Judicial Watch • Iran, China Lead the World in Stealing U.S. Military Technology According to Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch

Iran, China Lead the World in Stealing U.S. Military Technology According to Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch

Iran, China Lead the World in Stealing U.S. Military Technology According to Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch

OCTOBER 21, 2009

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Iran and China lead the world in stealing sensitive U.S. military equipment and technology according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The documents include a report entitled, “Significant Export Control Cases Since September 2001,” which was prepared by the Counter Espionage Section (CES), and includes the charges, investigative agency, defendants and disposition of each case.

According to the Justice Department report, which was labeled “For Official Use Only,” Iran and China were cited for 31 and 20 violations respectively between September 29, 2001 and May 16, 2008. Among the “significant” cases listed by the CES:

  • U.S. v. Eugene Hsu, et al. (9/21/01): Eugene Hsu, David Chang and Wing Chang were charged with “Conspiracy and an attempt to export military encryption units to China through Singapore.” All received guilty verdicts however Wing Chang is still listed as a fugitive.
  • U.S. v. Avassapian (12/03): Sherzhik Avassapian was a Tehran-based broker working for the Iranian Ministry of Defense when he attempted to “solicit and inspect F-14 fighter components, military helicopters and C-130 aircraft which he intended to ship to Iran via Italy.” Avassapian pleaded guilty to issuing false statements.
  • U.S. v. Kwonhwan Park (11/04): Kwonhwan Park was charged with “Exporting Black Hawk engine parts and other military items to China.” Pleaded guilty and sentenced to 32 months in prison.
  • U.S. v. Ghassemi, et al. (10/06): Iranian national Jamshid Ghassemi and Aurel Fratila were charged with “Conspiracy to export munition list items &emdash; including accelerometers and gyroscopes for missiles and spacecraft &emdash; to Iran without a license.” Ghassemi and Fratila are at large in Thailand and Romania respectively. Justice is currently seeking their deportation.

In October 2008, the Department of Justice announced that criminal charges had been issued against more than 145 defendants in the previous fiscal year. Approximately 43% of these cases involved munitions or other restricted technology bound for Iran or China.

According to a Justice Department news release included in the documents released to Judicial Watch: “The illegal exports bound for Iran have involved such items as missile guidance systems, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components, military aircraft parts, night vision systems and other materials. The illegal exports to China have involved rocket launch data, Space Shuttle technology, missile technology, naval warship data, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or ‘drone’ technology, thermal imaging systems, military night vision systems and other materials.”

“These documents show that Iran and China have concerted efforts to obtain U.S. military technology in violation of our laws,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration needs to maintain vigilance against the illegal efforts of enemies such as Iran to obtain our sensitive technologies.”

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