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Friday, January 22, 2010

Here we go again: American Jew indicted for spying for Israel

I hesitate to even run this story because I don't want to contribute to the hysteria surrounding it. As I noted in the past, the FBI and the CIA have a paranoia about the Mossad spying on them dating back to the Jonathan Pollard case. But ignoring it isn't going to make it go away so....

Stewart David Nozette of Chevy Chase Maryland, who was arrested in October and charged with attempting to spy for Israel has now been indicted for what Haaretz is describing as spying for Israel. Note the difference between what was reported in October and what is being reported now - according to Haaretz, the court documents reveal much more about a connection between Nozette and executives at Israel Aircraft Industries than what has previously been revealed.
Two attorneys in the counterespionage unit of the U.S. Department's of Justice National Security division, Deborah Curtis and Heather Schmidt, presented documents found on the scientist's computer. One document, titled "Proposed Operations for 2005-2006," referred to the need to carry out "a penetration of NASA," the U.S. space agency.

Another document, according to the prosecution, shows Nozette attempted to obtain highly confidential material by using his high-level security clearance and infiltrating other people's computers.

Other documents mention the names of Yossi Weiss and Yossi Fishman. Weiss is a former project manager and today the deputy CEO of IAI and head of the company's missile and space division. Fishman was the IAI's representative in the U.S. and is today the CEO of ODF Optronics.

Fishman told Haaretz he knew Nozette the way he knew other Americans employed by the IAI at the time as consultants. "We did not engage in any kind of spying activity or information gathering, perish the thought. The relationship was business as usual."

The IAI is not mentioned specifically by name in the documents. It is referred to as a foreign company or as a space company owned by the Israeli government." Background talks with administration officials indicate the references are indeed to IAI.
So while Nozette was apparently arrested as a result of a 'sting operation' (described elsewhere in the Haaretz article as well as here), the US government is now claiming that in fact he had spied, although I see nothing in this article that actually claims that he passed the information he obtained to IAI or that IAI knowingly accepted that stolen information.
The indictment and the documents indicate that Nozette was employed for nine years as an IAI consultant. Versions vary as to how much he was paid, from $170,000 to $225,000. His direct superior was Israel Aircraft Industries International, a U.S.-registered company.

The FBI searched Nozette's home and computer and found additional proof of his connection to Israel. He visited here several times, but did not report this - as is required by his high security clearance. The FBI confiscated letters he wrote to Israelis, reports he forwarded to the IAI, a map of Israel, photos of assorted places in Israel, a Hebrew-language catalog of archaeological artifacts and other items.
All of which means that he violated his security clearance by visiting Israel and not reporting it, but probably not a whole lot else. There's nothing wrong with being employed as a consultant by a foreign company so long as you don't use your security clearance to pass them information that it is illegal to pass on to them. On the other hand, it was reported in October that Nozette had passed classified information to Israel. This doesn't look good.


At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Nozette definately Jewish? I remember reading at the time he was caught that he wasn't? I could be wrong.


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