Espionage suspect has friends puzzled

Espionage suspect has friends puzzled
Espionage suspect has friends puzzled 

By Del Quentin Wilber and Maria Glod
The Washington Post
October 28, 2009

By all accounts, Stewart D. Nozette is a brilliant and creative 
scientist, an astronomer who once sketched a key part of a lunar mission 
on the back of a cocktail napkin and daydreamed of colonizing the moon.

In a recent photograph, he appears the caricature of a NASA geek: a 
pudgy man wearing an ugly green shirt with a pen protruding from the 
pocket. Wisps of his hair scatter in all directions.

But Nozette is not your stereotypically shy, reserved genius. He is 
ambitious and unafraid to engage in political combat. He has been known 
to prod public officials and lawmakers to fund his programs or scuttle 
those of rivals, friends and colleagues said. He has donated more than 
$35,000 to politicians and causes.

And, according to recently unsealed court documents, he stole lots of 
government money to finance personal credit cards, mortgages, car loans 
and maintenance on his swimming pool.

It's those traits -- his hubris and expensive tastes -- that might 
explain why the astronomer regarded by many in his field as accomplished 
and gifted has landed in such serious trouble with the law, 
investigators and former colleagues say.


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