Wolf Announces Arrest of Chinese National Working as NASA Contractor-UPDATE

Wolf Announces Arrest of Chinese National Working as NASA Contractor-UPDATE

UPDATE:  This article was updated at 11:25 pm on March 18, 2013.  As explained below, it was further corrected on October 22, 2013.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) announced today that a Chinese national, Bo Jiang, was arrested at Dulles International Airport on Saturday as he was preparing to return to China.

Wolf took credit for getting the FBI to look into whistleblower allegations that Jiang had access to NASA’s Langley Research Center (LaRC) and information on projects being pursued there in possible violation of the Arms Export Control Act and its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  Jiang was a NASA contractor through the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), Wolf said.  

At a press conference today, Wolf said federal agents arrested Jiang after they learned that he was “abruptly” returning to China on a one-way ticket.  After flying from Norfolk, VA (near LaRC) and boarding a plane to Beijing, Jiang was asked by federal agents to declare what electronic media he had with him and did not reveal all of the items in his possession and thus was arrested for lying to the agents, according to Wolf, citing the arrest warrant.

Wolf restated what he has said in the past that he is concerned that NASA officials directed NIA to hire Jiang “in an apparent attempt to circumvent appropriations restrictions … in place to prevent the hiring of certain nationals of concern.”   He also wants to know how many other nationals from China or other “foreign nationals of concern” are employed by NASA contractors.   At a hearing last week, Wolf asked NASA Inspector General Paul Martin how many Chinese nationals, specifically, work for NASA contractors and Martin replied there were over 200.  Martin did not know how many other “foreign nationals of concern” — defined by Wolf as Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan — worked as NASA contractors, but agreed to look into it.

Wolf issued a seven step remediation plan to address “systemic security issues” at NASA on March 7, which he reiterated today.  NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is scheduled to testify to Wolf’s subcommittee on Wednesday, and Wolf said that he expects Bolden to say “whether these actions will be taken.”

Editor’s note, October 22, 2013:   In the original version of this article, we referred to the Chinese individual as Bo, rather than Jiang, because traditionally Chinese names are written with the last name first.   However, Wolf’s March press statement, the FBI’s arrest warrant, and a NASA Inspector General’s report issued today all refer to him as Jiang, so we do now as well.

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