Two years ago, a Chinese national named Bo Jiang was allowed access to NASA facilities as part of a special program. One of the conditions of that access was supposed to be that he was not allowed access to classified or non-export information or technology. As it turned out, he was allowed free rein to everything. In fact, they allowed him to make copy of the hard drive of one of the NASA computers.
Two NASA supervisors were criminally indicted Tuesday under U.S. espionage laws for “willfully violating” national security regulations while allowing a visiting Chinese foreign national to gain “complete and unrestricted access” to the space agency’s Langley Research Center, according to the U.S. Attorneys office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The indictments of NASA Langley supervisors Glenn A. Woodell and Daniel J. Jobson cap a federal investigation into the two supervisor’s decision to permit Bo Jiang unrestricted access for two years at Langley. Bo Jiang was deported back to China in 2013.
Woodell and Jobson also permitted Bo to travel home to China with a NASA-issued laptop that contained sensitive government information.
FBI agents arrested Bo at Dulles International Airport who tried to flee the country by buying a one-way ticket to Beijing in 2013. The Bo Jiang case was considered at the time as a prime example of lax national security awareness throughout the space agency.
Bo Jiang wasn’t carrying just a little bit of information. He’d made one trip back home to deliver data already.
When Jiang was arrested at Dulles with a one-way ticket to Beijing, federal agents interrogated him about his relationship with the late scientist, according to Jiang’s court-appointed attorney in papers filed in federal court.
At the airport, Jiang possessed a second undeclared laptop, two additional hard drives and a “large quantity of data,” according to defense attorney Fernando Groene.
Jiang “knowingly and willfully” made false statement to the agents about these items when confronted by the agents, according to court papers.
Jiang currently is in the custody of U.S. marshals and is being held a detention center in Virginia until his next hearing on May 29.
A NASA Langley executive with first-hand knowledge of the Jiang case and who requested anonymity told The Examiner that Jiang took “numerous terabytes” of Rahman’s imaging data on the 2012 trip to China. A terabyte is a trillion bytes of information.
They were indicted under the Espionage Act. One October 26, one of the men, Glenn Woodell, entered a guilty plea. This timeline is critical to keep in mind. These two NASA employees were indicted on October 20 and on October 26 there was an accepted guilty plea.
So, what did Woodell get for violating the Espionage Act? He got hammered with a $250 fine and six months probation. And it looks like he is still employed by NASA. The mind boggles.