FBI Arrests NASA Contractor Trying to Flee to China

Tuesday, 19 Mar 2013 12:45 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The FBI on Sunday arrested a Chinese national employed by a NASA contractor as he tried to flee to his homeland, The Washington Examiner reported late Monday.

Scientist Bo Jiang’s work at the space agency’s Langley Research Center allowed him to allegedly access information that “would be of the greatest interest to foreign spies, including China,” Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversee NASA’s budget, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The Virginia Republican announced the arrest, which took place at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. But Wolf revealed Jiang’s name last week during a subcommittee hearing, where he alleged the scientist had taken “voluminous sensitive” NASA documents back to China in 2012.

Jiang worked for the National Institute of Aerospace, a Hampton, Va.-based contractor, at Langley, which houses classified research programs related to space defense technologies.

According to the Examiner, FBI documents indicated Jiang decided to leave the country “abruptly to return to China on a one-way ticket.” The FBI arrest warrant, the newspaper said, suggested he was being investigated for “conspiracies and substantive violations of the Arms Export Control Act.”

At his news conference, Wolf credited NASA whistleblowers at Langley for notifying him of Jiang’s alleged security violations.

The congressman also said he believes information obtained by Jiang “may pertain to the source code for high-tech imaging technology” he was working on, adding that the information could have “significant military applications for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.”

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