Tennessee Professor Investigated for Transferring Sensitive Information to China

 China-Tennessee  Comments Off on Tennessee Professor Investigated for Transferring Sensitive Information to China
May 212008
 

The Reece Roth story has now made national news:

Prof Accused of Passing Drone Tech to China

Just for clarification, Roth is not accused of passing classified information. Rather, he is accused of passing information controlled by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which governs the export of munitions and technical data and knowledge related to munitions. The regulations, administered by the Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls, are notoriously hard to decipher, even for experienced export control officials. For universities, it has been even harder.

UT Professor Under Investigation for Illegally Giving Research Information to China

 China-Tennessee  Comments Off on UT Professor Under Investigation for Illegally Giving Research Information to China
Apr 152008
 

I know the Roths and first heard about it through family and friends. The Knoxville News-Sentinel has done a lot of reporting on it, but their website has never been that great. Here’s a fairly comprehensive timeline of events through April 2008:

2006

–March 23: Atmospheric Glow Technologies Inc. announces a breakthrough in plasma actuator technology, developed under a U.S. Air Force contract.

–May 10-12: AGT learns of a potential Arms Export Control Act violation allegedly involving retired University of Tennessee professor J. Reece Roth, who does cooperative research with AGT.

–May 12: AGT removes all of its equipment from UT’s Plasma Sciences Laboratory after the issue cannot be resolved.

–Mid-May-May 26: Roth lectures at two universities in China and works on a Chinese translation of one of his books.

–May 26: Roth is taken out of line by Customs agents at the Detroit airport on his return to the United States. Most of his documents are copied.

–May 26: Roth is met by federal agents in Knoxville who seize his laptop computer.

–May 27: Roth learns that federal agents have searched both his office and the Plasma Sciences Laboratory, seizing numerous items.

–May 29: Roth informs colleagues at UT and AGT of what has happened and says he is leaving to do consulting and visit his summer home.

–July 10: UT acknowledges it was served with federal search warrants but denies any violations of the Arms Export Control Act.

2007

Investigation continues and neither UT, Roth nor federal investigators will comment on the status.

2008

–April 15: Colorado physicist admits in U.S. District Court to conspiring with Roth and AGT to provide sensitive technical data to a Chinese graduate student. Daniel Max Sherman pleads guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Neither Roth nor AGT is charged, but prosecutors say investigation is continuing.