Chinese Spying Claimed in Purchases of NSA Crypto Gear

Chinese Spying Claimed in Purchases of NSA Crypto Gear
Chinese Spying Claimed in Purchases of NSA Crypto Gear

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By Kevin Poulsen
Threat Level
July 9, 2009

A Chinese national was indicted this week for conspiring to violate U.S. 
export law, following a nearly three-year investigation into his alleged 
efforts to acquire sensitive military and NSA-encryption gear from eBay 
and other internet sources.

Chi Tong Kuok, of Macau, told Defense Department and Customs 
investigators that he had been =E2=80=9Cacting at the direction of officials for 
the People=E2=80=99s Republic of China,=E2=80=9D according to a government affidavit in 
the case. =E2=80=9CKuak indicated he and PRC officials sought the items to 
figure out ways to listen to or monitor U.S. government and military 

Kuok was arrested at the Atlanta International Airport last month en 
route from Paris to Panama, where he allegedly planned to meet an 
undercover federal agent he believed was going to provide him with 
military radios. He was transferred to California, where he was indicted 
(.pdf) Tuesday for money laundering, conspiracy, smuggling and one count 
of attempting to export a defense article without a license.

The U.S. began investigating Kuok in December 2006, when, using the 
first of many aliases, the man allegedly e-mailed a contact in the 
defense industry in search of software for a VDC-300 airborne data 
controller, used for secure satellite communications from American 
military aircraft.

The contact referred Kuok to an undercover agent in San Diego, who began 
negotiating with Kuok over a shopping list of military technology that 
eventually grew to at least 43 different items, ranging from a GPS 
receiver with anti-spoofing defenses, to the NSA-developed AN/CYZ-10 
crypto key management device.


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