Friday, May 27, 2016
List of Chinese Spy Cases in the US
Larry Wu-Tai Chin worked in the U.S. intelligence community for nearly 35 years while providing China with classified information.Chin was recruited as a spy by a Chinese Communist official in 1948; an interpreter at the U.S. consulate in Shanghai, he was later hired by the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service. After he became an American citizen in 1965 he was transferred to Arlington, Virginia, where he had access to reports from intelligence agents abroad and translations of documents acquired by CIA officers in China. Chin sold classified National Intelligence Estimates pertaining to China and Southeast Asia to China, enabling the country to discover weaknesses in its intelligence agencies and compromise U.S. intelligence activities in the region. He provided sensitive information about Richard Nixon’s plans for normalizing relations with China two years before the president visited the country. In February 1986, Chin was convicted of 17 counts of espionage, conspiracy and tax evasion.
In 1982 FBI special agent James Smith recruited Katrina Leung, a 28-year-old Chinese immigrant, to work in Chinesecounterintelligence. Leung, a prominent business consultant, was valued for her contacts with high-level Chinese officials. Smith and Leung became involved in a sexual relationship lasting nearly two decades. At this time, Smith made classified documents available to Leung; she copied them, providing China with information on nuclear, military and political issues. Another FBI agent, William Cleveland, also became sexually involved with Leung.
Lee, a physicist born in China who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and later for TRW Inc., pleaded guilty to lying on security-clearance forms and passing classified national-defense information to Chinese scientists on business trips to Beijing. He compromised classified weapons information, microwave submarine-detection technology and other national-defense data, and the Department of Energy later concluded that his disclosure of classified information "was of significant material assistance to the PRC in their nuclear weapons development program ... This analysis indicated that Dr. Lee's activities have directly enhanced the PRC nuclear weapons program to the detriment of U.S. national security."
Chi Mak is a Chinese-born engineer who worked for L-3 Communications, a California-based defense contractor, as a support engineer on Navy quiet-drive propulsion technology. According to recovered documents, he was instructed by his Chinese contacts to join "more professional associations and participate in more seminars with 'special subject matters' and to compile special conference materials on disk". He was instructed to gather information on space-based electromagnetic intercept systems, space-launched magnetic-levitation platforms, electromagnetic gun or artillery systems, submarine torpedoes, electromagnetic launch systems, aircraft carrier electronic systems, water-jet propulsion, ship submarine propulsion, power-system configuration technology, weapons-system modularization, technologies to defend against nuclear attack, shipboard electromagnetic motor systems, shipboard internal and external communications systems and information on the next generation of U.S. destroyers. He copied and sent sensitive documents on U.S. Navy ships, submarines and weapons to China by courier. In 2008, he was sentenced to a 24-year prison term for espionage. 1⁄2
In May 2006, Ko-Suen (Bill) Moo pleaded guilty to being a covert agent of China. Moo attempted to purchase United States military equipment to send to China when he was arrested by undercover United States agents. Some of the equipment included an F-16 fighter jet engine, an AGM-129A cruise missile, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter engines and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles.
Wen Ho Lee is a Taiwanese-American scientist who worked for the University of California at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He created simulations of nuclear explosions for the purpose of scientific inquiry and to improve the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In December 1999, a federal grand jury indicted him of stealing secrets about the arsenal for China.
After federal investigators could not prove the initial accusations, the government conducted a separate investigation. It could only charge Lee with improper handling of restricted data, part of the original 59-count indictment to which he pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain. In June 2006, Lee received $1.6 million from the federal government and five media organizations as partial settlement of a civil suit he filed against them for leaking his name to the press before charges were filed against him. According to Lee, federal judge James A. Parker apologized for denying him bail and putting him in solitary confinement.
Fei Ye, a U.S. citizen; and Ming Zhong, a permanent resident of the United States; were arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on November 23, 2001. They were accused of stealing trade secrets in designing a computer microprocessor to benefit China, although prosecutors did not allege that the Chinese government knew of their activities. In December 2002, they were charged with a total of ten counts, including conspiracy; economic espionage; possession of stolen trade secrets; and foreign transportation of stolen property. In 2006 (five years after their arrest), they pleaded guilty to two counts each of economic espionage. In 2008, they were sentenced to a year in prison. The maximum sentence is 30 years however prosecutors asked for less because of their cooperation. The case resulted in the first convictions under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.
Bo Jiang, a researcher working on "source code for high technology imaging" at NASA's Langley Research Center, was arrested for lying to a federal officer on March 16, 2013 at Washington Dulles International Airport before returning to China. Jiang allegedly told the FBI that he was carrying fewer computer storage devices than he was. He was accused of espionage by Representative Frank Wolf, and was investigated for possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act. An affidavit said that Jiang had previously brought a NASA laptop with sensitive information to China.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard ordered Jiang released after a federal prosecutor acknowledged that there was no evidence that he possessed sensitive, secret or classified material. According to Jiang's lawyer, Fernando Groene — a former federal prosecutor who practices out of Williamsburg, Wolf made a "scapegoat" of his client. On May 2, Jiang was cleared in federal court of the felony charge of lying to federal investigators.
Hua Jun Zhao, 42, was accused of stealing a cancer-research compound from a Medical College of Wisconsin office in Milwaukee in an attempt to deliver it to Zhejiang University, according to an FBI agent’s March 29, 2013 affidavit. Presiding judge Charles N. Clevert found no evidence that "Zhao had intended to defraud or cause any loss to Medical College of Wisconsin, or even to make money for himself". Zhao was convicted for "accessing a computer without authorization and obtaining information worth more than $5,000" for accessing his research on university-owned computers after school officials seized his own laptop, portable memory devices and papers.
In July 2014, Walter Lian-Heen Liew (aka Liu Yuanxuan) was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for violations of the Economic Espionage Act, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, and obstruction of justice. Liew was convicted in March 2014 on each of the twenty counts charged. His company was found by the jury to steal trade secrets from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company to state-owned companies of China, Pangang Group companies.
Two former Eli Lilly and Co. employees, Guoqing Cao and Shuyu Li, were arrested in Oct 2013 under the charges of theft and conspiracy to commit theft involving drugs that Lilly was developing. The indictment alleged Cao and Li emailed sensitive experimental drug information worth $55 Million to a competing Chinese drug company. U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett and his deputy, Cynthia Ridgeway characterized the case as "a crime against the nation" and called the defendants as "traitors". In December, 2014, the U.S. attorney's office dropped charges "in the interests of justice".
Xiafen "Sherry" Chen, 59, was a hydrologist for the federal government in Ohio. She was falsely accused of spying and arrested in October 2014. She was originally charged with four felonies, including that she had illegally downloaded data about national infrastructure and made false statement of telling federal agents that she last seen a Chinese official in 2011, not 2012. Five months later (in March 2015), persuaded by a lawyer, Peter R. Zeidenberg, a partner at Arent Fox in Washington, prosecutors dropped all charges against Mrs. Chen without explanation.
In May 2015, the United States Department of Justice accused Temple University professor Xiaoxing Xi of sending restricted American technology to China, specifically, the design of a pocket heater used in superconductor research. Xi was arrested by about a dozen FBIagents at his home, and faced charges carrying a maximum penalty of 80 years in prison and a $1 million fine. In September 2015, however, the DOJ dropped all charges against him after leading scientists, including a co-inventor of the pocket heater, providedaffidavits that the schematics that Xi shared with Chinese scientists were not restricted technology, and not for a pocket heater.According to Xi's lawyer Peter Zeidenberg, the government did not understand the complicated science and failed to consult with experts before arresting him. He said that the information Xi shared, as part of "typical academic collaboration", was about a different device, which Xi co-invented and is not restricted technology.