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Sub and military secrets case. Jury selection started.

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Sub and military secrets case. Jury selection started.

Postby U-5075 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:43 pm

STATE NEWS


Jury selection set to begin Tuesday in military secrets case



SANTA ANA, Calif. - Federal prosecutors have cast top engineer Chi Mak as a veteran foreign agent who used his position at a major U.S. defense contractor to steal military secrets for the Chinese.

Defense attorneys, however, say the 66-year-old is a devoted American who'd never do anything to harm his adopted country.

Now, with his case headed to trial Tuesday, jurors will decide which portrayal to believe.

Mak, an American citizen since 1985, faces charges of conspiracy to export U.S. defense secrets to China, possession of property in aid of a foreign government and failure to register as a foreign agent. He could get more than 50 years in prison if convicted.

As a top engineer at Power Paragon, an Anaheim-based subsidiary of the nation's sixth-largest defense company, L-3 Communications, Mak helped develop some of the most advanced and closely guarded naval technology in the world, including silent-running propulsion systems that can make submarines virtually undetectable.

Prosecutors say the Chinese-born Mak was working for China from 1983 until his arrest two years ago, stealing hundreds of documents about a number of defense systems.

Mak allegedly took documents from Power Paragon, copied them to computer disks and encrypted them with the help of his brother, Tai Mak, and nephew, Billy Mak, before trying to pass them to a Chinese contact.

Tai Mak and his wife, Fuk Heung Li, were arrested in October 2005 at Los Angeles International Airport as they prepared to travel to Hong Kong and China.

Hidden in their luggage were encrypted disks containing copies of documents on a submarine propulsion system, according to court papers.

Chi Mak was arrested several days later.

According to the FBI, Chi Mak told investigators his brother was giving the information to a researcher at a Chinese university center that conducts operations research for and receives funding from the People's Liberation Army.

During a search of Chi Mak's home, investigators found restricted documents on the DDX Destroyer, an advanced technology warship, according to court papers.

They also found lists in Chinese asking Chi Mak to get documents about submarine torpedo technology, electromagnetic artillery systems, weapon standardization, early warning technology used to detect incoming missiles, and defenses used against nuclear attack, the court papers say.

Chi Mak's lawyers have said the government has grossly exaggerated the evidence against their client, and he would never do anything to harm his adopted country.

Tai Mak, Li, Billy Mak and Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, the wife of Chi Mak, have all pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the case, and await trial.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

Hidden in their luggage were encrypted disks containing copies of documents on a submarine propulsion system, according to court papers.
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