Iranian Working at US Defense Contractor Is Sentenced for Spying
October 24, 2015, 05:48 PM
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How stupid did Pratt & Whitney have to be to employ an Iranian engineer? Mozaffar Khazaee was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for attempting to carry sensitive material about the engines for the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor as he left for Iran. He was arrested at the Newark International Airport in January 2014.

Khazaee was raised in Iran and entered to this country to attend the University of Oklahoma, later earning a doctorate in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University. Interestingly, Washington doesn’t mind thousands of foreign students from unfriendly nations studying technology and other useful subjects. Literally hundreds of thousands of Chinese from the communist People’s Republic are currently taking valued college slots, along with quite a number of Saudis (thanks to some cheapie social engineering from George W. Bush a decade ago). This year saw a record number of foreign students attending American universities, where the full tuition checks are welcome.

It’s crazy to be equipping our enemies with top-notch educations that enable them to attack us more effectively. Bad guys can easily arrive as students and then stay. Or there’s the business ploy: Lou Dobbs mentioned in 2007, “Three thousand front companies we know of, Chinese front companies, trying to steal American industrial secrets, in addition to the effort to steal U.S. technology.”

Despite numerous espionage episodes from foreign students and workers, Washington continues to run our national immigration system as if America has no enemies in the world.

Back to Khazaee, who got a ridiculously light sentence — whatever happened to capital punishment for spies?

Ex-Pratt Engineer Given 8-Year Sentence For Attempt To Deliver Secrets To Iran, Hartford Courant, October 23, 2015

A former Pratt & Whitney engineer was sentenced to more than eight years in prison Friday for attempting to deliver what federal prosecutors called “highly sensitive” information about military jet engines to Iran.

Mozaffar Khazaee, 61, formerly of Manchester, was sentenced to 97 months and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant for violating the Arms Export Control Act.

Khazaee was accused of trying to send to Iran proprietary, trade-secret and export-controlled material relating to U.S. military jet engines, which he had stolen from Pratt and other U.S. defense contractors where he had worked. In addition to Pratt, Khazaee had been employed by General Electric and Rolls-Royce.

Bryant, at the urging of federal prosecutors, imposed a sentence that exceeded the 57- to 72-month sentence recommended by the advisory sentencing guidelines used in federal court.

“Violations of the Arms Export Control Act, particularly those involving attempts to transfer sensitive defense technology to a foreign power, are among the most significant national security threats we face, and we will continue to leverage the criminal justice system to prevent, confront, and disrupt them,” said John P. Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security.

Defense lawyer Hubert J. Santos of Hartford asked for a sentence below the guideline range, arguing, among other things, that, Khazaee “did not threaten or harm the security or foreign policy interest of the United States.”

Prosecutors said Khazaee, a dual citizen of Iran and the United States with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, offered proprietary and controlled information he stole from his U.S. employers to Iran in an effort to obtain a position with an Iranian university.

Beginning in 2009, he is accused of corresponding by email with an individual in Iran to whom he attempted to send, and in some cases did send, documents related to the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter program. In one email Khazaee asserted that the material he was delivering was “very controlled … and I am taking [a] big risk.” He told his Iranian correspondent to “delete everything immediately.”

Prosecutors said that a search of Khazaee’s computer storage devices revealed letters and application documents to technical universities in Iran. In those materials, he said that, as “lead engineer” in various projects with U.S. defense contractors, he had learned “key technique[s] that could be transferred to our own industry and universities.”

He said he wanted to “move to Iran,” that he was “looking for an opportunity to work in Iran,” and that he was interested in “transferring my skill and knowledge to my nation.”

While living in Connecticut in 2013, prosecutors said, Khazaee tried to send a shipping container to Iran that was packed with thousands of sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, test results, technical drawings and data and other proprietary material relating to U.S. military jet engines, including those relating to the U.S. Air Force’s F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and the F-22 Raptor.

Federal authorities intercepted the shipment.

Khazaee was arrested in January 2014 while trying to board a flight to Iran at Newark Liberty International Airport. A search of his luggage turned up more protected materials concerning jet engines and $59,945 in cash.

Prosecutors said that, had Khazaee succeeded in shipping the stolen materials, he would have enabled Iran to “leap forward” 10 years or more in academic and military turbine engine research and development.