Saudi-Born American Spy Caught in the Act Doing the Unthinkable
The Navy Times has reported that a Saudi-born engineer working for the Navy has been arrested, accused of treason. The crime involves one of the country’s most powerful nuclear vessels. According to the newspaper:
According to documents from the Justice Department, a federal grand jury on Dec. 3 indicted Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 35, and charged him with two counts of attempting to export defense articles and technical data.
According to a redacted affidavit from federal agent James Blitzer, Awwad was born in 1979 in Saudi Arabia. He married a US citizen in May 2007 in Cairo, Egypt, and later became a US citizen.
At the time of his indictment, Awwad, of Yorktown, Virginia, was working as a civilian engineer in the nuclear engineering and planning department of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he had been hired in February. He had been given a clearance of Secret.
Awwad was captured as part of an undercover FBI “sting” operation. He attempted to sell the technical details of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the government of Egypt. He obtained the plans working as a civilian engineer on the USS Gerald R. Ford.
The plans involved a ship under construction. It will be one of the lead “supercarriers” employing the Navy’s newest technology. Awwad thought he was selling information about the nuclear carrier to an Egyptian government agency. In truth, the “Egyptian” was an undercover FBI agent.
A Department of Justice document stated:
During the meeting Awwad claimed it was his intention to utilize his position of trust with the US Navy to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government.
(The information concerned) the designs of the USS Gerald Ford nuclear aircraft carrier. Awwad agreed to conduct clandestine communications with the undercover FBI agent by email and unattributable telephones and to conduct “dead drops” in a concealed location in the park.
(Awwad) and the undercover FBI agent met at a hotel where Awwad described a detailed plan to circumvent US Navy computer security by installing software on his restricted computer system that would enable him to copy documents without causing a security alert.
Awwad asked for a false passport so he could leave the country clandestinely and go to Egypt. On at least one occasion, he delivered classified plans through a “dead drop” in exchange for cash.
Media sources have identified Awwad as a Muslim, but that is unconfirmed. Ninety percent of Saudis are Muslim. It is unknown whether he has ties to terrorist organizations or was motivated entirely by financial considerations.