With the spread of the coronavirus, more attention is focused on China than before. It is known that the Chinese routinely attempt to spy on the US, but a recent incident could not come at a less opportune time for China, as an ethnic Chinese but naturalized American citizen working for the defense company Raytheon was arrested for attempting to sell US military secrets to China.
When Wei Sun, a 48-year-old engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, left for an overseas trip last year, he told the company he planned to bring his company-issued HP EliteBook 840 laptop along.
Sun, a Chinese-born American citizen, had been working at Raytheon, the fourth-largest US defense contractor, for a decade. He held a secret-level security clearance and worked on highly sensitive missile programs used by the US military.
Since Sun’s computer contained large amounts of restricted data, Raytheon officials told him that taking it abroad would not only be a violation of company policy, but a serious violation of federal law, as well.
un didn’t listen, according to US prosecutors. While he was out of the country, Sun connected to Raytheon’s internal network on the laptop. He sent an email suddenly announcing he was quitting his job after 10 years in order to study and work overseas.
When Sun returned to the United States a week later, he told Raytheon security officials that he had only visited Singapore and the Philippines during his travels. But inconsistent stories about his itinerary led Sun to confess that he traveled to China with the laptop.
A Raytheon lawyer examined the machine, and confirmed it contained technical specifications prohibited from export by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), in addition to security software that is itself export-controlled and requires a special license to take outside the United States.
Sun was arrested by FBI agents the next day. His attorney, Cameron Morgan, did not respond to a request for comment. Raytheon said only that the company “cooperated with this investigation,” declining to elaborate further. (source)