I was wondering why we got that funky email…

Received this in the campus email last week:

Sent: Wed Jul 01 XX:XX:XX 2009

Subject: Roth Sentencing

FYI: So, if faculty ask, this is why we have an Export Control Office.
 

Ex-Prof Gets 4 Years for Passing Military Secrets

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: July 1, 2009

Filed at 1:11 p.m. ET

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a retired University of Tennessee  professor to four years in prison Wednesday for passing sensitive information from a U.S. Air Force  contract to two research assistants from China and Iran.  Plasma physics expert J. Reece Roth was found guilty
in September on all 18 counts of conspiracy, fraud and violating the
Arms Export Control Act.  The case marked the first time the government used
the export control act to crack down on the distribution of restricted
data, not hardware, to foreigners in a university setting.  Prosecutors said Roth allowed the two graduate
students to see sensitive information while they researched a
plasma-guidance system for unmanned aircraft.  Roth, 71, testified at trial that he didn’t believe
he broke the law because the research had yet to produce anything
tangible. He said he received only about $6,000 from the contract.  Roth, who is appealing his conviction, faced a maximum of 160 years in prison and more than $1.5 million in fines.  The charges involved work performed from 2004 to 2006
on two Air Force contracts by Roth; graduate students Xin Dai of China
and Sirous Nourgostar of Iran; and university spinoff company
Atmospheric Glow Technologies Inc. of Knoxville.  Prosecutors presented several documents suggesting
research by Roth’s university laboratory and Atmospheric Glow
Technologies was restricted. Roth attempted to keep the sensitive
research with an American graduate student and the rest with a foreign
student, but eventually the data was shared.  Roth also was accused of taking reports and related
studies in his laptop to China during a lecture tour in 2006, and
having one report e-mailed to him there through a Chinese professor’s
Internet connection.  Atmospheric Glow Technologies has pleaded guilty to
10 counts of exporting defense-related materials, and Roth protege
Daniel Sherman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

And then I read this in the local news.  What the heck is going on?

Update (9 July).  It appears former Chief Hernandez wasn’t mixed up with Chinese spies, just some boneheaded inappropriate behavior.  What a putz.

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