US Scientist Charged with Attempted Spying for Israel.
A top American scientist who once worked for the Pentagon and the space age= ncy NASA was arrested Monday and charged with attempted spying for Israel, = the Department of Justice said.
Stewart David Nozette, 52, developed an experiment that fueled the discover= y of water on the south pole of the moon, and previously held special secur= ity clearance at the Department of Energy on atomic materials, the DOJ said.
He is charged with "attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempt= ing to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating t= o the national defense of the United States to an individual that Nozette b= elieved to be an Israeli intelligence officer," the DOJ said.
Nozette had been dealing with an FBI undercover agent in a sting operation,= the department said, adding there was no wrongdoing by Israel.
Nozette, who was arrested in the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland= and taken into custody, could make his first court appearance Tuesday on t= he charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
"The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious and should serve as a war= ning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation's secrets for pro= fit," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security.
In addition to stints with NASA and the Department of Energy, Nozette worke= d at the White House on the National Space Council under then-president Geo= rge H.W. Bush in 1989 and 1990. "From 1989 through 2006, Nozette held secur= ity clearances as high as top secret and had regular, frequent access to cl= assified information and documents related to the US national defense," the= Justice Department said.
In early September, Nozette received a phone call from a person "purporting= to be an Israeli intelligence officer, but who was in fact an undercover e= mployee of the FBI," the DOJ said.
"Nozette met with the UCE (undercover employee) that day and discussed his = willingness to work for Israeli intelligence," informing the agent that "he= had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to US satell= ite information." The scientist offered to "answer questions about this inf= ormation in exchange for money."
Over the next several weeks, Nozette and the undercover agent exchanged env= elopes of money for answers to lists of questions about US satellite techno= logy. "In addition, Nozette allegedly offered to reveal additional classifi= ed information that directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraf= t or satellites, and other major weapons systems," DOJ said.
FBI agents retrieved a manila envelope left by Nozette in a designated loca= tion this month that "contained information classified as both top secret a= nd secret that concerned US satellites, early warning systems, means of def= ense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence= information, and major elements of defense strategy."