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AFCEA International Chapter News
ALAMO CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jul 16, 2013
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Speaker Tackles Economic Espionage

As Americans remained riveted on the case of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, an FBI agent—the featured speaker at the chapter’s July luncheon—took the stage to share another cautionary tale of espionage among defense contractors. Special Agent Kevin Moberly’s story carried no mention of cybercrime and very few details of even high-tech surveillance. It was a tale of good old-fashioned theft—that of a Chinese-born Boeing engineer recruited by the People’s Republic to steal trade secrets, boosting China’s attempts to leapfrog generations of military technology in its rivalry with Western powers. Moberly was part of the FBI team that successfully built a case against accused spies Chi Mak and Dongfan Greg Chung in California. Chung, an aerospace stress analyst, is thought to have spent decades funneling trade secrets concerning U.S. government research and development programs to China, including the space shuttle program, the B-1 bomber, the Delta IV rocket, U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter and the U.S. Marine Corps CH 46-47 Chinook helicopter. And he did it all with paper. FBI photos taken from Chung’s expansive, $1.5 million home in Orange, California, showed nearly 300,000 pages of sensitive company documents that Chung, who had a high-level security clearance, had funneled away over the years. Evidence in the federal case, which included a copy of a detailed tasking order from a Chinese intelligence case officer, showed that Chung, who came to the U.S. from Taiwan in the 1960s, had been sharing trade secrets with China since before May 1987. “Up to this point in my career, I had never seen, and probably never again will I encounter, all the elements of the espionage case in one place,” Moberly said of the letters discovery. The letter detailed specific items for collection by Chung and instructed him to use the family of Chi Mak, who were trained intelligence operatives, as a conduit for information. (The Maks copied and burned the records to disks, which they then carried to China). At other times, Chung apparently was debriefed at a safe house in Guangzhou, China; he used his wife’s purported art career as cover for travel. Though the federal investigation began by targeting Mak (who was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to export sensitive defense technology to China and sentenced to more than 24 years in prison), Moberly’s team was further aided by a detailed journal kept by Chung with entries dating from the 1980s to the day before his arrest in 2006. (He was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.) The Chung case is considered a landmark application of the 1996 Economic Espionage Act, but Moberly noted that it has significance for all U.S. companies and especially their employees. You are the target, he said. Employees of companies—not just defense contractors—are espionage targets. The case also demonstrates that early reporting, investigative transparency by the FBI and full cooperation from the victim are essential to successful prosecutions, he said.

Event Photographs:

FBI Special Agent Kevin Moberly discusses a case study in trade secret theft and economic espionage with the chapter in July.
FBI Special Agent Kevin Moberly discusses a case study in trade secret theft and economic espionage with the chapter in July.
The chapter's July luncheon speaker Moberly (l) accepts a token of appreciation from board member Bill Robinson.
The chapter's July luncheon speaker Moberly (l) accepts a token of appreciation from board member Bill Robinson.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Marla Dial
512.296.7352

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