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Scientist pleads guilty to attempted espionage

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A former US government scientist pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attempted espionage for passing top-secret national defence information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.

The plea deal calls for Stewart Nozette, 54, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, to receive a sentence of 13 years in prison. The judge said at the hearing that he would accept the guilty plea and would impose the agreed-upon prison term.

Nozette admitted that in 2009 he provided classified information about US satellites, early warning systems, defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence and key defense strategy elements.

According to the charge, he did it with the intent to hurt the United States and to help Israel. As part of the deal, he pleaded guilty to one count and US. government prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining three counts against him.

“Stewart Nozette betrayed America’s trust by attempting to sell some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets for profit,” said Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s national security division.

The Justice Department said the criminal charges do not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under US laws in the case.

Nozette, who had top-secret security clearances, worked for various government agencies, including the Department of Energy and the the US space agency, NASA.

He worked at the White House on the National Space Council in 1989 and 1990, developing a radar experiment that helped discover water on the south pole of the moon.

Nozette also was president of the Alliance for Competitive Technology, a non-profit corporation where he had access to classified information.


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