September 9, 2011
A former scientist with Nasa has narrowly escaped the death sentence after he admitted trying to sell U.S. secrets to Israeli spies.
Stewart Nozette was snared by an undercover sting operation launched after a tax investigation uncovered classified documents at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
In a conversation recorded in downtown Washington, the 54-year-old told an undercover agent posing as an Israeli spy: ‘I’ve crossed the Rubicon … I’ve made a career choice.
‘I’m prepared to give them the whole thing … all the technical specifications.’
In court Nozette pleaded guilty to one count of attempted espionage, admitting he tried to provide Israel with information about satellites, early warning systems, retaliation strategies, communications intelligence information and major elements of defence strategy.
Prosecutors said Nozette agreed to divulge secrets to what he thought was Israeli spy agency Mossad through a post office box in exchange for money and an Israeli passport.
He took two payments – one for $2,000, the other for $9,000 – from the post office box in September 2009 in exchange for answers to questions about U.S. satellites.