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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

February 12, 2014 - 5:44 pm

A review of NASA security in the wake of last year’s arrest of a Chinese national accused of spying revealed flaws that took one lawmaker “aback,” but the damning report is being kept out of the public eye.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, requested the review after the March 2013 arrest of National Institute of Aerospace contractor Bo Jiang as he attempted to leave the country at Dulles International Airport.

According to the arrest warrant and criminal complaint, Jiang lived a few blocks from Naval Station Norfolk. On March 13, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into “conspiracies and substantive violations” of the Arms Export Control Act.

Two days later, agents learned Jiang had “abruptly” bought a one-way ticket back to China. He had boarded the flight at Dulles when agents stopped him and searched his belongings, finding more tech items on Jiang than he claimed to officials, including a second laptop computer, a SIM card, and an old hard drive.

The complaint noted that Jiang previously flew back to China once with a laptop belonging to NASA believed to have contained sensitive information.

Prosecutors later said they didn’t find any sensitive information on the devices that Jiang had on him at the time of his March arrest, and he pleaded guilty in May to a misdemeanor charge of using his NASA laptop to download porn. He was then ordered to leave the country.

Jiang got his Ph.D. at Old Dominion before joining the National Institute of Aerospace as a research scholar at NASA Langley in January 2011. His title changed to research scientist in October 2012. In both positions, he worked on NASA’s aviation safety program.

Whistleblowers concerned about security breaches at NASA facilities had tipped off Wolf about Jiang and other employees. The FBI then began its investigation into the Chinese national, who came to the country in 2007.

Wolf said at the time of the bargain with prosecutors that they still weren’t addressing what may have been on the laptop Jiang took to China in December or why a NASA laptop was provided to a foreign national in the first place.

In March, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden appeared before Wolf’s committee and admitted that about 280 foreign nationals deemed security threats were working at NASA facilities. Wolf called for Bolden to appoint an outside panel to review foreign national access and export controls while stripping access for all foreign nationals with ties to suspect organizations or foreign governments.

“Last year, after learning of security violations at NASA’s Ames and Langley research centers, I called on Administrator Bolden to commission a comprehensive, independent review of the agency’s security, export control and access to NASA property by foreign nationals,” Wolf said Wednesday evening.

NASA contracted with the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct a review of its foreign national operations. All that’s publicly accessible from the report, issued by a panel helmed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh (R), is the executive summary.

In all, the review panel issued 27 recommendations, including managing the access of foreign nationals as a program, better control of centers employing foreign nationals by NASA headquarters, and correcting longstanding information technology security issues.

“NASA needs to improve how it protects all of its valuable technical data and proprietary information, not simply the proprietary, sensitive, and/or classified information potentially exposed to foreign nationals,” the summary states.”…The importance of security, the existence of ‘real world’ threats to NASA assets, and the need for improvements in handling foreign national issues have not been clearly and consistently communicated throughout NASA.”

Last week, Bolden fired off a three-page letter to Thornburgh thanking him for the review yet disputing several findings or recommendations in the report. “NASA’s counterintelligence program is focused on Agency assets, and by retaining the existing reporting structure, we ensure a standardized and consistent program across the Agency,” Bolden wrote.

“Frankly, I was taken aback at the breadth and depth of security challenges identified across NASA and I am deeply disappointed the agency has restricted access to the report,” Wolf said. “The report should be made public as soon as possible, with any necessary redactions in the interest of national security, because it confirms not only the serious security challenges that need to be addressed, but a persistent organizational culture that fails to hold center leadership, employees and contractors accountable for security violations. This must change.”

“The U.S. intelligence community has made clear that we face unprecedented cyber and espionage threats, especially from countries seeking to steal cutting-edge aerospace technology which often has military applications,” the congressman added. “It is imperative that NASA secure its key assets and instill a culture of accountability when security violations occur.”

Wolf noted that he added language in the FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill requiring NASA to provide Congress with quarterly reports on the status of its implementation of the report’s recommendations.

“I look forward to discussing this further at my subcommittee’s hearing with Administrator Bolden in March,” he said.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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This is nothing but insult to Chinese people. Jiang was good Chinese person. He help America. Work very hard. After only seven years he own 10 hotels and help put America on moon. America must bend over and take it or we Chinese people be insulted. VOTE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AMNESTY and STEM VISA so Chinese people can help you stupid round eyed children of issue of union with Animals. Guonxi! (sic)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wolf is surprised and the breadth and scope of security vulnerability and violations at NASA? Yet, he has now considered quadrupling the number of foreigners brought in under STEM programs and H1-B, as well as increasing the number of foreigners in the United States by 40,000,000? What does he bloody expect? What we have here isn't a security or counter-intel failure we have a immigration problem. Perhaps we don't even have that but we have a Idiocracy problem systemic at all levels of our ruling class. Yeah, lets solve the problem of security by putting in anal and vaginal searches at every control point after we let in another 40,000,000 un-American nationals into the US. Just remember folks who support amnesty and immigration, every time you get searched, scroogled, pay additional costs, and make travel unbearable, you get what you asked for. IDIOTS!!!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
No mention of NASA's "Muslim outreach" or how that may affect "national security. I wonder how many of those foreign nationals are "Muslims" ...
uhoh ... can't even ask that, even if 90% of the approx. 300 firners working at NASA are Middle Eastern Muslim Brotherhood plants: no wonder they won't go public with the report; Holder has his boot on their necks.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only solution is the firing, impeachment, and arrest of every Congresscritter, Lobbywhore, Attorney Skunk, and Bureaucrat who institutionalized "Diversity", Affirmative Action, the EOC, and the Civil Rights Acts.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
0QNqBu6evVM1A2C


So it goes with this administration it is part of there objective, to downgrade the US always and in every way,


36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Comon this isn't just this Administration. This has been going on for over a generation starting with Richard Nixon's establishment of Affirmative Action policies and the Civil Rights Movement.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't know that NASA has *any* classified information.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't want Iran or North Korea to get ahold of NASA's rocket technology. Saturn Vs can easily be turned into ICBMs.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Aside from possibly the UK, why would you limit it to just Iran or North Korea?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the report is being kept from the public because of? Let me quess, because of "national security".
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. It might ruin chances for expanding immigration colonization with cheap labor and cheap votes for Big Business and Big Sis.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If half of what was rumored about the Clinton admin giving the Chinese access to our nuclear programs and missiles at Los Alamos is true this is small ball. Not that I think this is ok - it isn't. Throw the thief in jail.


36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry but Frank Wolf is obsessed with the Chinese. Yes we have to be cautious but passing legislation that forbids NASA officials from literally being in the same room while at a conference is a tad much.

The Bo Jiang fiasco forced NASA to shut down public access to its huge archives of air and space reports that date back to the 50's. And for no good reason other than paranoia. These reports that been freely available to anyone for decades. They're slowly coming back online but the loss has been huge.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh and here we go with the Multi-culti be nice to the non-white people nonesense. The only problem with Frank Wolf is he isn't obsessed enough with anti-white politico-cultural policy of mass immigration, multi-culturalism, affirmative action, and diversity.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the 280 people NASA Administrator Bolden KNOWS OF insofar.. voluntarily admitted as being national security threats are Rep. Wolf's 'obsession'?

Are you seriously responding inasmuch? And TRYING to sell NASA & their dealings with being merely 'air and space reports'?

Gimme a break! NASA's satellite making/ launching, environmental, jet propulsion, rocket testing research etc.,

How forthcoming has NASA been of FOIA requests?

Not all that impressive.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bill Clinton and Loral moved China's laugh program forward twenty years in a heartbeat.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
China's laugh program??

Do you mean China's launch program? If so, what kind of launches do you mean? Manned space missions? ICBMs?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
China is NOT our friend .... ... yet.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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