An engineer working as an operative for the Chinese government in a bid to use American know-how to beef up China’s nuclear program pleaded guilty Friday in the first-of-its-kind prosecution in the nation. Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho confessed Friday in U.S. District Court in the nation’s first case of nuclear espionage involving China. In a plea deal struck by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr. and Ho’s defense team, Ho is being allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge and will be sentenced under a terrorism statute dubbed the Freedom Act of 2015. The maximum sentence is 20 years. To keep that deal, Ho must tell the government everything he knows about China and its nuclear program. Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan set a May 17 sentencing hearing. Ho’s plea is considered key to gathering intelligence on the inner workings of China’s nuclear program – both the one used to power homes and the one to make war – in a case in which the Chinese government refuses to even acknowledge the indictment of its own nuclear power company. Ho, his firm Energy Technology International, and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power were indicted in April in an alleged plot to lure nuclear experts in the U.S. into providing information to allow China to develop and produce nuclear material based on American technology and below the radar of the U.S. government. It is the first such case in the nation brought under a provision of law that regulates the sharing of U.S. nuclear technology with certain countries deemed too untrustworthy to see it. Those countries include China. Although the technology is used for nuclear-power generation, the by-product of that process can be used to produce nuclear weapons. The investigation began at the behest of the Tennessee Valley Authority Office of the Inspector General, which contacted the FBI with concerns about one of TVA’s senior executives, engineer Ching Huey, who later admitted he was paid by Ho and, by extension, the Chinese government, to supply information about nuclear power production and even traveled to China on the Chinese government’s dime. Huey agreed to cooperate in the probe. He has since struck a plea deal.
Knox News 6th Jan 2017 read more »