Chinese National Accused of Transporting USAF Program Information
Dec. 9, 2014 – 04:42PM |
By AARON MEHTA | Comments
A Chinese national working for a ‘major defense contractor’ is accused of carrying sensitive proprietary information on titanium used in a US Air Force program.
A Chinese national working for a ‘major defense contractor’ is accused of carrying sensitive proprietary information on titanium used in a US Air Force program. (US Air Force)
Asia & Pacific Rim
WASHINGTON — A Chinese national has been arrested while carrying sensitive proprietary information on titanium used in a US Air Force program, most likely the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to the US attorney for the District of Connecticut.
Yu Long, a 36-year-old former resident of New Haven, was arrested on Nov. 7. The case had been sealed until Tuesday’s announcement. He has been charged with “transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion or fraud,” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
See an interactive map of the F-35 program.
The story begins in August, when Long was stopped by customs during a return flight from China and allegedly found to be in “possession of $10,000 in undeclared US 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,” according to the complaint.
Long was allowed back into the country and attempted to travel back to China on Nov. 5. During a layover at Newark, customs officials searched his baggage and allegedly found “sensitive, proprietary and export controlled documents from another major defense contractor, located outside the state of Connecticut (“Company B”).”
Between August 2008 and May 2014, Long was employed by a “major defense contractor” in Connecticut. Although the complaint refers to that company only as “Company A,” the job application found in customs included claims Long had worked on the F119 and F135 engines — used in the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, respectively, and both produced by Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney.
A source with knowledge of the situation said Long was an employee at United Technologies Research Center, part of United Technologies — the parent company of Pratt & Whitney. A company spokesman said the company is “fully cooperating with the government’s investigation,” but “because it is an ongoing investigation, we have no comment at this time.”
“Company B” is most likely Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-22 and F-35. A Lockheed spokesman said the company is “cooperating with the government’s investigation into this matter,” but referred further questions to the Justice Department.
The complaint says government investigators later determined that Company B had shared technical data with Company A in order to find mutual cost-savings on development of the titanium, and that Long has printed out that information despite multiple warnings that the data was proprietary and protected.
Given the companies involved and his expertise, the information was very likely related to the F-35. China has long been suspected of corporate espionage on Lockheed Martin, something only reinforced by the striking resemblance between its J-31 fighter and the F-35.
If Long was indeed trying to smuggle technical data on the F-35 to China, it would mark the second such known incident of 2014. In January, another former Pratt employee was arrested after allegedly trying to ship “numerous boxes of documents consisting of sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, and other proprietary material for the F-35” to Iran.
Representatives for the F-35 Joint Program Office could not be immediately reached for comment.