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July 2, 2004
Chinese Continue Their Espionage

The government announced yesterday that it had arrested seven people for the illegal transfer of sensitive military technology and material to the People's Republic of China through contacts in Hong Kong. The Washington Post reports that the suspects sent systems like smart bombs and electronic warfare equipment to what the suspects had tried to pass off as an American-owned company:

Federal agents arrested seven people yesterday in two suburban New Jersey towns and charged them with exporting millions of dollars' worth of sensitive military technology and components to China. The arrests were the latest in a crackdown on what authorities believe is a clandestine network purchasing weapons technology across the United States for the communist power.

The men and women arrested yesterday are connected to two companies and are accused of sending the Chinese military several shipments of weapons systems, including radar, smart bombs, electronic warfare and communications equipment. According to the complaints, the items were routed through Hong Kong by various means, and the defendants tried to conceal their activities by identifying the receiver as a U.S. corporation. ...

Agents also seized $76,000 in cash during the arrests, at the homes and businesses of the defendants in Mount Laurel and Cherry Hill. All seven defendants made an initial court appearance in Camden, N.J., yesterday and were charged with one count each of conspiracy, wire fraud and violation of the Export Administration Act, which requires exporters of military items to register and obtain a license from the State Department. The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $1.2 million in fines. Five of the suspects are naturalized U.S. citizens of Chinese origin, and two others, also Chinese, are permanent legal residents who risk deportation.

Color me surprised! We managed to let in more people who want to damage the security of the US, only at least this group did it the old-fashioned way rather than the modern method of killing civilians by the thousands. As far as I'm concerned, all seven of them should be deported if found guilty. Receiving naturalization gives no one the right to spy against their adopted country, and applying for citizenship just to get access to sensitive military technology to sell it to those who may use it against us should be grounds for revocation.

I find it interesting that the government has not yet charged them with espionage but instead with more techical felonies regarding technology transfers. As the Post notes, this is one set of arrests in a series of investigations regarding transfers of military secrets to the PRC. Is the State Department putting pressure on Homeland Security to dial down the charges in order to avoid embarrassing the Chinese government by revealing their extensive espionage efforts against America? After all, they appear to be the main customer, and since their military industry remains nationalized, no one can pretend the technology goes anywhere else. Could this be State's quid pro quo for putting pressure on North Korea?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 2, 2004 5:42 AM

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