engineer sentenced to 15 years for spying

Aw dammit. Yesterday in California, enginer Dongfan "Greg" Chung was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for hoarding sensitive information about the U.S. space shuttle that prosecutors say he intended to share with China: Chinese-born engineer gets 15 years for spying.

The case against Chung was the United States' first trial on economic espionage charges. Chung, a former Boeing Co. engineer, was convicted in July of six counts of economic espionage and other federal charges for keeping 300,000 pages of sensitive papers in his home.

During brief remarks, Chung, who is 74 years old, begged the judge to give him a lenient sentence, claiming that he wasn't spy, and had only brought the Boeing documents home to write a book. Prosecutors, however, wanted to send him to prison for the rest of his life:
"Your honor, I am not a spy, I am only an ordinary man," he said, adding that he had brought the Boeing documents home to write a book.

"Your honor, I love this country. ... Your honor, I beg your pardon and let me live with my family peacefully."

Despite Chung's age, prosecutors requested a 20-year sentence, in part to send a message to other would-be spies.

But the judge said he couldn't put a value on the amount of information that Chung stole and couldn't determine exactly how much the breaches hurt Boeing and the nation. He also cited the engineer's age and frail health in going with a sentence of 15 years and eight months.

"It's very difficult having to make a decision where someone is going to have to spend the rest of their adult life in prison," Carney said. "I take no comfort or satisfaction in that."
Sending a 74-year-old man to prison for 15 years. Whoa. During the trial, Chung's lawyers argued that he may have been a serious pack rat, and violated Boeing policy by bringing the papers home, but he wasn't a spy. The judge wasn't buying it. More here: Chinese-born engineer gets 15 years in spying for China.

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