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US engineer jailed 32 years for tech sale to China

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 25, 2011
A former B-2 stealth bomber engineer guilty of selling classified military technology to China that could help cloak missiles has been sentenced to 32 years in prison, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

Noshir Gowadia, 66, of Hawaii, was convicted of five offenses in August following a trial in federal court on the US island state. He had been accused of passing on design information that would allow cruise missiles to avoid infra-red detection.

"Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country's most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money. He is now being held accountable for his actions," Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris said in a statement.

From about 1968 to 1986, Gowadia served as an engineer with defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he helped develop the "unique propulsion system and low observable capabilities of the B-2" bomber, the Justice Department said.

He maintained a security clearance for an additional 11 years, working on classified matters as a US government contractor until 1997 when his clearance was revoked.

Prosecutors alleged that from 2003 to 2005 Gowadia traveled six times to mainland China where he helped with testing and data analysis that helped authorities in developing a stealthy cruise missile exhaust system.

He was found guilty of illegally communicating classified information and illegally retaining defense information following a 40-day trial.

"Mr. Gowadia went beyond disclosing information to China, he performed defense work in that nation with the purpose of assisting them in their stealth weapons design programs," said Florence Nakakuni, the US Attorney for Hawaii.

At the time of his arrest in 2005 he had been paid at least $110,000 by China, the Justice Department said.

Gowadia was also convicted of exporting classified information about the B-2 bomber, money laundering, and filing false tax returns.

Upon first learning of the sentence in Hawaii, Gowadia's son said the family would appeal.

"We believe very strongly that he's innocent, and we very much look forward to the appeals process in the 9th circuit, son Ashton said Monday on Hawaii broadcaster KHON2.

Gowadia is the second American in four days to be sentenced on charges related to disclosing classified information to authorities in Communist-ruled China.

Michigan man Glenn Shriver, 28, was jailed for 48 months for conspiracy to reveal national defense information to Beijing intelligence agents.

That sentencing came on the final day of a much-scrutinized state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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