US engineer pleads guilty of spying for Egypt

US engineer pleads guilty of spying for Egypt
A US Navy engineer is on trial on charges of espionage relating to the design of the USS Gerald R Ford.
1 min read
16 June, 2015
The USS Gerald R Ford was launched in November 2014 [AFP]
A US Navy engineer pleaded guilty on Monday to attempted espionage after reportedly offering details on the layout of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford to Egypt, while the vessel was under construction.

Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, a 36-year-old civilian who worked at the Norfolk, Virginia, shipyard where the highly sophisticated ship was being built, is understood to have offered the information to an undercover FBI agent posing as Egyptian intelligence in September.

Awwad, who entered his plea before US District Judge Raymond Jackson, is believed to have offered the FBI agent a USB drive containing some of the details of the cutting-edge supercarrier's layout, a court heard.

He also reportedly offered to supply the rest of the ship's information to Cairo.

"The National Security Division will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who abuse their access to sensitive defence information," said Assistant Attorney-General John Carlin in a statement.

Assistant FBI Director Randall Coleman stressed "we prevented the loss of billions of dollars in research costs and the exposure of potential vulnerabilities to our newest generation of nuclear aircraft carrier".

Prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of eight to 11 years.