back to article Feds, NASA bracelet space shuttle spies

The US Department of Justice yesterday announced further high profile arrests of Americans alleged to have acted as technology spies for communist China. Justice Dept (DoJ) spokesmen said the accused - including a former Boeing engineer and a Defense Department official - had passed the secrets of the Space Shuttle, among other …


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  1. amanfromMars Silver badge

    A Statement of the Bleedin' Obvious

    "*Yes, there is a NASA Counter-intelligence bureau apparently."

    Yes, indeed there is.

  2. Dr. Ellen


    I go with the lines from Kipling: "So I left them, sweating and stealing, a year and a half behind."

  3. George

    Communist China?

    As opposed to the other China, which is where?

    Also amanfrommars I personally am suprised that there is another intelligence agency in the USA, I thought the existing lot would have had it all covered. Apparently not.

  4. Robert Grant Silver badge

    A threat?

    Wonder if the reference to Cisco was an oblique threat that they might stop any giant contracts with said US company...

    Or probably not. Just a thought.

  5. BoldMan

    Taiwan, the "other" China

    Taiwan's "Official" name is the Republic of China.

    "Communist China" is the People's Republic of China.

    There are in fact two China's me old china!

  6. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Keep IT Simple Stupid

    "Also amanfrommars I personally am suprised that there is another intelligence agency in the USA, I thought the existing lot would have had it all covered. Apparently not." ......By George Posted Tuesday 12th February 2008 16:12 GMT


    I was bemoaning the fact that the Intelligence they use, in general, is more a Counter Intelligence and therefore not very Intelligent, at all. The existing lot would like every man and his dog to believe that they have all bases covered, but Intelligence nowadays is not about collecting and countering foreign information, which they may or may not be able to do, but it is all about creating and using new information which Benefits everyone and/or disadvantages no one.

    It is though still too alien a Concept for their Minds to Compute which is quite surprising and rather disturbing, given its Simplicity ...... and that raises the question of why if it is so Simple, there is a difficulty. Something to do with Power and the Love of Money Controls probably, stunting Growth.

    At least that lets everyone know what to remove or restream to effect AI Cure

  7. Morely Dotes

    Cisco is a threat to Chian's security?

    Well, I suppose the NSA had better send the "suicide" signal to all that Cisco kit that China has, then. Wouldn't want China's Government to think the "Great Firewall of China" was being used to spy on them.

    Just cut them off, and eliminate all the spam the PRC's government-owned servers are relaying for American spammers at the same time. Two good deeds for the price of one!

  8. tempemeaty

    What? The US Gov got scared of losing tech. I thought they didn't care.

    US corporations have long since passed the point of critical mass of it becoming a national security risk by the flushing of all US tech into China. I was sure the US Gov was going to some day be fighting a war against China with Chinese bought arms and tech because the US Corps are giving it all up to them leaving the Pentagon nothing. So are they actually starting to get scared there's nothing left now? Who would have thought the US Gov officials were ever going to show they cared about their own security anymore. Go figure.

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Big ups to the chinese exec

    I just love the fact that we have a PR exec in this article who says what im sure all PR people would love to say when confronted by a particularly stupid, inane, unresearched questions


  10. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton


    That was an unfortunate choice of names for a Chinese espionage firm working in the USA.

    Fortunately the counter intelligence would have worked hard to not see the blinking obvious.

    It's reassuring to think that with counter intelligence there is an active attempt to keep the ball rolling in perpetuity. And I though it was just a bureaux to select presidential candidates.

    I might have guessed that no government agency could be that competent. So how do they select presidunces?

  11. Martin Usher

    What a load of C**p!

    First up, if I were interested in sabotaging the Chinese space effort I'd be feeding them as much data on the Space Shuttle as I could. Those things are death traps which are just about at the end of their service life. Secondly, the Chinese don't have to steal our technology, we've spent the last decade or more giving them as much of it as we can. (Obviously people who work for the FBI don't have to worry about their jobs being outsourced so they probably haven't figured out what's been going on -- they still think we're the technology leader and everywhere else lives in mud huts.)

    What you're really seeing is the disconnect between the government and reality. The government is a large operation with many different pieces and they don't always march in step, much less are synchronized with what's going on in the larger world. So you get these sorts of things -- the pronoucements, the charges, the mounting sentences, but its really the product of some mid to low level official who's been watching to much "24" on TeeVee. The problem for the people caught up in this will be that now the government has put its stake in the ground its going to go into CYA mode, it will never admit it screwed up. (Remember the Chinese spy working at the nuclear research facility a few years ago -- they eventually dropped all the charges but not before he got well screwed by the system.)

  12. Robert Hill

    @Martin Usher...


    Hardly. You are frankly a pampered puss if you think that any exploratory vehicle that has a 130 launch record with only two losses is a deathtrap.

    You want to see deathtraps? Go look at the survival statistics of the early 1400 - 1600 seafarers, around Columbus' time. Or even look later, into the 1700s - basically, they would have been THRILLED to only lose two out of a hundred ships at sea, even when it was "commercial", and not exploratory. The entire industry of insurance had to be invented by Lloyds of London, just to spread the risk of what was then the commercial, well-known business of shipping in the 1700s - because so many ships were being lost. Two in a hundred journys? Hah! They lost that many just getting clear of territorial waters...

    Your comment just re-inforces the belief that our society has become overly comfortable, overly secure, and overly a middle-class house cat who never strays from his porch. The shuttles are a fantastically successful vehicle, and they are one of a kind design. We will certainly miss it when we retire it. There is nothing else by anyone else that can do what it does. It is only because of pantywaists that we have not built an updated shuttle to the same design. "OHH, we might LOSE a few...better not build any more and improve them!!!" Everyone knows that evolutionary design is the way to minimize progressive risk - just ask the Russians with the Soyuz, whose basic design hasn't changed in 30+ years - but it's reliability has only increased.

    And as for them being expensive, we could build a whole fleet of shuttles for what 6 moths of the war in Iraq costs...I think they were orignally a bit over a billion each, but we obviously have to inflate that to today's dollars.

    But that's OK, feel free to believe that any exploration of the unknown that may risk life is too costly for you to consider, or that any vehicle that has some inherent risk is a "deathtrap". You probably drive a Volvo too...the only unfortunate thing is that people with opinions like yours have blunted the one edge we did have in space, a manned, re-usable heavy lift capability. Something that everyone else has tried to design, and has failed at, but which we are just giving up, because we lost two. I guess we should have put the brakes on Apollo when the first capsule burned on the pad and killed the entire crew too, huh? And I guess that guy Columbus really should have stayed at home...after all, he might lose a couple of ships (which he did).

  13. Finn
    Black Helicopters


    Why anybody bothers to spy on US? They tend to release anything they are doing or are going to do in the same day newspapers. Most of it in official briefings.

    Worst security of any nation ever.

  14. umacf24

    @Martin Usher...

    I would think that a lot of technology in the shuttle would be very interesting to anyone who had to design man-rated orbital lifters.

    - A liquid hydrogen engine with a 50% throttle and a total lifetime burn getting on for an hour if it's properly maintained?

    - A precise solid rocket? (hey, no need for those O-rings).

    - All the boring stuff like weightless-rated rotating machinery or air-conditioning on a two-week mission?

    - The electrical power budget for a complex spacecraft?

    - Control surfaces on a hypersonic lifting body?

    What does surprise me is that it's secret. Maybe this is really about those DoD missions out of Vandenberg, or maybe they want the most valuable stuff of all: lessons learnt.

  15. nobby

    space shuttle secrets?

    the space shuttle has secrets?

    its a thirty-year old design built by the lowest bidder. if i were a country trying to build something spaceworthy i (sharp-intake-of-breath) wouldn't start from 'ere...

  16. Tom

    @ Nobby

    Yeah, they've not exactly got the best track record, infact they've got off pretty lightly some of the gaffs they made, unless China like frying there space adventurers on re-entry that is.

  17. Chris Coles

    The Greatest Threat to Security today is lack of investment

    Anyone with a bit of savvy can work out how something works that they have in their hands and can take to pieces. So the reference to Cisco in China is an illusion. The Chinese will be able to take control of every single bit of the Cisco gear if they need to. We need to worry about lack of investment in the new, not that which has already been sold.

    By the far the greatest threat to Western National security today is that an inventor does not have access to confirmed, long term investors that use only our own national funds from reliable sources of national capital. All M&A as well as their prequels, the VC's, source capital from any source available. Particularly Sovereign Investment Funds from other countries. The investment community has been, for many decades now, locked into the cycle of take control of any invention so that it can be rolled forward as fast as possible into an M&A. To achieve that demanded the creation of a cycle of refusal to invest for the long term, allied to any port of call for the invention, just as long as the VC can get out fast and profitably and the M&A community can sell it into a large corporation. In fact, it has been precisely this that has driven the creation of the unstable financial condition of these "trading banks" who have used any means, to create vapour-ware funds to keep the whole thing going.

    Yes, on the one hand the chickens have come home to roost, financially, but no one today in any form of government has any idea just how difficult it is to raise capital for a new invention where the criteria are a long term commitment to the inventor and his vision for the future of his or her company. Such capital simply does not exist. Every high street is full to the brim with shops selling mortgages for a house. I know of no single shop anywhere in the United Kingdom where I can walk in and get access to such capital from a national source. Let alone that is reliable, has a long term track record to a firm commitment to see me yes, me, that silly irascible individual, the inventor safely capitalised for the long term development of his business vision. Not to make too fine a point of this, I repeat, such capital simply does not exist..

    This very week, I am faced with the reality that the best thing I can do with my inventions is to got to another countries Sovereign Investment Fund and ask for investment. The UK , unlike, say, Norway, does not have one. We squandered North Sea Oil for what? Massive buildings full of civil servants playing musical chairs desperately trying to cover up that they have nothing to do. But ask them to help a British inventor and they all throw up their hands in amazement and show you the door..... That is by the far the greatest threat to the long term future of our national intellectual property base. And, who cares?

    Certainly not the United Kingdom Government.

  18. Skeptic
    Thumb Up

    Who spies whom

    The Chinese spies being caught is just a way the U.S. is telling China that they need to improve their technique, i.e., don't get caught.

    When information cannot be bought, you steal them. It's a fair game. We do it all the time.

    We don't give the C.I.A. US$50 billion each year so they can have a better vacation. They are hired to steal and they steal well.

    The Chinese, like their shoddy exports, need some improvement.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    look on the bright side

    If he does a deal he could be out in 2108.

  20. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @The Greatest Threat to Security today is lack of investment

    I wholeheartedly agree with that most apposite post, Chris Coles.

    And would also suggest that in some new inventions the brains needed to understand what is proposed are also missing, especially whenever invention always generates cash and industry with its Intellectual Energy and therefore the investment of seed money is merely something to keep pen pushers busy.

    And when technology is dual Use, and still ignored by the "home" team, then the problems they are likely to cause themselves should it be shared first abroad, you can readily imagine.

    I suppose one needs to spell it out for them in words of a few syllables but it does have one questioning why we would be touting secrets to morons who need everything spelt out for them to release Funding. Seems like Funding Supply is in the Wrong hands much as the Sub-Prime and Credit Crunch markets already tell us.

  21. Adrian Esdaile

    Yes, there is a NASA Counter-intelligence bureau apparently

    That'd be the senior management team then?

    Mine's the helmet and spacesuit, thanks

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