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Ex-Defense Dept. scientist arrested on espionage charges

Associated Press / October 20, 2009

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WASHINGTON - A Maryland scientist who worked for the Defense Department and other agencies has been arrested on espionage charges.

The Justice Department said yesterday that 52-year-old Stewart David Nozette of Chevy Chase was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information to an individual he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer.

The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf violated US law.

Nozette was arrested yesterday by FBI agents. He is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court today in Washington.

In an affidavit supporting the complaint that was unsealed yesterday, FBI agent Leslie Martell said that on Sept. 3, Nozette received a telephone call from an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The caller was an undercover FBI agent.

Nozette agreed to meet with the agent later that day at a hotel in Washington and in the subsequent meeting the two discussed Nozette’s willingness to work for Israeli intelligence, the affidavit alleges.

Nozette allegedly informed the agent that he had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to US satellite information, the affidavit said.

Nozette, who holds a PhD in planetary sciences from MIT, is also accused of saying he would be willing to answer questions about the satellite information in exchange for money.

Nozette allegedly agreed to provide regular, continuing information via a post office box to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, and asked for an Israeli passport.