Saudi-Born Naval Engineer Mostafa Ahmed Awwad Arrested for Attempting to Sell Nuclear Aircraft Secrets
Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 35, of Yorktown, Va., a civilian with the U.S. Navy, leaves the federal courthouse in Norfolk, Va. on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 after he was arrested on charges he tried to steal schematics for the under construction Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier for Egypt. (AP /The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley)
A 35 year-old Saudi-born engineer was arrested Friday for attempting to sell nuclear aircraft secrets to an Egyptian agent.
Navy Times reported:
A naturalized American citizen working for the Navy was arrested Friday for attempting to sell technical information about the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford to an agent of the Egyptian government.
The agent, however, was a federal undercover agent working for the FBI.
According to documents from the Justice Department, a federal grand jury on Dec. 3 indicted Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 35, and charged him with two counts of attempting to export defense articles and technical data.
According to a redacted affidavit from federal agent James Blitzer, Awwad was born in 1979 in Saudi Arabia. He married a US citizen in May 2007 in Cairo, Egypt, and later became a US citizen.
At the time of his indictment, Awwad, of Yorktown, Virginia, was working as a civilian engineer in the nuclear engineering and planning department of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he had been hired in February. He had been given a clearance of Secret.
The office provides engineering support for the Gerald R. Ford, under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in nearby Newport News, Virginia.
The indictment and affidavit provide details of how, on Sept. 18, an FBI undercover agent speaking in Arabic contacted Awwad by phone and asked to meet the following day. Awwad subsequently agreed to copy and turn over diagrams and schematics of the carrier, many marked “NOFORN,” meaning no distribution to foreign citizens.
According to a Justice Department press release, during the Sept. 19 meeting “Awwad met with the undercover FBI agent, who was posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer, in a park in Hampton, Virginia.
“During the meeting Awwad claimed it was his intention to utilize his position of trust with the US Navy to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government, including but not limited to, the designs of the USS Gerald Ford nuclear aircraft carrier. Awwad agreed to conduct clandestine communications with the undercover FBI agent by email and unattributable telephones and to conduct ‘dead drops’ in a concealed location in the park.”