WASHINGTON, July 23 A 28-year-old Chinese man
pleaded guilty on Wednesday of attempting to smuggle military
technology obtained from undercover U.S. agents out of the
United States to China, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Bo Cai, an employee of a Chinese technology firm, was
accused along with his cousin Wentong Cai, 29, of trying to
illegally export sensors primarily manufactured for sale to the
U.S. Department of Defense.
Wentong Cai, who was in the United States on a student visa,
has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The U.S. Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic
in Arms Regulations prohibit the export of defense-related
materials from the United States without a license or written
approval from the U.S. Department of State.
"This prosecution demonstrates the federal law enforcement
community's commitment to safeguarding our nation's military
secrets by keeping America's critical technology from falling
into the wrong hands," a Justice Department statement quoted
Damon P. Martinez, U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, as saying.
The statement said that Bo Cai admitted enlisting Wentong
Cai to acquire the sensors and that the cousin used the pretext
that he would use them at Iowa State University, where he was a
graduate microbiology student.
The two men were detained after obtaining a sensor from
undercover U.S. Homeland Security agents in New Mexico in
December after negotiations by email and phone.
Bo Cai was arrested at an airport in Los Angeles in December
as he was preparing to board a flight to China. The sensor was
discovered concealed in a computer speaker in his luggage, the
He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years on the Arms
Export Control Act charge, 10 years for smuggling and five years
for conspiracy, it said.
Wentong Cai is in custody in New Mexico and is due to go on
trial on Aug. 18.
U.S. accusations of spying by China have raised tensions
between Washington and Beijing in recent months.
In May, the United States charged five Chinese military
officers with hacking into American companies to steal trade
secrets. China showed its anger over the allegations by shutting
down a bilateral working group on cyber security.
Earlier this month, the New York Times quoted senior U.S.
officials as saying that in March, Chinese hackers broke into
the computer networks of the U.S. government agency that keeps
the personal information of all federal employees.
The paper said the hackers appeared to be targeting files on
tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret
security clearances. (nyti.ms/1mL8sRb)
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Ken Wills)