WASHINGTON — A Maryland scientist who worked for the Defense Department, a White House space council and other agencies was arrested Monday on charges of passing along classified information to an undercover FBI agent he thought was an Israeli intelligence officer.
Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information, the Justice Department said. The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf violated U.S. law.
Nozette was arrested by FBI agents. He is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Washington today.
In an affidavit supporting the complaint, FBI agent Leslie Martell said that on Sept. 3, Nozette received a telephone call from an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The caller was an undercover FBI agent.
Nozette agreed to meet with the agent later that day at a hotel in Washington, and in the meeting the two discussed Nozette's willingness to work for Israeli intelligence, the affidavit said.
Nozette allegedly informed the agent that he had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to U.S. satellite information, the affidavit said.
Nozette also allegedly said that he would be willing to answer questions in exchange for money. The agent explained that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, would arrange for a communication system so Nozette could pass on information in a post office box.
Nozette agreed to provide regular, continuing information and asked for an Israeli passport, the affidavit alleged. Nozette had worked in varying jobs for the Energy Department, NASA and the National Space Council in the president's office in 1989 and 1990.
He developed the Clementine bi-static radar experiment that discovered water on the south pole of the moon. He worked at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from approximately 1990 to 1999.
Between January 2000 and February 2006, Nozette, through his company, had agreements to develop technology for the government. He did some of this work at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.