Justice Department and Partner Agencies Launch National Counter-Proliferation Initiative

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The Justice Department and several partner agencies today launched a national initiative that will harness the counter-proliferation assets of U.S. law enforcement, licensing, and intelligence agencies...

Nuclear-Related Technology to Pakistan: On Oct. 4, 2007 , a Pittsburgh company called SparesGlobal, Inc. was sentenced in the Western District of Pennsylvania for conspiring to make false statements about an illegal export of graphite products that can be used in nuclear reactors and in the nose cones of ballistic missiles. These sensitive products ended up in Pakistan after being routed through the United Arab Emirates . The investigation was conducted by Commerce Department agents.

Illegal Exports of U.S. Fighter Jet Components: On Oct. 5, 2007 , Abraham Trujillo and David Wayne were charged in the District of Utah with attempting to illegally export restricted components for F-4 and F-14 fighter jets. Such exports are of particular concern because F-14 components are widely sought by Iran , which is currently the only government in the world that still flies the F-14 fighter jet. The investigation was conducted by ICE and DCIS agents.

According to the Intelligence Community's most recent report to Congress on Foreign Economic Espionage and Industrial Collection, private-sector businessmen, scientists, students, and academics from overseas are among the most active collectors of sensitive U.S. technology. Most did not initially come to the U.S. with that intent, nor were they directed to do so by foreign governments. Instead, after finding that they had access to technology in demand overseas, they engaged in illegal collection to satisfy a desire for profits, acclaim, or patriotism to their home nations.

At the same time, foreign government organizations remain aggressive in illegally acquiring sensitive U.S. technology. Some governments have established quasi-official organizations in the U.S. to facilitate contact with overseas scientists, engineers and businessmen. Foreign governments have been observed directly targeting U.S. firms; employing commercial firms in the U.S. and third countries to acquire U.S. technology; and recruiting students, professors, and scientists to engage in technology collection.

Enhanced U.S. Law Enforcement Response

In addressing such threats, law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors have stepped their enforcement activity in recent years. ICE has recently doubled the number of agents assigned to export control cases and reports making 149 export-related arrests last fiscal year. The FBI reports that it is investigating roughly 125 economic espionage cases and has increased counterintelligence instruction for new agents by 240 percent.

The Commerce Department reports that more than 80 percent of its export convictions in fiscal year 2007 were related to WMD proliferation, terrorist support or diversion to military end-use. DCIS and other Defense Department agencies have also stepped up their investigative efforts to protect critical military technologies. As a result, the Justice Department has seen a corresponding surge in export prosecutions. In fiscal year 2007, there was more than a 50 percent increase in defendants charged with violating the primary export control statutes compared to the prior year.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice