Noshir S. Gowadia maintains he did not sell secrets to China
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 25, 2011
A federal judge sentenced an unrepentant Noshir S. Gowadia yesterday to 32 years in prison for selling national defense secrets to China.
A jury found Gowadia, 66, who marketed himself as the "father of the B-2 bomber," American's premier warplane, guilty in August of using classified data about American infrared detecting devices and skills he obtained while working as a U.S. defense contractor to help the Chinese develop a cruise missile capable of evading heat-seeking, air-to-air missiles.
The jury also found him guilty of disclosing to the Swiss government and businesses in Germany and Israel how close an enemy aircraft would have to be for its heat-seeking missiles to target a B-2. He was also convicted of money laundering and tax evasion.
His son, Ashton Gowadia, said there will be an appeal and accused the government of withholding from the jury documents that would have cleared his father.
The elder Gowadia was facing life in prison for the two most serious espionage charges. A life term is the maximum allowed by law for the charges, and Gowadia qualified for them under advisory federal court sentencing guidelines, which take into account a host of factors, including whether a defendant accepts responsibility for his actions or whether he tried to conceal his crimes.
U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway said she and the jury found that Gowadia lied on the witness stand during his trial.
However, she said she sentenced him to the 32-year prison term because of age; the work he had done in the past for the government, including the development of the B-2 Spirit bomber; and the fact that the government did not provide any evidence that his actions caused actual harm to the U.S.
Bosnian military officials and other experts say the Chinese were able to develop their own stealth jet fighter, which they recently unveiled, from technology they gleaned from parts of an American stealth fighter shot down over Serbia in 1999.
His lawyers said Gowadia, with credit for the five years he has already been in custody and time off for good behavior, could win release before he turns 90.
The Indian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen said yesterday he is not guilty of any crimes. He questioned the qualifications of government agents and witnesses who testified against him and accused them of lying on the witness stand. He accused one agent of arrogance and ignorance and of having misspelled "nozzle."
He said none of the government witnesses had the requisite education or experience to accuse him of any of the crimes for which he was convicted and did not understand data that he was able to use to calculate in his head lock-on ranges for infrared detection devices.
He said the government witnesses confused the jurors, who ruled on emotion.
Gowadia even accused the courts of not protecting his rights.
He said whatever information he gave the Chinese was useless because cruise missiles cannot be shot down by heat-seeking missiles, and making them less detectable by infrared devices reduces their performance.
Federal prosecutor Kenneth Sorenson said Gowadia is a complex, duplicitous man who is unbowed, unrepentant and unremorseful.