“Stop sending your spies here”, US Judge tells China

An aerospace engineer who was spying on behalf of China for more than three decades was sentenced today to 15 years in prison on charges of espionage.

The spy stole aerospace secrets and technology from Rockwell and Boeing, including information relating to the Space Shuttle program and Delta IV rocket.

Greg Chung, 73, of Orange County, California, was employed by Rockwell International from 1973 until its defense and space unit was acquired by Boeing in 1996.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Carney said that he could not “put a price tag” on national security, and that with the long sentence for Chung he wanted to send a signal to China to “stop sending your spies here.”

Chung, a native of China who is a naturalized United States citizen, held a “secret” security clearance when he worked at Rockwell and Boeing on the Space Shuttle program. He retired from the company in 2002, but the next year he returned to Boeing as a contractor, a position he held until September 2006.

During the trial, the government proved that Chung stole Boeing trade secrets relating to the Space Shuttle and the Delta IV rocket, materials he acquired for the benefit of the PRC.

“Mr. Chung betrayed his adopted country and endangered our national security,” said Acting United States Attorney George Cardona. “This case demonstrates our resolve to protect the secrets that help protect the United States, as well as the important technological advancements developed by scientists working for companies that provide crucial support to our national security programs.”

Steven Martinez, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, stated: “The FBI and our partners in the intelligence community are committed to stopping those intent on stealing American technology, whether they are motivated by money or allegiance to their native country, as in the case of Mr. Chung. The lengthy sentence imposed on Mr. Chung should send a strong message to others contemplating theft of U.S. secrets, that such criminal activity is a serious affront to the nation's stability and will be prosecuted accordingly.”

Another aerospace engineer, Chi Mak, was jailed for 24 years in 2008 after being convicted of stealing military information for China.