U.S. engineer contacted China before stealing missile tracking tech, DOJ says


A deactivated Titan II nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is seen in a silo on the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Arizona, May 12, 2015.

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Federal prosecutors charged an engineer who labored at a Los Angeles-area firm with stealing commerce secret applied sciences developed to be used by the U.S. authorities in area to detect nuclear missile launches and observe ballistic and hypersonic missiles, the Department of Justice stated Wednesday.

The DOJ stated the know-how allegedly stolen by 57-year-old Chenguang Gong could be “harmful to U.S. nationwide safety if obtained by worldwide actors.”

Gong, who lives in San Jose, California, is a local of China who grew to become an American citizen in 2011, prosecutors stated. He was arrested Tuesday and is because of seem at a detention listening to later Wednesday.

Los Angeles U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada stated Gong beforehand sought to supply the People’s Republic of China with data that may assist the nation’s army.

Gong, from 2014 by 2022, submitted a number of purposes for so-called “expertise packages” run by the Chinese authorities whereas “being employed by a number of main U.S. know-how corporations and one of many world’s largest protection contractors,” a prison grievance filed in Los Angeles federal courtroom alleges.

The Chinese Talent Program Tracker is thought to determine people positioned outdoors China who’ve abilities and data that may assist remodel the Chinese economic system and bolster its army capabilities, the grievance stated.

“In his submissions to the Talent Programs, Gong proposed initiatives that mirrored his work for a number of of those corporations, and repeatedly touted that his proposals could be helpful to China’s army and that China didn’t but have the applied sciences he was proposing to develop himself or share with Chinese corporations,” the grievance stated.

“We know that international actors, together with the PRC, are actively searching for to steal our know-how,” Estrada stated in an announcement, “however we are going to stay vigilant in opposition to this menace by safeguarding the improvements of American companies and researchers.”

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The grievance stated Gong transferred greater than 3,600 digital information from the unidentified analysis and improvement firm in Malibu the place he labored for lower than 4 months early final yr to a few private storage gadgets.

The information have been transferred between March 30 and April 25, and greater than 1,800 of these information have been transferred after he had accepted a job in early April at one in every of his firm’s important opponents, the grievance stated.

Much of the corporate’s work growing infrared sensor know-how is funded by a contract with the Defense Department and different U.S. authorities contractors, the grievance says.

“The information Gong allegedly transferred embrace blueprints for classy infrared sensors designed to be used in space-based programs to detect nuclear missile launches and observe ballistic and hypersonic missiles,” the DOJ stated.

They additionally allegedly included “blueprints for sensors designed to allow U.S. army plane to detect incoming heat-seeking missiles and take countermeasures, together with by jamming the missiles’ infrared tracking means,” the division stated.

Gong was answerable for managing the design and improvement of readout built-in circuits on the corporate’s sensors.

Many of the information he allegedly transferred have been marked “proprietary,” “for official use solely” and “export managed,” the grievance stated.

The firm fired Gong in late April after looking his workplace in response to community exercise and discovering a flash drive containing information that had been transferred.

“The Victim Company then interviewed Gong, who supplied evasive and contradictory solutions however ultimately admitted to having transferred information from his work laptop computer onto his private drives and to having seen these information on his private pc,” the grievance stated.

Gong started working at one other firm on May 1 however was fired 9 days later after the sufferer firm alerted the opposite agency to details about his file transfers.

The grievance stated a number of the information Gong is accused of stealing have been discovered at his dwelling by investigators final yr.

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