Former defense contractor in Conn. tried to bring military documents to China

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BRIDGEPORT–A former New Haven resident is being federally charged with trying to give sensitive military data to China.

Yu Long, 36, formerly of New Haven, was arrested and charged with trying to travel to China with sensitive proprietary documents that detail equations and test results used in the development of technologically advanced titanium for use in U.S. Military aircraft. The documents were taken from a major defense contractor located in Connecticut, where Long formerly worked.

On Tuesday, a judge in Bridgeport ordered the complaint affidavit to be unsealed. According to the complaint affidavit, Long is a lawful permanent resident of the United States,  but has Chinese citizenship. Long worked as senior engineer and scientist at a research and development center for a major defense contractor in Connecticut from August 2008 to May 2014. During that time he traveled back and forth from China.

On Aug. 19, Long returned to the U.S. from China through the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. While U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers did a second search of Long’s belongings, they found $10,000 in undeclared U.S. cash, registration documents for a new corporation being established in China, and an employment application with a state-controlled aviation and aerospace research center in China.

On Long’s application for employment, he listed projects he had worked on while working for a U.S. defense contractor. He said he worked on two engines–the F119 and the F135–used in U.S. Air Force aircrafts. The F119 is used in the F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft, while the F135 is used in the F-35 Lightening II fighter aircraft. According to Pratt & Whitney’s website, the United Technologies Company subsidiary has the contract to produce the F119 and F135 engines for the U.S. Department of Defense.

On Nov. 5 Long flew from Ithaca, New York to Newark International Airport in New Jersey, where he had a layover before flying to China. While at Newark, Customs and Border Patrol officers inspected Long’s checked bags and found sensitive proprietary and export-controlled documents from a second defense contractor. The company those documents were from isn’t located in Connecticut.

Long obtained the documents from the second contractor due to a shared research project. The U.S. Air Force had gathered several defense contractors to try and collectively lower the cost of certain metals used in aircrafts. During that project, the companies shared technical data that had strict restrictions for disseminating. It was during this project that the second defense contractor that Long stole from provided the stolen documents to the first defense contractor in Connecticut, which Long did work for. Long never was employed by that second contractor.

It was discovered after agents inspected computers at the contractor Long worked for that he had printed the documents while he was still employed. Those documents had warnings written on them that they were sensitive, proprietary and export-controlled, and that they couldn’t be copied or given to a third party. This is especially true for China–the U.S. has prohibited the export of all U.S. defense articles to China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy.

Long was arrested on federal criminal charges on Nov. 7 in a residence in Ithaca, New York after trying to fly to China from Newark two days earlier. He subsequently appeared in court in Syracuse before being transported to Connecticut.

Long is charged with transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion or fraud. The maximum sentence for that crime is 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations in New Haven investigated this case. The Homeland Security Investigations department in Newark was also involved, as were the FBI in Syracuse and Newark and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service in Newark and New York.

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