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Navy engineer gets 11 years for attempted espionage

Nuclear carrier plans passed to undercover FBI agent after internal hack

A civilian US naval engineer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted espionage, after passing military technology secrets to an FBI undercover agent posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer.

The Register can report that 36-year-old Mostafa Ahmed Awwad "took advantage of his position of trust within the Navy to share the schematics of the USS Gerald R. Ford nuclear aircraft carrier with individuals whom he believed were representing a foreign government," according to Assistant Attorney General Carlin.

According to sealed court documents, cited in the Department of Justice release, Awwad had met the undercover FBI agent at a hotel and "described a detailed plan to circumvent US Navy computer security by installing software on his restricted computer system that would enable him to copy documents without causing a security alert."

At this time, Awwad also provided the undercover FBI agent with four Computer Aided Drawings of a US nuclear aircraft carrier downloaded from the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Information system.

At a later date, Awwad had travelled to a pre-arranged dead drop site hidden by "a secluded hiking trail" where he retrieved $3,000 from a concealed container disguised in a hole in the ground. He then secreted an external hard drive and two passport photos inside the container.

At another meeting, Awwad exchanged a thumb-drive with the FBI agent for what was termed an "escape plan", however this was, "in actuality a manila envelope with no real plan inside." ®

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