Noshir Gowadia's testimony is cut short after an illness leaves him feeling disoriented
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 2, 2010
Testimony from the man accused of selling U.S. defense secrets to China offered a brief glimpse into his defense strategy yesterday.
Maui resident Noshir Gowadia left the witness stand early, however, when he said he felt disoriented, citing a lifelong blood ailment. He is expected to testify again today.
Gowadia argued that he did not release top-secret information, but was merely offering his past expertise, his "intellectual property."
"I cannot give the B-2 designs to anyone," Gowadia said. "But the basic know-how belongs to me. The product belongs to the government."
And data he showed to foreigners was phony, designed to make himself more marketable, he said.
Gowadia, 66, is accused of helping the Chinese develop a cruise missile capable of evading heat-seeking, air-to-air missiles. He is also facing charges that he sent classified information to the Swiss government and businesses in Israel and Germany. Other charges include money laundering and tax evasion.
Much of yesterday morning was spent on explaining Gowadia's background and expertise, including his 18-year career with defense contractor Northrop Corp., now Northrop Grumman, where he helped develop the B-2 stealth bomber's unique propulsion system. Gowadia's attorney, David Klein, was the only one who asked questions yesterday.
Gowadia talked about how a 1992 defense program was expanded without his involvement. He was initially contracted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, to find ways to reduce the visibility of water vapor trails left by jet engines.
"I was upset because this was going to be $2 million in income for me," he said.
After being rejected for the program, Gowadia went to an air show in Singapore to seek work elsewhere.
Klein went through several documents taken from Gowadia's home, asking about his communication with other nations. Klein highlighted an October 2002 letter to the Swiss Ministry of Defense proposing an advanced infrared suppresser system for transport helicopters.
In the letter, Gowadia said he created the B-2 bomber and offered statistics on the bomber's performance. Those numbers, redacted for public viewing yesterday, were bogus, Gowadia said.
"These are just marketing statements to sell our capability," he said. Klein has argued that Gowadia did not offer classified military data to other nations.
"Any statistics on the capabilities, only the military would have," Gowadia said. "We never measured anything on the B-2."
Throughout yesterday morning Gowadia had several coughing fits. Shortly after noon he asked U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway for a recess, saying that he was feeling disoriented.
Defense attorneys said Gowadia suffers from glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, or G6PD, a hereditary disease that weakens the red blood cells. Gowadia said in prior court dates, lunch breaks that lasted longer than an hour gave him some time to sleep.
Because of the court schedule, the lunch break was replaced yesterday with several 20-minute breaks. Klein said this tired out his client.
Mollway agreed to rework the schedule to allow for longer breaks as long as Gowadia is able to continue his testimony.
Gowadia began his testimony Wednesday afternoon, saying that he came up with the conceptual design for the B-2 in 1981 after his employer, defense contractor Northrop Corp., obtained the contract for the project.
Holding up a model of the aircraft in front of the jury, he said he was asked to design the B-2's propulsion system, from the leading edge of the aircraft to the trailing edge.
"This entire geometry came from me," he said.
Gowadia said the government originally awarded the contract to Lockheed, but the company had trouble with the propulsion system. He said the B-2 was the second-most secret project in U.S. history after the atomic bomb.
While working on the B-2, Gowadia said he had a code name, Blueberry Milkshake, so outsiders would not be able to link him and Northrop to the project.
He said the objective of the project was to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union. He said the government purposely leaked details about the B-2 to the Soviets to convince them that they had no defense for it.