FBI sting

Moon scientist Stewart Nozette held as Israeli spy in FBI sting

October 21, 2009
Moon scientist Stewart Nozette held as Israeli spy in FBI sting

An American astrophysicist with top-level nuclear security clearances appeared in court yesterday after being arrested in an FBI sting and charged with trying to sell secrets to Israel.

Stewart Nozette, who helped to discover water on the Moon and spent six years at a top-secret defence technology agency, was lured into a trap by federal agents.

They posed as Israeli intelligence operatives who met him at a Washington hotel and agreed to pay him cash for classified papers.

“I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day,” Mr Nozette allegedly said, according to wiretaps. “I knew this day would come. I just had a feeling.”

He was arrested at his home in a leafy suburb of Washington on Monday and charged with attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information. He faces life in jail if convicted. Mr Nozette was an acclaimed government scientist who had worked for Nasa.