Raytheon engineer arrested for taking US missile defense secrets

Raytheon engineer arrested for taking US missile defense secrets to China(Source qz.com)

When Wei Sun, a 48-year-old engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, left for an overseas trip last year, he told the company he planned to bring his company-issued HP EliteBook 840 laptop along.

Sun, a Chinese-born American citizen, had been working at Raytheon for a decade. He held a secret-level security clearance and worked on highly sensitive missile programs used by the US military.

Since Sun’s computer contained large amounts of classified data, Raytheon officials told him that taking it abroad would not only be a violation of company policy, but a serious violation of federal law, as well. While he was out of the country, Sun connected to Raytheon’s internal network on the laptop. He sent an email on Jan. 7, suddenly announcing he was quitting his job after 10 years in order to study and work overseas. When Sun returned to the United States a week later, he told Raytheon security officials that he had only visited Singapore and the Philippines during his travels. But inconsistent stories about his itinerary led Sun to confess that he traveled to China with the laptop.

A Raytheon lawyer examined the machine, and confirmed it contained technical specifications prohibited from export by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), in addition to security software that is itself export-controlled and requires a special license to take outside the United States. Sun was arrested by FBI agents the next day. Court documents reviewed by Quartz refer to Sun possessing classified files related to several different air defense systems designed by Raytheon for the US military. China’s security services have already compromised dozens of crucial US weapons systems, such as the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system, and the Aegis ballistic missile defense system used by the Navy. In 2018, Chinese hackers stole top-secret plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile being developed by the Navy known as Sea Dragon. The intruders reportedly managed to get massive amounts of sensitive signals and sensor data, in addition to the Navy’s entire electronic warfare library.

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