A former Raytheon employee has been imprisoned in the United States for exporting sensitive military data from America to the People’s Republic of China.
Chinese national Wei Sun was employed in Tucson, Arizona, as an electrical engineer with Raytheon Missiles and Defense for 10 years. In February 2020, the 49-year-old pled guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) by taking a company-issued laptop containing sensitive information to China during a vacation.
Raytheon Missiles and Defense, one of four business segments of American multinational Raytheon Technologies, develops and produces missile systems for use by the United States military.
During his 10-year tenure with the company, naturalized United States citizen Sun had access to information directly related to defense-related technology.
“Some of this defense technical information constituted what is defined as ‘defense articles,’ which are controlled and prohibited from export without a license under the AECA and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (the ITAR),” said the US Department of Justice.
Sun took a personal trip to the PRC in December 2018, returning to the United States in January 2019. On that winter holiday, Sun brought unclassified technical information in his computer, including data associated with an advanced missile guidance system that was controlled and regulated under the AECA and the ITAR.
“Despite having been trained to handle these materials correctly, Sun knowingly transported the information to China without an export license in violation of the AECA and the ITAR,” said the DOJ.
The assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, Alan Kohler, Jr., said Sun’s transportation of sensitive military data to China was no accident.
“This isn’t about a laptop mistakenly taken on a trip, this was the illegal export of US missile technology to China,” said Kohler.
“The FBI will continue to partner with companies to protect their information and our national security while bringing criminals such as Wei Sun to justice.”
On November 18, District Court Judge Rosemary Marquez sentenced the former engineer to 38 months in prison.
“Sun was a highly skilled engineer entrusted with sensitive missile technology that he knew he could not legally transfer to hostile hands,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers.
“Today’s sentence should stand as a warning to others who might be tempted similarly to put the nation’s security at risk.”