China es­pi­onage

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Chi­nese mil­i­tary intelligence col­lec­tors scored a re­cent coup in steal­ing valu­able U.S. sim­u­la­tion tech­nol­ogy that will boost Bei­jing’s com­bat train­ing.

Xiaodong Shel­don Meng, 42, a for­mer Bei­jing res­i­dent, pleaded guilty Aug. 1 in Cal­i­for­nia to il­le­gally pro­vid­ing China’s mil­i­tary with em­bar­goed soft­ware used in air force and navy train­ing.

Meng also pleaded guilty to steal­ing pro­pri­etary cor­po­rate tech­nol­ogy known as “Man­tis” while work­ing for the San Jose­based Quan­tum3D Inc., and at­tempt­ing to sell it to China’s Navy Re­search Cen­ter.

Prose­cu­tors said Meng vi­o­lated arms ex­port con­trol laws by sell­ing China’s mil­i­tary what is called “viXsen” source code, a Quan­tum3D prod­uct con­trolled for ex­port as a de­fense ar­ti­cle. The soft­ware is used in “vis­ual sim­u­la­tion soft­ware pro­gram used for train­ing mil­i­tary fighter pi­lots.”

Meng also il­le­gally in­stalled a copy of Quan­tum3D’s “Man­tis” sim­u­la­tion soft­ware on a Chi­nese navy site and altered the code to make it ap­pear as though it be­longed to a com­peti­tor. The soft­ware was part of a sales demon­stra­tion project for the Chi­nese pro­duced by Meng.

“This con­vic­tion, the first in the na­tion for il­le­gal ex­ports of mil­i­tary-re­lated source code, demon­strates the im­por­tance of safe­guard­ing our na­tion’s mil­i­tary se­crets and should serve no­tice to oth­ers who would com­pro­mise our na­tional se­cu­rity for profit,” said Ken­neth L. Wain­stein, as­sis­tant at­tor­ney gen­eral for na­tional se­cu­rity. “This case is the latest ev­i­dence of the de­part­ment’s en­hanced in­ves­tiga­tive and pros­e­cu­to­rial ef­forts to keep Amer­ica’s crit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy from fall­ing into the wrong hands.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said Meng stole soft­ware that is “de­signed for pre­ci­sion train­ing of mil­i­tary fighter pi­lots in night vi­sion sce­nar­ios, among other ap­pli­ca­tions.”

U.S. of­fi­cials said the com­pro­mise could be more ex­ten­sive than out­lined by prose­cu­tors be­cause Quan­tum3D pro­duces mainly mil­i­tary prod­ucts, in­clud­ing day and night com­bat train­ing sim­u­la­tors, and ad­vanced in­frared, elec­tro-op­ti­cal and night vi­sion gog­gle de­vices.

“The soft­ware stolen by Meng will im­prove the PLA’s abil­ity to achieve more so­phis­ti­cated mil­i­tary sim­u­la­tion for train­ing and mis­sion plan­ning pur­poses, that is, to help them to bet­ter kill us,” said Richard Fisher, a spe­cial­ist at the In­ter­na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter, re­fer­ring to the acro­nym for China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army.

The soft­ware ac­qui­si­tion is part of a large-scale Chi­nese mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy col­lec­tion pro­gram tar­get­ing the United States. China is in the process of build­ing up its mil­i­tary forces with the goal of chal­leng­ing the United States in any con­flict over Tai­wan. The buildup in­cludes ac­qui­si­tion of ad­vanced Rus­sian fighter bombers as well as new in­dige­nous J-10 fight­ers.

The Pen­tagon’s an­nual re­port on China’s mil­i­tary power said such il­le­gal soft­ware ac­qui­si­tions are part of China’s “ag­gres­sive and wide-rang­ing es­pi­onage” that poses “the lead­ing threat to U.S. tech­nol­ogy.” The tech­nol­ogy is “vi­tal for the [Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s] trans­for­ma­tion into an in­for­ma­tion-based, net­work-cen­tric force,” the re­port stated, not­ing more than 400 U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­lated to China since 2000.

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