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Counterespionage agents for the United States government are reporting that the nations cited most often as stealing – or trying to steal – U.S. military equipment and technology are China and Iran.
The report comes from Judicial Watch, the Washington public-interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.
The organization says it filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department records concerning incidents of theft of sensitive U.S. military equipment and technology.
The documents from the Justice Department’s National Security Division included a report titled “Significant Export Control Cases Since September 2001”, which was written by the Counterespionage Section and lists a series of cases.
Judicial Watch said the report, labeled “For Official Use Only,” reported Iran was cited for 31 cases between Sept. 29, 2001, just after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and May 16, 2008.
China was cited for 20 cases.
Among the situations that were documented:
- “U.S. v. Eugene Hsu, et al.” (9/21/01): Eugene Hsu, David Chang and Wing Chang were charged with “Conspiracy and an attempt to export military encryption units to China through Singapore.” All received guilty verdicts; however, Wing Chang is still listed as a fugitive.
- “U.S. v. Avassapian” (12/03): Sherzhik Avassapian was a Tehran-based broker working for the Iranian Ministry of Defense when he attempted to “solicit and inspect F-14 fighter components, military helicopters and C-130 aircraft, which he intended to ship to Iran via Italy.” Avassapian pled guilty to issuing false statements.
- “U.S. v. Kwonhwan Park” (11/04): Kwonhwan Park was charged with “Exporting Black Hawk engine parts and other military items to China.” Pled guilty and sentenced to 32 months in prison.
- “U.S. v. Ghassemi, et al.” (10/06): Iranian national Jamshid Ghassemi and Aurel Fratila were charged with “Conspiracy to export munition list items – including accelerometers and gyroscopes for missiles and spacecraft – to Iran without a license.” Ghassemi and Fratila are at large in Thailand and Romania respectively. Justice is currently seeking their deportation.
Judicial Watch said last October, the Department of Justice announced that criminal charges had been issued against more than 145 defendants in the previous fiscal year.
More than 40 percent of the cases involved weaponry, ammunition or other restricted technology intended for China or Iran, Judicial Watch said.
“These documents show that Iran and China have concerted efforts to obtain U.S. military technology in violation of our laws,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“The Obama administration needs to maintain vigilance against the illegal efforts of enemies such as Iran to obtain our sensitive technologies,” he said.
His organization said items sought by Iran include missile-guidance systems, Improvised Explosive Device components, military airplane parts, night-vision systems, and products desired by China have included rocket-launch data, Space Shuttle technology, missile information, naval-warship specifications and drone technology.