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Navy engineer indicted for trying to sell secrets

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WASHINGTON – A naturalized American citizen working for the Navy was arrested Friday for attempting to sell technical information about the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford to an agent of the Egyptian government.

The agent, however, was a federal undercover agent working for the FBI.

According to documents from the Justice Department, a federal grand jury on Dec. 3 indicted Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 35, and charged him with two counts of attempting to export defense articles and technical data.

According to a redacted affidavit from federal agent James Blitzer, Awwad was born in 1979 in Saudi Arabia. He married a US citizen in May 2007 in Cairo, Egypt, and later became a US citizen.

At the time of his indictment, Awwad, of Yorktown, Virginia, was working as a civilian engineer in the nuclear engineering and planning department of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he had been hired in February. He had been given a clearance of Secret.

The office provides engineering support for the Gerald R. Ford, under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in nearby Newport News, Virginia.

The indictment and affidavit provide details of how, on Sept. 18, an FBI undercover agent speaking in Arabic contacted Awwad by phone and asked to meet the following day. Awwad subsequently agreed to copy and turn over diagrams and schematics of the carrier, many marked "NOFORN," meaning no distribution to foreign citizens.

According to a Justice Department press release, during the Sept. 19 meeting "Awwad met with the undercover FBI agent, who was posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer, in a park in Hampton, Virginia.

"During the meeting Awwad claimed it was his intention to utilize his position of trust with the US Navy to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government, including but not limited to, the designs of the USS Gerald Ford nuclear aircraft carrier. Awwad agreed to conduct clandestine communications with the undercover FBI agent by email and unattributable telephones and to conduct 'dead drops' in a concealed location in the park."

On Oct. 9, the Justice Department release continues, Awwad "and the undercover FBI agent met at a hotel where Awwad described a detailed plan to circumvent US Navy computer security by installing software on his restricted computer system that would enable him to copy documents without causing a security alert.

"At this time Awwad also provided the undercover FBI agent four computer aided drawings of a US nuclear aircraft carrier downloaded from the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Information system. These drawings were marked with warnings that foreign distribution could result in criminal prosecution.

"During the discussion, Awwad indicated his understanding that the drawings would be sent to and used in Egypt. Awwad also asked the undercover FBI agent for $1,500 to purchase a pinhole camera he would wear around the shipyard to photograph restricted material.

"At the conclusion of the meeting, Awwad agreed to provide the undercover FBI agent with passport photos which would be used to produce a fraudulent Egyptian passport so Awwad could travel to Egypt without alerting US government officials."

On Oct. 23, the documents said, Awwad traveled to a pre-arranged dead drop site — a concealed container disguised as a hole in the ground situated on a secluded hiking trail in a park. There, "he retrieved $3,000 in cash before placing a one-terabyte external hard drive and two passport photos inside. The FBI later collected the contents of the dead drop container."

More than a month later, on Nov. 28, said the Justice department, "Awwad was observed entering his office at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard holding a cardboard tube about three feet long. Once in his office, Awwad opened the cardboard tube and took out several white sheets which appeared to be design schematics of an aircraft carrier. Awwad then placed the schematics on the floor of his office and photographed them. After approximately 45 minutes of viewing the schematics and taking photographs, Awwad placed all the schematics back in the cardboard tube and left his office."

Awwad remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing Dec. 10 at the federal courthouse in Norfolk.

Egypt has no aircraft carriers, and does not operate nuclear ships.

1247 CONNECT 61 TWEETLINKEDIN 9 COMMENTEMAILMORE
Navy engineer admits trying to leak plans for new aircraft carrier to Egypt

A Naval engineer admitted Monday that he tried to leak drawings of the military’s new aircraft carrier to the Egyptian government — a plot that was foiled because the engineer was actually corresponding with an undercover FBI agent.

Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 36, of Yorktown, Va., pleaded guilty in federal district court in Norfolk to attempted espionage, acknowledging that he gave computer drawings of the USS Gerald R. Ford to an agent posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer. As a part of his plea, Awwad will face a sentence of from between eight to 11 years in prison, court filings show.

Awwad was charged in the case last year, when authorities detailed his involvement in a plot that could have been drawn from the pages of a spy novel. His plea revealed some new details, including Awwad’s claim that when he went to the Egyptian embassy to renounce his Egyptian citizenship for his U.S. security clearance, he talked with a person there about “the possibility of moving nuclear technology to Egypt.”

By federal authorities’ account, Awwad used a dead-drop spot and coded e-mails to hide his wrongdoing, and he told an undercover agent he wanted to use his government access to help give military technology to Egypt. He also talked about where to shoot the USS Gerald R. Ford in order to sink it — a possibly serious threat to the security of a carrier that officials have hailed as a technological marvel.

Awwad, who was born in Saudi Arabia, married a U.S. citizen in Cairo in 2007 and began the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, court filings show. As a civilian who worked in the Nuclear Engineering and Planning Department at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, he had confidential security clearance and was eligible to obtain a secret security clearance.

James Broccoletti, Awwad’s attorney, said his client was technically employed by the shipyard, and the materials he gave to the agent -- while not cleared for public released -- were not secret or classified. He said his client accepted the plea deal at least in part because the eight to eleven year sentence would fall below what federal guidelines would have called for were Awwad to fight the case at trial and be convicted

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/navy-engineer-admits-trying-to-leak-plans-for-new-aircraft-carrier-to-egypt/2015/06/15/dac351a4-0fa2-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html

he told an undercover agent he wanted to use his government access to help give military technology to Egypt. He also talked about where to shoot the USS Gerald R. Ford in order to sink it — a possibly serious threat to the security of a carrier that officials have hailed as a technological marvel..

Another Tea Party person


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Don't take this the wrong way but everything with you seems to have some connection to the partisan divide, however tenuous.

Tenuous is a good description. Espionage has occurred under every administration. I don't really see how partisan politics plays any role here or with any past clandestine activities.


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Tenuous is a good description. Espionage has occurred under every administration. I don't really see how partisan politics plays any role here or with any past clandestine activities.

It doesn't. Just so long as its crystal clear that the Tea Party was not involved ;-)

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Tenuous is a good description. Espionage has occurred under every administration. I don't really see how partisan politics plays any role here or with any past clandestine activities.

Because you're not looking hard enough. Some members here have figured out the vast Democratic conspiracy that is intricately tied to every single horrible act committed on US soil.


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

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Because you're not looking hard enough. Some members here have figured out the vast Democratic conspiracy that is intricately tied to every single horrible act committed on US soil.

Especially black Democrats.


R.I.P Spooky 2004-2015

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Especially black Democrats.

Folks wanted Obama drawn and quartered over Benghazi. If 9/11 happened in 2011, I'm pretty sure folks would have not only blamed the attack on him, but alleged he masterminded it himself.


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-Obama-jpg.jpg

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