Ex-US Contractor Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Provide Classified Info to Russian Gov't
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A former defense contractor was arrested by the US authorities for allegedly attempting to provide classified information to an FBI agent posing as a Russian agent, the Justice Department.
The suspect faces up to life in prison if he is found guilty, according to the release.
"A South Dakota man was arrested last night in Lead, South Dakota, on criminal charges related to his alleged espionage attempts," the Justice Department said in a press release on Thursday. "According to court documents, John Murray Rowe Jr., 63, of Lead, attempted to provide classified national defense information to the Russian government."
Rowe worked nearly 40 years as a test engineer for multiple defense contractors and held various national security clearances, including for top secret material, the release said. Rowe was involved in work for the US Air Force's aerospace technology, among other things, the release added.
However, Rowe was terminated from employment from the last defense firm he worked for when he was identified as a potential insider threat after committing several security violations and showing a profound interest in Russian affairs, including interest into whether he could obtain a security clearance from the Russian government, the release explained.
14 December 2021, 23:18 GMT
The FBI launched an undercover operation to determine Rowe's willingness to exchange classified information to a foreign government, so in March 2020, he met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian agent, the release said. Over the span of eight months, Rowe sent 300 emails with the fake Russian agent expressing willingness to provide the Russian government classified information related to US national security and military matters, the release also said.
Eventually, Rowe sent the fake Russian agent classified information about specific operating details of the electronic countermeasure systems used by US military fighter jets, the release added.