Defense Contractor charged with trying to take US military documents to China

(Reuters) A former Connecticut resident and Chinese citizen who allegedly worked on the F135 engine was charged with trying to take sensitive documents about military technology to China, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday.

Yu Long was en route to China in November via Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey where customs officers found proprietary documents in his luggage that included equations and test results used to develop titanium for U.S. military aircraft, prosecutors said.

Yu Long was arrested two days later in Ithaca, New York.

U.S. defense officials have sounded the alarm in recent years about increased efforts by China, Russia and other countries to gain access to U.S. military technologies.

Between 2008 and earlier this year, Yu Long worked as a senior engineer for a Connecticut defense contractor. He had said he worked on the F119 and F135 engines, which are used in U.S. fighter aircraft and manufactured by United Technologies Corp.

Yu Long worked for the United Technologies Research Center, which does research for the conglomerate, a source familiar with the case said. He was let go in May when the probe began, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly. . . . (read more)

AFFIDAVITUS v Long Yu (pdf)

Former Connecticut Resident Charged with Attempting to Travel to China with Stolen U.S. Military Program Documents (FBI press release)

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that YU LONG, 36, formerly of New Haven, Conn., has been arrested and charged with attempting to travel to China with sensitive proprietary documents that set forth detailed equations and test results used in the development of technologically advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft.

The documents were taken from a Connecticut defense contractor where LONG had been employed.

LONG was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on November 7, 2014 at a residence in Ithaca, N.Y., after he had attempted, two days earlier, to fly to China from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, in the possession

LONG appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport, Conn., who ordered the criminal complaint to be unsealed and LONG to remain in custody.

As alleged in the complaint affidavit and in statements made in court, LONG holds Chinese citizenship and is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

From approximately August 2008 to May 2014, LONG worked as a Senior Engineer/Scientist at a research and development center for a major defense contractor in Connecticut (“Company A”).

Both during and after his employment there, LONG traveled to the People’s Republic of China.

Most recently, on August 19, 2014, LONG returned to the U.S. from China through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and, during a secondary inspection screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, LONG was found in the possession of $10,000.00 in undeclared U.S. cash, registration documents for a new corporation being set up in China, and a largely completed application for work with a state-controlled aviation and aerospace research center in China.

The application materials highlighted certain of LONG’s work history and experiences that he claimed to have obtained while employed at Company A, including work on F119 and F135 engines. The F119 engine is employed by the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft, and the F135 engine is employed by the U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

According to the criminal complaint and statements made in court, on November 5, 2014, LONG boarded a flight from Ithaca to Newark Liberty International Airport, with a final destination of China.

During LONG’s layover in Newark, CBP officers inspected LONG’s checked baggage and discovered that it contained, among other things, sensitive, proprietary and export controlled documents from another major defense contractor, located outside the state of Connecticut (“Company B”).

Further investigation determined that the U.S. Air Force had convened a consortium of major defense contractors, including Company A and Company B, to work together to see whether they could collectively lower the costs of certain metals used. As part of those efforts, members of the consortium shared technical data, subject to stringent restrictions on further dissemination.

Company B reviewed the Company B documents found in LONG’s possession at Newark Liberty Airport and confirmed that it provided the documents to Company A as part of the consortium.

Company B further confirmed that LONG was never an employee of Company B.

A review of Company A computer records indicated that LONG had printed the documents while employed at Company A. The documents bore warnings that they contained sensitive, proprietary and export controlled material, which could not be copied or communicated to a third party.

Moreover, since 1989, the U.S. has imposed a prohibition upon the export to China of all U.S. defense articles and associated technical data as a result of the conduct in June 1989 at Tiananmen Square by the military of the People’s Republic of China.

The complaint charges LONG with transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion, or fraud. The charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Haven in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations in New Haven and Newark. U.S. Attorney Daly also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Ithaca, Syracuse and Newark, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service in New York and Newark, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of New York and the District of New Jersey, for their efforts and assistance in this matter.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Reynolds and Krishna Patel of the District of Connecticut, and Trial Attorney Brian Fleming of the Justice Department’s Counterespionage Section (CES).

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Former UTC Scientist Charged With Trying To Take Sensitive Files To China (Hartford Courant)

. . . Long is the second former United Technologies employee accused this year of trying to take export-controlled documents to another country. In January, federal authorities arrested a former Pratt & Whitney engineer who they say attempted to ship to Iran thousands of pages of technical documents, some relating to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. That case is pending.

Long worked with Pratt & Whitney’s additive manufacturing and casting processes, according to an online biography posted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers on its website after the group recognized him for an award.

Long’s work history touched on the F119 engine used in the F-22 Raptor and the F135 engine used in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, according to the criminal complaint.

Long, 36, lived in New Haven until recently moving to Ithaca to live with his girlfriend, officials said. He holds Chinese citizenship and is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Long, in an interview at Newark Liberty International Airport, where he was connecting to a flight to China, said the documents were publicly available online and provided the links that he used to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were unable to locate the documents online, the complaint said.

The second company, an out-of-state company referred to as Company B in the criminal complaint, and the U.S. Air Force, which launched the metals consortium, estimate the value of the documents to be as much as $50 million. . . . (read more)


Judge Refuses To Release Suspect In Iran Documents Case (Hartford Courant, 2 July 2014)

A federal judge Wednesday denied a motion to release a former Pratt & Whitney engineer facing trial on charges of trying to send sensitive documents to Iran regarding the U.S. military’s latest tactical aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel concluded that the details of the case and the potential punishment for Mozaffar Khazaee, 59, render him too great a flight risk, even if he were to wear an electronic tracking bracelet and deposit $50,000 with the court’s clerk.

Khazaee “has very good reason to leave the country,” Garfinkel said. “In fact, it would almost be irrational for him not to attempt to leave, under the circumstances. … This is a case that the flight risk is way too high.”

In January, authorities arrested Khazaee at Newark International Airport in New Jersey as he was boarding a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, where he planned to connect to a flight to Tehran, Iran, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. He was found with $60,000 in his carry-on — money prosecutors have seized and the defense says was to pay for medical care for Khazaee’s mother in Iran. . . . (read more)

Former Connecticut Resident Indicted for Attempting to Ship Sensitive Military Documents to Iran (FBI press release, 21 Jan 2014)

Threats are Out There