Top sci­en­tist ‘is Is­rael spy’

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY PAUL BERGER NEW YORK

AN AP­PAR­ENTLY JEWISH sci­en­tist was charged this week with at­tempt­ing to sell classified se­crets to Is­rael.

Ste­wart Nozette, 52, of Mary­land, was caught in a sting op­er­a­tion by an FBI agent pos­ing as an Is­raeli spy. He twice passed classified in­for­ma­tion to the agent over sev­eral weeks.

Mr Nozette ap­peared in court on Tues­day, ac­cused of two counts of at­tempt­ing to com­mu­ni­cate, de­liver and trans­mit classified in­for­ma­tion. If con­victed he faces life in jail.

As­sis­tant US at­tor­ney An­thony Asun­cion told the court that Mr Nozette had ac­cess to some of Amer­ica’s “most guarded se­crets”.

Un­til 2006, Mr Nozette had held a com­mon but cov­eted top se­cret clear­ance with the US gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing the 1990s, he worked at the US En­ergy Depart­ment on non-mil­i­tary applications of the Star Wars mis­sile shield pro­gramme. He had ac­cess to nu­clear and atomic-re­lated projects as well as in­for­ma­tion on satel­lites. He had even spo­ken at Pen­tagon brief­ings.

He also worked at Nasa, where he is cred­ited with help­ing to dis­cover wa­ter on the south pole of the moon. How­ever, a few years ago, Nasa be­came sus­pi­cious of his ex­pense claims.

Ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial quoted in the NYT, dur­ing that in­quiry “in­ves­ti­ga­tors found in­di­ca­tions he might be work­ing for a for­eign gov­ern­ment”.

Mr Nozette re­ceived about $225,000 be­tween 1998 and 2008 from an aero­space firm owned by the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment for whom he was a con­sul­tant.

Is­raeli me­dia have iden­ti­fied the firm as Is­rael Air­craft In­dus­tries, the largest com­pany in Is­rael, which, with Boe­ing, makes the Ar­row-2 anti-bal­lis­tic mis­sile in­ter­cep­tor Is­rael re­lies upon to de­fend against nu­clear at­tack.

Nasa’s sus­pi­cions sparked the FBI op­er­a­tion. The FBI agent met Mr Nozette at a Wash­ing­ton ho­tel and Mr Nozette agreed to pass on in­for­ma­tion in re­turn for money and an Is­raeli pass­port. Mr Nozette made two drops of in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing classified de­tails of a US over­head sur­veil­lance sys­tem.

The Is­raeli con­sulate in New York de­nied Is­rael had any in­volve­ment with Mr Nozette.

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