Former Boeing Engineer Allegedly Shared Shuttle, Rocket Secrets With China
A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket carrying the DSP-23 missile warning satellite rockets spaceward from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Nov. 10, 2007.
Credit: Carleton Bailie/United Launch Alliance.

WASHINGTON — U.S. federal authorities arrested a former Boeing engineer Feb. 11 for allegedly giving the Chinese trade secrets related to several aerospace programs, including the space shuttle and Delta 4 rocket.

According to a U.S. Justice Department press release, Dongfan ?Greg? Chung, 72, was indicted by a federal grand jury Feb. 6 on eight counts of economic espionage; one count of conspiracy to commit espionage; one count of acting as an unregistered foreign agent; one count of obstruction of justice; and three counts of making false statements to the FBI.

FBI agents arrested Chung at his Orange, Calif., home without incident. He was flown to Washington, where he was expected to make his initial court appearance.

Chung was identified by the Justice Department as native of China and a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked for Rockwell International from 1973 until Boeing acquired Rockwell?s defense and space unit in 1996. Chung retired from Boeing in 2002, but returned as a contractor and continued to work on the shuttle program at Boeing?s Huntington Beach, Calif., facility until September 2006.

According to the indictment, Chung held a Secret security clearance during his time on the space shuttle program. Although he also is accused of passing secrets to the Chinese related to the Delta 4 rocket and C-17 cargo plane, Chung never worked on either of those programs, according to the indictment.

?Mr. Chung is accused of stealing restricted technology that had been developed over many years by engineers who were sworn to protect their work product because it represented trade secrets. Disclosure of this information to outside entities like the [People?s Republic of China] would compromise our national security,? U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O?Brien said in a written statement.

According to the indictment, Chung began receiving ?tasking? letters from individuals in the Chinese aviation industry as early as 1979 directing him to collect specific technological information about the space shuttle and various military and civilian aircraft. In one written response, according to the Justice Department, Chung expressed a desire to serve the ?motherland.?

Chung also allegedly sent various letters to Chinese officials referencing engineering manuals he had collected on their behalf, including 24 internal company documents relating to the B-1 bomber.

Among the other sensitive information Chung allegedly shared with Chinese officials were documents relating to a phased-array antenna Boeing was developing as a space shuttle upgrade in the mid-1990s and detailed technical descriptions of the Delta 4?s pre-launch fueling processes.

The indictment also alleges that Chung exchanged letters with Chinese officials discussing cover stories for his travels to China and methods for passing information, including suggestions that he use his wife, an artist, to transmit information.

The indictment and arrest follows a joint investigation by the FBI and NASA.

Dan Beck, a spokesman for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems of St. Louis, would not comment on Chung?s arrest. He also said Boeing is not a focus of the investigation but ?has been cooperating with the government throughout.?