Part of the Seattle metropolitan area, the city of Woodinville has a population of about 10,000 and is better known for wineries and destination restaurants. Wonder what the town elders have to say about one of their own being arrested yesterday on multiple conspiracy counts for alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA)?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lian Yang, 46, was arrested on Dec. 3, 2010, when he was scheduled to meet with undercover agents to exchange cash for items controlled for export for national security reasons. In the complaint that was unsealed yesterday it states that Yang attempted to purchase and export 300 radiation-hardened, programmable semiconductor devices that are used in satellites.
During the summer of 2010, Yang was detained when he returned from a trip to China and was questioned about some equipment in his luggage. Yang was informed of U.S. export control laws by Customs and Border Protection officials as well as Homeland Security Investigation agents. It appears that the red flag was not big enough. Yang continued to try to purchase parts for export, arranging to wire transfer funds to an account controlled by those he thought would assist him.
As folks in this town weigh options with regards to export control reform, and what to do next now that a Republican House of Representatives will mostly likely take a different approach on pragmatic next steps, incidents such as this one serve as a reminder of how pernicious technology absconders can be. Tinkering with lists and making it easier to move certain technologies around may not always be necessarily the more prudent approach.
Even after the warning from federal authorities, Yang seemed completely oblivious and did not think he was going to get caught. These folks hide out just about anywhere, even in bucolic towns or suburbs like Woodinville. Reform efforts have seemed to place a lot of emphasis on making licensing easier, and some of that may be needed; however, giving teeth and resources to enforcing existing laws seem to make a lot more sense.