Indian American Held Guilty of Selling Military Secrets to China

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Aug 10 (IANS) Indian American engineer Noshir Gowadia, who helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 bomber, has been found guilty of selling military secrets to China, conspiracy and money laundering.

Gowadia, 67, could be sentenced to life in prison in November following his conviction Monday by a jury in Hawaii in one of a series of major prosecutions targeting alleged Chinese spying in the US.

According to prosecutors, Gowadia helped China to design a stealth cruise missile with an exhaust nozzle that would evade infrared radar detection and US heat-seeking missiles.

Gowadia was accused of travelling six times to China between July 2003 and June 2005 while designing the missile. He was said to have been paid $110,000 - money that was used to pay off a mortgage on a multimillion-dollar oceanview home on the island of Maui.

In his defence, lawyers said it was true that Gowadia had designed an exhaust nozzle for China - but that it was "basic stuff" based on unclassified information that was publicly available.

Gowadia was an engineer with Northrop Grumman Corporation from 1968 to 1986, during which he contributed to the development of the unique propulsion system and low observable capabilities of the B-2 Spirit bomber, sometimes referred to as the 'Stealth' bomber.

He also continued to work on classified matters as a contractor with the US government until 1997, when his security clearance was terminated.

Gowadia, who was born in India, moved to the US in the 1960s and became a citizen about a decade later. He has been in custody for nearly four years and faces life in prison when he is sentenced in November.

He was found not guilty on three counts of communicating national defence information to help a foreign nation.

"This verdict sends a very clear message that no, you can't do that, and we can take care of our business here in American courtrooms when that happens," Assistant US Attorney Ken Sorenson said.

Gowadia's defence attorneys argued during the nearly four-month trial that while it is true he gave China the design for the cruise missile exhaust nozzle, he based his work on unclassified, publicly available information. Gowadia plans to appeal.

"Mr Gowadia provided some of our country's most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money. Today, he is being held accountable for his actions," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris.

"This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation's military secrets for profit."


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