F-35 Espionage

A federal grand jury in Connecticut indicted former Pratt & Whitney employee Mozaffar Khazaee on Jan. 21 on two counts of interstate transport of stolen property for attempting to ship sensitive materials about the F-35 strike fighter program to contacts in Iran. Per court documents cited by the Hartford Courant and other news sources, Khazaee, a 59-year-old dual Iranian and US citizen, worked as an engineer performing strength tests on P&W’s engines before he was laid off this past August during a restructuring by the company. Afterward, Khazaee packed up boxes of documents, schematics, technical manuals, and other sensitive information related to the F-35 and sent them to California, for shipping to Iran, where federal Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the package. Khazaee was arrested Jan. 9 at Newark International Airport where he was attempting to fly to Germany. He then planned to catch a connecting flight to Tehran, Iran. Pratt & Whitney spokesman Ray Hernandez told the Daily Report the company “will support the government’s investigation in any way necessary,” noting P&W is just one of three companies identified in the criminal complaint. “Protecting sensitive technical data is one of our highest priorities,” said Hernandez. The US Air Force Office of Special Investigations is investigating the case along with the FBI and CBP. If convicted, Khazaee faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each charge.