APRIL 24, 2007
A Muslim engineer caught taking secret information from the nation’s largest nuclear plant to Iran has simply been charged with violating the trade embargo because federal authorities insist he has no terrorist ties.
In 16 years as an engineer at the triple-reactor Palo Verde power plant in Arizona, Mohammed Alavi had complete access to highly classified information. Last week he was caught taking computer access codes and software to Iran and using it to download details of plant reactors.
The software provided access to specifics on the various control rooms and layout. In the wrong hands, the information could easily be used to commit a massive terrorist attack. The huge plant is located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix and it supplies electricity to about 4 million residents in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation assures, however, that there is no indication the stolen classified nuclear information was intended for terrorist activity because Alavi has no terrorist ties. Furthermore, federal authorities maintain that the information did not go to the Iranian government, an enemy of the United States which has defied the world with its nuclear program.
This is why Alavi, a naturalized United States citizen, was simply charged with violating the U.S. Trade Embargo, which prohibits Americans from exporting goods and services to various countries including Iran. One blogger sarcastically questions the lesser charges, writing that if Alavi is not linked to the Iranian government, then who? The soccer team.
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