China: March 2013 Archives

Chinese ex-NASA worker to be released pending trial

"At a detention hearing today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard ordered Jiang released after a federal prosecutor acknowledged there is no evidence so far that he was in possession of any sensitive, secret or classified material. Jiang will be under supervision of the federal probation office, will be prohibited from traveling outside the Eastern District of Virginia, and will be tracked by an electronic monitoring system. He has surrendered his passport."

Ex-NASA Langley contractor released on bond, Daily Press

"Jiang's court-appointed attorney, Fernando Groene, said that Jiang didn't have access to sensitive or classified information when he worked at NIA. Groene says that Jiang did violate NASA's policy by taking the equipment out the country, but there was nothing classified on the laptop or hard drive. "NASA has looked at the computer up and down and can't find any information that violates the export control act," Groene said."

Former NASA Langley Research Center pleads not guilty to lying, judge OKs release on bond, Washington Post

"Groene has suggested that Jiang is only in jail and under investigation because U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has inferred that Jiang may be a spy. Wolf has targeted Jiang in news conferences and congressional hearings about NASA security, saying the space agency is using contractors to get around rules prohibiting citizens of certain countries from working for NASA."

Bo Jiang To Plead Not Guilty; Will Ask For Jury Trial, earlier post

Former Huntsville NASA center boss Robert Lightfoot will lead foreign security probe, Huntsville Times

"NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot will lead a new in-house probe of foreign access to NASA field centers in the wake of the arrest of a Chinese national allegedly attempting to smuggle data out of the U.S. to China. Lightfoot was director of the Marshall Space Flight Center before being promoted in 2012 to the top civil service position in the agency."

Wolf Threatens To Call NASA Security Whistleblowers To Testify, Aviation Week

"Career civil servants" have been coming out of the woodwork with reports of lax security practices at NASA since Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) raised the issue publicly, and the powerful committee chairman may call some of the whistleblowers to testify publicly about their charges."

Attorney: Former Chinese contractor at NASA's Langley Research Center to plead not guilty, Washington Post

"Jiang's attorney Fernando Groene said Jiang was unfairly targeted and is looking forward to being vindicated. He said he plans to ask for a jury trial and wants Jiang's side of the story coming out. Groene said Jiang was leaving the country because his work visa was about to expire and he had been unable to find other employment since losing his job in January."

Attorney: Former NASA contractor subject of 'witch hunt', Daily Press

"... But Jiang's lawyer, Fernando Groene -- a former federal prosecutor who now practices out of Williamsburg -- said he's not going to let Wolf misportray Jiang. ... Groene challenged Wolf to come to the trial in Newport News federal court to present his evidence against Jiang. If Congressman Wolf testifies as a government witness, Groene said, "We'll be glad to cross-examine him." Asked why Jiang was going to China, Groene said, "He was going home."

- Congress Vs NASA on China (Home Alone with Wolf and Bolden), earlier post
- NASA Technical Reports Server Mysteriously Taken Offline, earlier post
- Former NASA/NIA Employee Arrested by FBI Trying to Leave U.S., earlier post

NASA locks out foreigners, orders security review following concerns of Chinese spying, Fox News

"NASA has locked its facilities to foreigners, disabled online research databases and ordered a complete review of access by foreign nationals to its facilities, as allegations swirled of foreign spies within the space agency. In addition to the security review, Bolden announced that he had closed down a publicly available NASA technical reports database due to the risk of confidential information leaking out. A message on the site indicates that "until further notice, the NTRS system will be unavailable for public access. We ... anticipate that this site will return to service in the near future."

Congressman: NASA intentionally skirted rules, Daily Press

"Robert D. Wyman, a spokesman for NASA Langley, did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on Wolf's assertion that Langley officials intentionally circumvented the rules. Calls to NASA headquarters in Washington were routed to Allard Beutel, the chief of the NASA communications office there. Beutel did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday. Timothy Allen, a spokesman with the National Institute of Aerospace, declined to comment on Wolf's assertions that Langley conspired with NIA to get around the rules. "I can't comment on an ongoing investigation," he said."

Keith's 20 March note: I asked LaRC PAO the following questions:

"- Was this shutdown in response to a request from Rep. Wolf? If not, then who requested the shutdown of this website?
- Was there any technical material posted on the NTRS website that violated ITAR regulations or any other NASA/government security requirements?"

LaRC declined to answer these specific questions and would only say "As you know, the NTRS system is unavailable for public access. NASA is reviewing the sites content to make sure it's consistent with the U.S. export control laws, regulations and review processes that are in place."

Clearly the fact that NASA took the extreme action of pulling the entire website down - one that had been online for decades - means that they either found something on there that did not belong and/or could not affirm that all applicable rules were being followed. Someone had to make the decision to take this action. Either Rep. Wolf asked them or someone to do this or someone at NASA decided to do so on their own. LaRC PAO is unable or unwilling to admit that this is the case. Isn't it rather odd for NASA PAO not to respond with comments in support of what the agency's administrator said in open congressional hearings? Meanwhile, neither NASA or the House Appropriations Committee has bothered to post Bolden's prepared statement.

At today's hearing Rep. Wolf gave the NASA OIG and "F" grade for their ARC and LaRC investigations and suggested to Bolden that the agency needs a new IG. Wolf also lectured Bolden about blind dissidents and human organ trafficking in China. Wolf asked if Bolden would meet with various Chinese activists/dissidents at NASA HQ. Bolden said he would if he could ask them a question as to why Congress prohibits any interaction by NASA with China's space agency. When Bolden talked about the progress of moving the Arc Jet facility from JSC to ARC Wolf said "just make sure the spies are not involved out there" (i.e. at ARC).

Probably the most important thing to emerge from this hearing was the fact that both Wolf and Bolden liked the two "Home Alone" films.

Keith's 21 March update: here is the Prepared Statement by Charles Bolden Before House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. NASA still has not released it (but Congress has). Do a search for the word "China". Nothing. NASA really does not want to talk about this.

- NASA Technical Reports Server Mysteriously Taken Offline, earlier post
- Former NASA/NIA Employee Arrested by FBI Trying to Leave U.S., earlier post

Wolf: Chinese National Potentially Involved In NASA Langley Security Violations

"Even more troubling, the investigative report identified how Mr. Jiang was allowed by NASA and NIA supervisors to take his work and volumes of other NASA research back to China for a period of time, as documented in an investigative report I received."

Federal agents stop, arrest NASA Langley contractor on plane for China, Daily Press

"A former employee of a NASA Langley Research Center contractor was sitting on a Chinese-bound plane at Dulles International Airport on Saturday when federal agents came on board and asked to have a word with him. Federal prosecutors are now accusing that man, Bo Jiang, of lying to those federal investigators about what he had in his possession."

Affidavit in Support of an Application for Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant

Criminal Complaint

Bo Jiang, LinkedIn

Research Scientist - National Institute of Aerospace
October 2012 - Present (6 months)Visual Information Processing Lab, NASA Langley Research Center
- NASA Aviation Safety Program, External Hazards Sensing and Mitigation:
-- Developing a computational visual servo, which provides an active, automatic image enhancement,
-- Researching on generic pattern recognition combining computer vision and neuroscience.

Research Assistant - University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
July 2004 - June 2007 (3 years)Chengdu, China
- Adaptive median filter for multi-layer noise reduction,
- Image recognition based on Neural Network and Gabor filter,
- Speech recognition based on Neural Network and Hidden Markov Model.

Frank Wolf's Weekly Hearings on NASA and China, earlier post

Oversight Hearing - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"Wednesday, March 13, 2013: Witness: Paul Martin, NASA Inspector General"

Oversight of NASA - Statement of Paul K. Martin NASA Inspector General

Keith's note: For some reason today's hearing with the NASA OIG will not be webcast. So much for trying to be open and transparent.

Keith's update: According to someone present at the hearing, Rep. Wolf focused a lot of this attention on news reports of a Chinese national who had been hired by LaRC. Wolf also asked Martin about ARC. Rep. Fattah suggested that if there are Chinese nationals employed by NASA that there should be some Americans employeed at at Chinese space centers. Wolf and Fattah then asked NASA for a list of the NASA employees currently working at Chinese space centers.

Oversight Hearing - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"Wednesday, March 20, 2013: Witness: Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator"

Earlier posts on China

Wolf says NASA prompted hiring of person linked to Chinese espionage; may be dozens more in agency, Washington Examiner

"Today, Wolf said he has not received a response from Pete Worden, the retired Air Force general who is director of the Ames facility."

NASA ARC Centerwide Announcement: Ames and National Security (12 Feb 2013)

"I have offered to talk to the news reporter, meet with the US representatives and/or testify under oath regarding export control issues at Ames."

Keith's note: Worden has offered to testify on this issue - under oath - nearly a month ago. Apparently Rep. Wolf's staff didn't get that message. Or they forgot. Or they don't care. The NASA IG met with Rep. Wolf et al a few days ago to tell them all that there is nothing to the IG's knowledge to substantiate the reports about ITAR issues and espionage at ARC. Yet Rep. Wolf continues to link these claims about ARC to China even after the Justice Department and the NASA OIG state that there is no "there" there.

USW Condemns Chinese Spying; Urges U.S. Government to Thoroughly Review Security Procedures and Protocols at NASA

"Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today after House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) identified alleged security lapses at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration's (NASA) Langley Research Center at a press conference. "Space may be the final frontier, but it is apparently already a target for espionage by the People's Republic of China."

Wolf says NASA prompted hiring of person linked to Chinese espionage; may be dozens more in agency, Washington Examiner

"Wolf said during a Capitol Hill news conference today that "at least several dozen other Chinese nationals," are employed at Langley, and he charged that they are employed in a manner to "circumvent" congressional bans on Chinese involvement at NASA facilities."

Lawmaker: NASA broke law with visits by China officials, USA Today

"A congressman says NASA broke a national security law last year by failing to notify Congress about two visits Chinese officials made to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said the visits -- one in June and one in December -- were barred by a measure he authored in 2011 requiring NASA facilities such as Kennedy to give lawmakers at least 14 days notice before hosting "official Chinese visitors."

Wolf: More On Potential Security Violations At NASA Centers

"Even more troubling is that this Chinese national was allegedly employed by a Langley contractor allegedly at the direction of NASA officials in an apparent attempt to circumvent appropriations restrictions the Congress has in place to prevent the hiring of certain foreign nationals of concern. Additionally, it is my understanding that NASA spent several hundred thousand dollars to pay for this individual's contract."

Letter From Rep. Wolf to NASA Administrator Bolden Regarding Chinese Visitors to CEOS Strategic Implementation Team meeting

"It has come to my attention that NASA will be hosting the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Strategic Implementation Team meeting at the Langley Research Center from March 12-14, 2013, and that officials from the government of the People's Republic of China are currently planning to attend. ... Because it is now less than 14 days before the commencement of the CEOS meeting and no such certification has been provided, the hosting of any Chinese visitors would be in clear violation of the law. Accordingly, I expect any participation by official Chinese visitors will be promptly cancelled."

Earlier posts on China

Europe May Work With China on Space Station, Scientific American

"China aims to establish a large manned space station within the next decade, officials have said, and the latest reports suggest that this outpost could host not only Chinese astronauts, but European spaceflyers as well. A plan is afoot for China and Europe to cooperate on the venture, which might see the European Space Agency (ESA) building technologies, including a rendezvous and docking system, for the station, in exchange for opportunities for its astronauts to visit the facility."



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