US scientist linked to ISRO indicted

US scientist linked to ISRO indicted

FBI agents arrested 52-year-old Stewart David Nozette on Monday on allegations that he tried to pass national secrets to the Israeli government in exchange for money.
The information Nozette allegedly tried to provide Israel in an FBI sting operation dealt with “satellites, early warning systems, means of defence or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defence strategy,” says the indictment.

Nozette is accused of passing secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer. The agent called Nozette in early September, and the scientist said he would be willing to work as a spy, authorities claimed.

Over the next few weeks, the agent paid Nozette $11,000 in cash, left in two installments in a DC post office box, authorities alleged.

Nozette took the cash and written questions left by the FBI agent, The Washington Post quoted the authorities as charging.

Nozette, a Mini-RF principal investigator from the Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute, was widely quoted and interviewed by the media both here and in India during the Chandrayaan mission.

ISRO security

Indian officials in contact with US scientists in relation to the country’s maiden unmanned lunar mission insisted that there was no compromise with ISRO’s security since Nozette was not given access to any sensitive information during his visit to India as part of his collaboration with ISRO on Chandrayaan.

The Post also reported that some time before taking an overseas trip in January, Nozette told a colleague he would flee the US if it attempted to put him in jail for an unrelated offense.

He told the colleague that he would then tell “everything” to the governments of an unidentified country or Israel, according to court records.