Ex-Govt. Scientist Snared in Spy Sting in Which FBI Agent Posed as Israeli Mossad Agent


By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON –  In a hotel room in Northwest Washington last month, scientist Stewart David Nozette told the other man in the room:

Nozette: I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come by the way.

Other man: How’s that.

Nozette: (laughs) I just had a feeling one of these days.

Other man: Really?

Nozette: I knew you guys would show up.

Unfortuantely,  it was bad news for Nozette.  The other man wasn’t really an Israeli Mossad agent.

In fact, on Monday, the suburban D.C. scientist  who had worked for a number of government agencies was arrested on charges of attempted espionage for allegedly trying to pass on highly classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli Mossad agent.

Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Md., who had worked in various capacities over the years for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was charged in a criminal complaint with knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States, authorities said.

Authorities said they were not alleging that the Israeli government or anyone else acting on its behalf  had committed any crime.

“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious and should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation’s secrets for profit,” David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a prepared statement.

He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in D.C. on Tuesday.

According to an FBI affidavit, Nozette  received a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1983, and worked at the White House on the National Space Council, Executive Office of the President in 1989 and 1990.

(Read Criminal Complaint)

He developed the Clementine bi-static radar experiment that purportedly discovered water on the south pole of the moon, the affidavit said.

Nozette also worked at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from approximately 1990 to 1999 where he designed highly advanced technology, the court document said.

The FBI affidavit said between January 2000 and February 2006, Nozette, through his company ACT, entered into several agreements to develop advanced technology for the U.S. government.

From 1989 through 2006, Nozette held security clearances as high as Top Secret and had regular access to U.S. National defense classified information and documents, authorities said.

In 2006, he lost his security clearance and signed a document agreeing essentially to never disclose any of the highly classified information he had obtained during his work.

Meanwhile, the FBI affidavit said between November 1998 through January 2008, Nozette acted as a technical consultant for an aerospeace company that was wholly owned by the government of Israel.

About once a  month, the aerospace company “proposed questions, or taskings” and Nozette received regular payments from the company totalling $225,000, the FBI affidavit said.

On Jan. 6, 2009, he traveled from Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia  with two computer “thumb” drives, which was noted by the Transportation Security Administration, which searched his bags.

Upon his return, Customs and Border Patrol agents checked his bags but could not find the thumb drives.

On Sept. 3, 2009, he was contacted by phone by a man who said he was an Israeli intelligence officer. The officer was actually an undercover FBI agent,  the FBI document said.

Later that day, Nozette agreed to meet with the man on Connecticut Avenue NW in front of a major Washington hotel, the document said. The two then had lunch in the hotel restaurant.

The FBI affidavit said:

“During the lunch, Nozette demonstrated his willingness to work for the Israeli intelligence, as illustrated by the following conversation:”

FBI: “I’ll just say it really quick and then we’ll just move on. Quick, I wanna clarify something from the start. And I don’t say it very often, but umm, I work for Israeli Intelligence…

Nozette: Mm-hmm

FBI: Agency known here as Mossad

Nozette: Mm-hmm

FBI: So from now on I”m not gonna say this. But if I say service…

Nozette: Mm-hmm

FBI:...so you know what that, what it is. But I just wanna be sure, I”ll let it out so we don’t have an ambiguity later on. But…

Nozette: ..Mm-hmm

FBI: How you doin’?

Nozette: Good.  Happy to be of assistance.

After lunch, according to the affidavit, the two went to a hotel suite to continue the discussion.

Nozette: I haven’t been, I haven’t um, been involved in classified work for the last couple of years.

FBI: Okay.

Nozette: But I had everything.

FBI: Okay

Nozette: And I had all, all the way to Top Secret SCI, I had nuclear…

FBI: That’s prior to a couple of years ago.

Nozette: Yeah.

FBI: IS that what you…

Nozette: Yeah. And I had it, uh, I had it w-, I had all the nuclear clearances. I had a whole raft of…

FBI: Okay.

Nozette:…special access.

FBI: Um..

Nozette: Uh, so any that the U.S. has done in space I’ve seen.

The undercover agent, according to the affidavit, then asked him if he’d be willing to provide info on U.S. satellite information and asked what he would like in return.

Nozette: Oh, you could pay me.

Later he says:

Nozette: I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come by the way.

After that, information and money was exchanged through a Post Office Box, according to the affidavit.

5 thoughts on “Ex-Govt. Scientist Snared in Spy Sting in Which FBI Agent Posed as Israeli Mossad Agent

  1. Your link to the complaint does not work. All image links in the initial document view point to images that do not exist on your server. Furthermore, the Google Docs links on the page apparently point to your personal account, and do not work for me.

    Recommend you change your link to something foolproof (e.g. a direct link to a PDF document), rather than the apparent link to a “saved” Google Doc page.

    Also, how did you get a copy of the complaint? It does not seem to appear anywhere on the Internet yet.

  2. Pingback: omReflections
  3. Pingback: David Nozette

Leave a Reply