Feds, NASA bracelet space shuttle spies

And Huawei says 3Com espionage accusations are 'bullshit'


The US Department of Justice yesterday announced further high profile arrests of Americans alleged to have acted as technology spies for communist China.

Justice Dept (DoJ) spokesmen said the accused - including a former Boeing engineer and a Defense Department official - had passed the secrets of the Space Shuttle, among other things, to espionage agencies of the People's Republic. Meanwhile, Chinese techbiz acquisitions in America were characterised as a national security risk.

Semi-retired engineer Greg Chung, 72, was cuffed by feds and agents from NASA Counter-intelligence* at his California home "without incident", according to the DoJ. It was alleged that Chinese-born Chung, a US citizen of some decades' standing who worked for Rockwell and Boeing, had passed classified information about the Space Shuttle, the C-17 military airlifter, the B-1 bomber, and the Delta IV rocket to PRC spies. Chung was said to have been involved with the Chi Mak espionage ring.

US Attorney Thomas P O'Brien said: "Mr Chung is accused of stealing restricted technology that had been developed over many years by engineers who were sworn to protect their work product... Disclosure of this information to outside entities like the PRC would compromise our national security."

FBI honcho Salvador Hernandez added: "The FBI is committed to protecting America's assets from foreign thievery. The FBI will continue to work with NASA, the defense community and other federal agencies to safeguard our nation's technology."

The feds allege that Chung had been groomed by commie spies as early as 1979, and quoted a PRC handler as writing to him saying: "It is your honour and China's fortune that you are able to realise your wish of dedicating yourself to the service of your country."

Chung was charged with 14 espionage-related offences. In theory, if found guilty on all counts, he could face fines of more than $5m and prison sentences totalling in excess of 150 years.

American worries with regard to the Chinese commie peril found further expression in the business world, with the Financial Times reporting that a planned private equity buyout of telecoms kit builder 3Com is seen by some as a national security threat.

Under the acquisition plan, 16.5 per cent of 3Com would be acquired by Chinese firm Huawei Technologies. Some US legislators are opposed to this aspect of the deal, with Republican congressman Thaddeus McCotter calling it a "stealth assault on America's national security".

It has been pointed out that 3Com supplies security technology to the US Defense department, and that Huawei's founder and CEO is a former People's Liberation Army officer.

Huawei marketing chief Xu Zhijun responded angrily to the concerns, saying the suggestion of nefarious plans on Huawei's part was "bullshit... we only just take 16.5 per cent."

The peppery exec said Chinese security was far more compromised by the presence of US tech companies in the PRC than vice versa, alluding to Cisco's well-known role in building the Chinese national firewall.

"Cisco's equipment is everywhere in China," he said. "The US government is concerned about Huawei... Who should be more concerned?"

In other China peril news, the DoJ said Gregg William Bergersen, 51, a Defense Department official, was also arrested yesterday. So were Tai Shen Kuo, age 58, and Yu Xin Kang, age 33. It was alleged that Bergersen had passed Kuo and Kang sensitive information regarding US military sales to Taiwan in exchange for cash. The PRC considers it is the rightful government of Taiwan.

The feds said Kuo and Kang planned to send Bergersen's information on to China. ®

*Yes, there is a NASA Counter-intelligence bureau apparently.


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022