Two NASA supervisors were criminally indicted Tuesday under U.S. espionage laws for “willfully violating” national security regulations while allowing a visiting Chinese foreign national to gain “complete and unrestricted access” to the space agency’s Langley Research Center, according to the U.S. Attorneys office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The indictments of NASA Langley supervisors Glenn A. Woodell and Daniel J. Jobson cap a federal investigation into the two supervisor’s decision to permit Bo Jiang unrestricted access for two years at Langley. Bo Jiang was deported back to China in 2013. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa McKeel filed the indictments against the two NASA supervisors before the U.S. District Court in Newport News, Virginia on October 20. The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained the indictments. Woodell and Jobson’s case will come before a yet-to-be named U.S. District Judge in the next few weeks, according to the U.S. Attorneys office.
McKeel charged Woodell and Jobson under Title 18 section 799 of the federal espionage statute, alleging their “failing to protect NASA information from unauthorized disclosure” and “continuing to allow a foreign national to exercise complete and unrestricted access to a NASA computer and the information contained.” Woodell and Jobson also permitted Bo to travel home to China with a NASA-issued laptop that contained sensitive government information.
How can this happen, you ask?
The permissive attitude about IT security was blamed in part for last summer’s loss of personal information for 22 million federal government workers and their families through a breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It also a concern as a result of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decision to use a personal email account and private server located at her New York home to conduct official government business. Hundreds of emails found on the Clinton server contained sensitive or classified information that may have been compromised by hackers working for foreign intelligence services.
“This indictment is interesting because the NASA Administrator and the administration fought us all the way,” recalled former Representative Frank Wolf in an interview with the DCNF. Wolf was the Virginia Republican who first made the Bo Jiang case public.
Ever get the sense that the feds are not on your side? But wait — there’s more!
A knowledgeable NASA official who requested anonymity said “the whole Bo Jiang incident was brought to management’s attention. They ignored it. They asked us to ignore it.” The official said foreigners have more, not less, access to NASA operations at present.
Before the Bo Jiang case all foreign nationals, including green card holders, could be monitored and restricted. But now green card holders are treated like U.S. citizens with unrestricted access to all parts of the space research facility. “If you have a green card, your allegiance may still be to China, but the green card gets you legal authority to work in the United States,” he said. “Therefore we don’t track them. They don’t have restrictions to transfer technology control plans. They’re given access the same exact way as a U.S. citizen because they have a green card.”
We are utterly helpless before our enemies. The problem is, we probably won’t realize it until well after Obama leaves office, and the next Republican president, if any, can be blamed.