed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, that is said to have detected water on the moon's south pole.
     
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  2. BetterThanEver

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    Another reason to stay out of Palestine's and Israel's affairs. The former will stab us in the front, while the latter will stab us in the back.
     
  3. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    I think there is more to this story. In the story it sounds like the guy was already working for an Israeli aerospace company and if he wanted to spy for the Israelis why didn't he just work that connection?

    Was it just that he was witnessed carrying more data than he should've have when he went to Israel and the FBI decided to launch a sting or was he trying to sell info the Israelis and the Israelis tipped off the US that this guy was suspicious?
     
  4. Pest_Ctrl

    Pest_Ctrl Member

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    Although this guy is a top scientist, he is really stupid. How hard it is to just make a copy the data in the hard drive and then bring the original ones back? It's not like they won't pay him enough to buy two hard drives.
     
  5. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Member

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    :confused:

    I fail to see the connection there. Espionage is pretty much a given, especially when you are a powerful and technologically advanced country like we are in the U.S. The simple fact is many nations want to steal our technological secrets, even companies spy on each other to try and get a leg up on the competition. It has nothing to do with the Middle East. In this case, Israel has a well-earned reputation of having one of the most active spy networks in the U.S., but so does China, Turkey, Russia and a few others. The FBI likely went ahead with the sting operation because they found out this guy, in particular, had a pattern of behavior that showed 'favor' to a foreign nation, or perhaps because he had certain interests that would tie him to Israel or Israeli nationals.

    He wasn't approached is the most likely answer. Also, that was probably not the place or time to do it, too much exposure there.

    It looks like there were a few indications/patterns of behavior/personal history that may have aroused their interests. But based on what I read so far, Israel was not involved in any way, let alone aware of the investigation.

    If you read the quotes mentioned in the article, he seemed to be expecting the 'Mossad' to get in touch, eventually. And when 'they' did (obviously a fake Mossad agent here) that provided him with the opportunity, and he was willing to do it for seemingly little reward/a small favor (likely an indication that he would have done it anyways without much of a material incentive). But it seems like the FBI had legitimate concerns and they followed up on what they considered to be suspicious behavior. If you remember the Dallas terrorism case from a few weeks back, that Jordanian kid was all over the Internet expressing his desire to carry out an attack on the U.S. So he had the intent, and a sting operation was the logical next step. In this case, the sting operation was probably a logical next step/maneuver as well, given the man's background (his employment history, him taking sensitive material while traveling overseas, etc). They may have deduced from his actions/past history that he was at least willing to consider giving up or selling classified information to a foreign government. It is how these investigations usually start. Of course, holding a security clearance and working with highly sensitive information puts a person under enormous scrutiny, and rightfully so.
     
  6. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    The dude was going to sell us out for thousands of dollars? If you're going to be a traitor, you could at least be decent enough to get fair market value.
     
  7. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    I'm guessing that was presented as a down payment for future info.
     
  8. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    Am looking over this guy's publications -- he really was an accomplished dude.

    What a piece of crap citizen and human being.
     
  9. ghettocheeze

    ghettocheeze Member

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    I don't get it, didn't we arms the Israelis with nukes allready?

    Does it matter?

    We have given them every single piece of equipment in their arsenal and yet we are worried they're going to steal from us what they shall receive anyway?
     
  10. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Member
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    They don't get everything we have. They certainly didn't get nuclear research from us. The airplanes and helicopters we sell them have second-tier guidance systems, etc. making them not equal with our best stuff.

    But generally, I think there are lots of countries who would steal from the USA if they could. Certanly, plenty have. The story here, IMO, is more the willingness of Jewish American citizens to sell classified secrets to Israel and feel "good" about it, than the fact that Israel would take them. To me, it is kind of the same thing with the way that Irish Americans used to be so gung-ho about supporting the IRA while they were involved in terrorist bombings all over England. Someone like Jonathan Pollard is still considered a "hero" among some pro-Israeli Americans, which boggles the mind.
     
  11. Ari

    Ari Member

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    Unfortunately much of this is true and has always been true with immigrant communities here in America, and its not just the Jews as you mentioned with the Irish and other instances. Affinity to a perceived ethnic homeland I think is one of the biggest obstacles to American nationhood. I think that is why the more we muddy the ethnic pool the better it will be for all of us down the line. We basically need to follow Brazil's example. I really think the Europeans have it right, ethnic communities must assimilate or it threatens the very foundation of the nation-state. Divided or shared loyalties is something that a state should not tolerate. This is also why I think our government should ban dual citizenship of any kind.
     
  12. arno_ed

    arno_ed Member

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    I believe that what he did is bad, and worthy of scorn. However personally I think starting unjust wars and thereby killing thousends of people is even worse.
     
  13. conquistador#11

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    Spying? mossad? I think i saw this one on NCIS. =)
     
  14. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Good to see you pop into D&D again, tiger. Don't be a stranger! As for the scientist, I hope they throw the book at him.
     
  15. F.D. Khan

    F.D. Khan Member

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    So no repurcussions for a country we give billions to and sacrifice our world reputation for when they try to steal our secrets?

    We've got our own problems. These people will be fighting over sand in the desert a thousand years from now and we don't need to get involved. We give billions annually to Egypt, Jordan, Israel etc. This needs to end.
     
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  16. Kwame

    Kwame Member

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    Where are all those hardcore supporters and apologists of Israel at in this thread?
     
  17. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Member

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    ::sighs::

    Let me say it again, perhaps it will register this time: Israeli agents were NOT involved in any way, shape or form in this particular case...the facts we have don't implicate the state of Israel in anything. The only guilty party here is the scientist who attempted to pass on classified information to an FBI agent/informant POSING as Mossad. So lets keep the Israel bashing out of this thread, please.

    Here is an older story about two former State Dept employees who took it upon themselves to spy for Cuba:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5546CA20090605

    Foreign countries do not necessarily recruit spies based on their ethnic backgrounds or any perceived 'affinity' to an ethnic homeland (e.g. Israel recruiting Jewish-Americans, Cuba recruiting Cuban-Americans, or China recruiting Chinese-Americans). In some cases, it is more advantageous to recruit someone who would not be unnecessarily scrutinized because of his/her ethnic background (e.g. Chinese- or Muslim-Americans) or place of birth (naturalized citizens, for instance). Our enemies (and increasingly, unfortunately, our 'friends') know how to play the game, and it would be to the detriment of our counterintelligence efforts if we followed such narrow-minded logic, we already know from past instances that it could be just about anyone, given the right circumstances. The cases of Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames come to mind.
     
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  18. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Member

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  19. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Member

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    Response/commentary from some Jewish-American leaders on the arrest of Nozette.


    Steve Rosen: CIA, FBI paranoid about Mossad

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256037270857&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer

    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.
     
  20. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    Isn't it a given for any spy that they would never get linked back to whoever they were spying for?

    I'm not saying I know who's involved. In fact, personally, I believe this guy was probably framed for something else altogether.

    I'm just saying the inability to link it back to any country is a fairly worthless statement. In fact, the fact that it was so high up (highest level of clearance) indicates to me that no party would leave behind any link unless they were absolutely idiotic.

    IMO, any spy, when captured (for the last 30 years AT LEAST) cannot be linked back to a country unless:

    - It is assumed based on race.
    - It is assumed based on the info gathered.

    Because even if the captured spy makes a statement admitting something, the other party will never admit it. Furthermore, this is a SPY - it's not like we can put any value on them telling the truth. How easy is it for an Iranian spy to forge an Arab passport, etc and blame the whole thing on an Arab country when caught?

    Me thinks we are underestimating the capabilities of governments and their spies.
     

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