The FBI has arrested a US defense contractor employee for allegedly taking classified information with him on a secret China trip.
Tucson-resident Wei Sun, 48, worked for Raytheon for over 10 years as an electrical engineer on the firm’s missile systems program. As such, the China-born US resident had access to technical data on highly regulated military technology which requires an export license to take out of the country.
However, he allegedly transported some of this data “knowingly and wilfully” on his work laptop on a December 2018 trip, despite being told by a manager that this would contravene company policy and federal law.
Whilst out of the country, he emailed Raytheon from his laptop and work account to resign, claiming he wanted to study and work overseas.
On returning, he admitted to security staff at the firm that he had taken information on Raytheon’s ballistic missile defense system abroad on his work laptop, but only to Singapore and the Philippines.
However, Sun’s story subsequently changed, as he admitted to travelling to China, Cambodia and Hong Kong — again with no attempt made to obtain an export license under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Sun was kicked out of the company after these interviews in January 2019 and arrested a year later for breaking the ITAR.
Reports suggest he was familiar with cutting-edge weapons systems of high strategic value to China, such as defense technology used to shoot down incoming missiles.
The US is clamping down on intelligence leaks of all types. Last week it emerged that a prominent Harvard academic had been arrested and charged with lying about his ties to China.
His case was published alongside news that a PLA officer and a second Chinese national were arrested after posing as students to steal sensitive research information.