An F-35C test aircraft flies at dusk in September. A federal grand jury indicted a former Pratt & Whitney employee who attempted to ship boxes of stolen information on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Iran. (Lockheed Martin)
WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury indicted a former Connecticut man who attempted to ship boxes of stolen information on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Iran.
Mozaffar Khazaee is charged with two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. The 59-year-old former resident of Bridgeport, Conn., faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.
Khazaee was arrested Jan. 9 at Newark International Airport in New Jersey as he prepared to board the first leg of a flight to Iran. A naturalized American citizen since 1991, the Iranian-born Khazaee was identified in media reports as a former employee of Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer for the F-35.
According to a US government affidavit, federal agents began investigating Khazaee in November when he attempted to send a shipment from Connecticut to the Iranian city of Hamadan. When agents inspected the shipment, they found “numerous boxes of documents consisting of sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, and other proprietary material for the F-35.
Overall, the shipment included thousands of pages of documents, including diagrams and blueprints of the high-tech fighter jet’s engine. Some of the information was marked as being ITAR- and export-controlled information.
Those documents came from three companies, according to the affidavit; although the government identifies them only as companies A, B and C, a spokesman for Pratt confirmed they are one of the firms involved.
No arraignment date has been set and the indictment does not indicate the end of the investigation into Khazaee’s actions.
A Department of Justice press release notes that the case is “being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in New Haven and Los Angeles, the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service in New Haven, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service in Los Angeles, the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations in Los Angeles and Boston, and the Department of Commerce’s Boston Office of Export Enforcement.”