Stewart Nozette was a “brilliant scientist” whose “accomplishments in the field were matched by few, if anyone else, on the planet” — making his attempt to sell classified information “especially troubling,” according to a sentencing memorandum from U.S. prosecutors reported on the Secrecy News blog.
Nozette, who had high-level security clearances during decades of government work on science and space projects at NASA, the Energy Department and the National Space Council, likely faces 13 years in prison after admitting he offered to sell secrets to an undercover FBI agent who posed as an Israeli intelligence officer. His sentencing hearing is set for March 21 in U.S. District Court in Washington.
“His statement to the undercover FBI agent that anything ‘that the U.S. has done in space I’ve seen’ was not hyperbole,” the memo states. But Nozette “chose to supplement his income unlawfully. … Defendant all too eagerly agreed to be a traitor to the United States and did so with obvious glee and with no apparent remorse or hesitation.”