It’s four years in the federal slammer for an American caught conspiring to export to Communist China a very pricey weaponized drone as well as jet fighter engines. In my book, she got off too easy. According to a Justice Department press release, Wenxia Man, aka Wency Man, 45, of San Diego:
According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately March 2011 and June 2013, Man conspired with Xinsheng Zhang, who was located in China, to illegally acquire and export to China defense articles including: Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines used in the F-22 Raptor fighter jet; General Electric F110-GE-132 engines designed for the F-16 fighter jet; the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, capable of firing Hellfire Missiles; and technical data for each of these defense articles. During the course of the investigation, when talking to an undercover HSI agent, Man referred to Zhang as a “technology spy” who worked on behalf of the Chinese military to copy items obtained from other countries and stated that he was particularly interested in stealth technology.
Based of what I read of the record, as well as several news articles, my sense is that she became a U.S. citizen in 2006 for the sole purpose of stealing U.S. technology for her native Communist China. The facts in this case seem to fit a pattern. A China regime focused pattern of putting Chinese nationals in the U.S. to, at some point, steal sensitive dual-use and military technologies.
The Congress should take a closer look at these export control violation cases and determine if the punishments that are being handed down are sufficient to make it harder for countries such as China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, among others, to steal technologically sensitive or military technologies from American companies.
In its 2011 Annual Report to Congress, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center correctly label Communist China as the “persistent collector” of U.S. military and dual-use technology, adding that:
Chinese leaders consider the first two decades of the 21st century to be a window of strategic opportunity for their country to focus on economic growth, independent innovation, scientific and technical advancement, and growth of the renewable energy sector. China’s intelligence services, as well as private companies and other entities, frequently seek to exploit Chinese citizens or persons with family ties to China who can use their insider access to corporate networks to steal trade secrets using removable media devices or e-mail.
At a Senate hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Randall C. Coleman the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division said:
China often is cited as particularly active in the theft of trade secrets. According to a report submitted to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in November 2012, China “depends on industrial espionage, forced technology transfers, and piracy and counterfeiting of foreign technology as part of a system of innovation mercantilism.”1 By obtaining what it needs illegally, China avoids the expense and difficulty of basic research and unique product development, the report concluded. Created by Congress in 2000, the Commission’s mandate is to monitor, investigate, and report to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
Coleman also discussed changing the sentencing guidelines, some of which was adopted by the Federal Sentencing Commission. Longer prison terms are a great first step, but more is warranted.
While making mandatory the denaturalization of U.S. citizens found guilty of violating U.S. export control laws will not completely fix this issue, it will send a message to potential U.S. citizens, and others, to think long and hard before engaging in these costly and illegal activities that hurt the U.S. at home and abroad.