A former engineer for a top U.S. Defense contractor allegedly tried to ship “sensitive technical materials” and other proprietary information related to the tri-variant F-35 Lighting II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Mozaffar Khazaee was arrested at the Newark Airport Jan. 9 when he tried to connect to his flight bound for Iran, via Frankfurt, Germany.
A Department of Homeland Security special agent and Customs and Border Patrol unit discovered 44 boxes marked “Household Goods” sent by Khazaee, a 59-year-old American with dual Iranian citizenship, when they inspected an outbound shipment for Iran.
Khazaee is charged with “Interstate transfer of stolen property of the value of $5,000 or more.” The government notes the actual value of a single portion of the protected information tops $352,000.
The U.S. Attorney’s affidavit mentions Khazaee worked for three U.S. government contractors, “Company A,” “Company B” and “Company C.” Pratt & Whitney confirmed today to The Blaze they are “Company A.”
“Pratt & Whitney has been cooperating fully with the government on this matter and will continue to do so,” Matthew Bates said, Communications Manager, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines.
Lockheed Martin, the lead defense contractor on the Joint Strike Fighter program, echoed Pratt & Whitney’s statement of cooperation with government agencies awaiting further information about the investigation and trial.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Khazaee – who also goes by the name of Arash Khazaie – packed thousands of “ITAR-protected” and export-controlled documents into the phony shipment bound for Hamadan, Iran.
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), implements the Arms Export Control Act; the Department of State is responsible for the export and temporary import of defense articles and services governed by the AECA. The charges on Khazaee were filed with the U.S. District Court in Connecticut, Pratt & Whitney’s home of Pratt & Whitney’s corporate headquarters.
Khazaee became a naturalized United States citizen in 1991, and holds a valid U.S. passport. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said in an e-mail to The Blaze that Khazaee was represented by an appointed New Jersey assistant federal defender at his initial court appearance, and will need new counsel, either appointed or retained, when he arrives in Connecticut.
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