Air Force investigators helped convict an ex- Northrop B-2 engineer of spying for China.
Aug. 19, 2010—Noshir Gowadia, a former Northrop Grumman engineer who helped develop the B-2 bomber, faces life in prison after a federal jury convicted him of 14 counts related to selling weapons designs to the Chinese, filing false tax returns, and other espionage-related charges.
Playing a key role in Gowadia's conviction were Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents, who worked with FBI, IRS, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and State Department officials.
He was found guilty of two counts of willfully communicating classified national defense information to the Chinese government; three counts of willfully communicating classified national defense information to unauthorized individuals; one count of illegally retaining defense systems information at his Hawaii home; four counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act; one count of conspiracy to violate the Act; one money laundering charge; and two counts of filing false tax returns in 2001 and 2002.
He was acquitted of three other offenses. The US District Court for the District of Hawaii reached its ruling on Aug. 6. A sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 22. Gowadia, 66, of Maui, faces a maximum of two life sentences.
"Gowadia provided some of country's most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris, in DOJ's release. "Today, he is being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation's military secrets for profit."
"This case is a superb example of interagency cooperation with one single goal in mind: to protect Americans from harm," said Col. Keith Givens, vice commander at AFOSI headquarters at JB Andrews, Md., in a Justice Department release Tuesday. He added, "The successful prosecution of Mr. Gowadia for espionage and other crimes highlights the many contributions of AFOSI personnel and our partner organizations worldwide."
Gowadia worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman from 1968 to 1986, during which time he contributed to the development of the "unique propulsion system and low-observable capabilities" of the B-2 bomber, according to the DOJ release. He was first arrested in 2005 and additional charges were filed in 2006 and 2007.
Evidence presented at the 40-day trial revealed that Gowadia was paid "at least $110,000" for designing and selling a low-signature cruise missile exhaust system to the Chinese that is resistant to US infrared missiles. From July 2003 to June 2005, long after his security clearance had been terminated, Gowadia made six trips to China to aid in the missile testing and design. He laundered that income through three foreign entities.
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