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Accused nuke engineer: I was showing off
AP via Yahoo ^ | 05/18/07

Posted on 05/18/2007 10:04:25 AM PDT by Abathar

PHOENIX - A former nuclear engineer accused of taking software back to his native Iran told authorities he was only trying to show off for family and friends.

Mohammad Alavi, 49, also told FBI agents that he left his job at the nation's largest nuclear power plant and moved to Iran to be closer to relatives, according to records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Alavi, who lived in the U.S. as a naturalized citizen for 30 years, is charged with violating a trade embargo with Iran, which carries a maximum penalty of 21 months in prison. Trial is set for July 3.

Alavi worked at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix for 16 years, until he resigned in August and moved to Tehran.

The software he downloaded onto his personal laptop was part of an emergency-training package containing details of the plant's control rooms, reactors and designs. It is not classified, has no links to actual plant workings and can't be used to affect operations.

Employees were encouraged to download the software and work on it at home, according to officials with the Arizona Public Service Co., the Phoenix-based utility company that operates Palo Verde.

APS did not know Alavi had left the country with the information until the Maryland software manufacturer reported attempts to access the training system from a Tehran address.

Alavi was arrested April 8 as he stepped off a plane in Los Angeles. He was returning to the U.S. with his wife for the birth of their first child. He is being held without bail in Arizona.

Alavi acknowledged downloading the software in Iran but said he did it to show relatives and a business associate, according to court records.

The laptop was still in a closet at his mother's house in Tehran, he said.

He told authorities he was about to start a job with an electric-motor company in Tehran.

The plant, located in Wintersburg about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix, supplies electricity to 4 million customers in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Discrimination be d*mned, will someone give me one other plausible reason why we have anyone with the name Mohammad from Iran working in one of our nuke plants????
1 posted on 05/18/2007 10:04:26 AM PDT by Abathar
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To: Abathar
He should get the Sandy Berger Award for helping enemies of America and then executed if found guilty.


2 posted on 05/18/2007 10:07:25 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
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To: Abathar
Alavi was arrested April 8 as he stepped off a plane in Los Angeles. He was returning to the U.S. with his wife for the birth of their first child. He is being held without bail in Arizona.

Sounds like a Homer Simpson excuse. So he moved back to Iran but they were wtill working on their anchor baby? I hope his wife was refused entry to the country. Yeah, right.

3 posted on 05/18/2007 10:07:38 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Thompson in 2008 - there is no doubt about it!)
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To: Abathar
The laptop was still in a closet at his mother's house in Tehran, he said.

I bet it ain't no more.........

4 posted on 05/18/2007 10:10:40 AM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: Abathar

Hey Guys! Come on! When I stole that classified nuclear plant software and took it to Iran...

I was just goofing around...lighten up dude...


5 posted on 05/18/2007 10:11:18 AM PDT by picard (I have already previewed or do not wish to preview this composition.)
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To: Red Badger

That is a good point, how many times do you leave a laptop in your mom’s closet half way around the world?


6 posted on 05/18/2007 10:12:14 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading the article since 2004)
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To: Abathar

A nuclear detonation is a real attention getter for show and tell.


7 posted on 05/18/2007 10:12:53 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Greed is NOT a conservative ideal.)
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To: Abathar

Yeah, I’m sure his ‘family’ would understand the technology enough to even BE impressed...


8 posted on 05/18/2007 10:13:10 AM PDT by KingRonnie9
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To: Abathar

I don’t know that’s crazy.

We probably gave him the education in the first place. People from certain countries and/or islamic background shouldn’t be trained in sensitive technologies or be allowed to work around sensitive technologies.

And why is the penalty for giving nuclear information to Iran only a few months? Why isn’t he charged with treason?


9 posted on 05/18/2007 10:13:14 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Abathar

‘Cuz he is a degreed engineer and was capable of handling the job. I can guarantee there are hundreds of Mohammeds working in this industry, both at the plants and for the various vendors and contract engineering firms.


10 posted on 05/18/2007 10:16:50 AM PDT by nuke rocketeer
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To: Abathar

Our government is working overtime to attract immigrants from enemy nations and provide them with citizenship. The bodies of our soldiers were dragged through the streets in Somali. What did we do? We started to import Somalis to this country.


11 posted on 05/18/2007 10:17:10 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: Abathar
Employees were encouraged to download the software and work on it at home, according to officials with the Arizona Public Service Co., the Phoenix-based utility company that operates Palo Verde.

What wonderful security nuke plants have. The hire Iranians and Chinese nationals and we get stressed when they leak the information to their home countries. From what I am seeing, we have better security at Wal-mart than we have at Palo Verde.


12 posted on 05/18/2007 10:17:13 AM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: NonValueAdded

Cut his head off.


13 posted on 05/18/2007 10:17:32 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Abathar
“A former nuclear engineer accused of taking software back to his native Iran told authorities he was only trying to show off for family and friends.”

I do that all the time. I take nuclear secrets around to show off to my friends and family.
I thought everyone did??

14 posted on 05/18/2007 10:19:34 AM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Never bring a knife to a gun fight, or a Democrat to do serious work...)
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To: Abathar
"He was returning to the U.S. with his wife for the birth of their first child."

GAHHHHHHHHHH! We need a constitutional amendment to replace the 14th that makes it crystal clear that you can't just jump the border and spit out a kid and have it be a citizen. My head is about to explode.

15 posted on 05/18/2007 10:20:09 AM PDT by rednesss
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To: rednesss

This anchor baby phenomenon isn’t the result of the 14th Amendment, it’s the fault of the courts and their officers (lawyers). This view of the 14th Amendment was tried in Plyler v. Doe in 1982. The court justified its decision that babies of illegal immigrants are citizens on the logic that illegal immigrants are “within the jurisdiction” of the staes in which they reside. The problem with this justification is that that isn’t what the 14th Amendment says! It says, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. This was meant to preclude the children of foreign diplomats, enemy forces, American Indians and those simply on holiday from gaining automatic citizenship of our country by happenstance of their location at birth.

Lawyers... hmmph!


16 posted on 05/18/2007 10:28:57 AM PDT by pgyanke (Duncan Hunter 08--You want to elect a conservative? Then support a conservative!)
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To: Abathar

By “Ain’t no more” I meant that the Iranian Secret police must have taken it by now, if it was ever there, since the reporter just told them exactly where to go...........


17 posted on 05/18/2007 10:29:12 AM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: NonValueAdded; rednesss
Alavi, who lived in the U.S. as a naturalized citizen for 30 years . . . Alavi worked at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix for 16 years

Hardly a border-jumper. I think his kid would be entitled to citizenship regardless of where its born.

Giving him the full 21 months is sure to impress his friends and family. I don't believe the "I didn't know better" excuse for one nanosecond.

18 posted on 05/18/2007 10:29:42 AM PDT by FoxInSocks
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To: darkwing104
...we have better security at Wal-mart than we have at Palo Verde.

Well of course! Wal-Mart doesn't want people to steal their stuff!.......

19 posted on 05/18/2007 10:31:03 AM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: Abathar
...It is not classified, has no links to actual plant workings and can't be used to affect operations.
Employees were encouraged to download the software and work on it at home, according to officials with the Arizona Public Service Co., the Phoenix-based utility company that operates Palo Verde....

Although a case could be made to prohibit foreign nationals from countries avowed to pursue America's destruction (e.g., Iran) from working in sensitive industries - that apparently is not the law. And although a case could be made to disqualify islamics from First Amendment rights since their religion codifies violence against those that don't believe in islam -- that also is not the law (yet)...

From what I read this gentleman took some unclassified software 'home' that his company encouraged their employees to take 'home'.
I don't see the crime.

20 posted on 05/18/2007 10:31:31 AM PDT by El Cid (... and him that cometh to me [Jesus] I will in no wise cast out.)
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To: FoxInSocks

Not buying it. Don’t care how long he was a resident alien, if he is not a US citizen then he has no right to land back here just to make his kid a citizen by birthright. And the kid would grow up in Iran??? Step one: steal nuclear info, step two: create a sleeper-to-be.


21 posted on 05/18/2007 10:40:34 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Thompson in 2008 - there is no doubt about it!)
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To: NonValueAdded; FoxInSocks

OK, missed that he was natuarlized and not a resident alien. Still, I question his motives if he already decided to live back in Iran.


22 posted on 05/18/2007 10:41:49 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Thompson in 2008 - there is no doubt about it!)
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To: El Cid
It’s the software he downloaded. They most likely had an agreement Palo Verde that it was not to leave the country or be given to the software company's competitors. Thus a trade violation had occurred.

It may be possible this unclassified information was a tool to reinforce his knowledge of plant operations would make it a possible security risk. When I was in MI I learned how to put together snippets of Unclassified information to get a damn good idea of a classified operation. This may be the case.


23 posted on 05/18/2007 10:43:01 AM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: Abathar

So he left the plant and moved to Iran to be closer to relatives. But he also has a busines assosciate in Iran he wanted to impress and he then took a new job in Iran. But despite having a new job in Iran he downloded information in Iran from the U.S. nuclear plant job he was leaving. But he returned to the U.S. just so his baby could be born here. Guess the downloaded infom did not hurt his chances at the new job in Iran. The U.S. born kid can spy easier in the future.


24 posted on 05/18/2007 10:45:21 AM PDT by rod1 (uake)
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To: Abathar
That is a good point, how many times do you leave a laptop in your mom’s closet half way around the world?

Well, you would do the same thing, if you were moving to a destination. The details of the article (and also confirmed from prior articles) say that he lived in the U.S. for 30 years. He worked at the plant for 16 years. He resigned and moved himself, his wife and family and all possessions back to Iran, where he came from and where relatives are. He wife was already on the way with another child. They both came back here for the child being born, thus it was only going to be for a few weeks. So, having already moved, and only back to the U.S. for a few weeks, there's no need nor purpose to bring along anything, other than just whatever you need to get by for a couple of weeks. It's a pretty simple story, actually.

In addition, the other fact that wasn't brought out before is that the company encouraged the employees to take the software home with them. Obviously it's not something that is classified, or they would not have allowed that. It sound about like stealing a pencil from a grocery store, in terms of its significance. Sure, you're not supposed to steal pencils from grocery stores and you're not supposed to speed on freeways, either. But, it happens. It's not a big deal in world politics or national security.

Regards,
Star Traveler

25 posted on 05/18/2007 11:26:09 AM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: Abathar
Discrimination be d*mned, will someone give me one other plausible reason why we have anyone with the name Mohammad from Iran working in one of our nuke plants????

Well, I don't recall ever hearing anyone mention that kind of thing back in 1991. Do you?

Back in 1991, if you would have said anything negative about Mohammed or about the religion professed by Mohammed, you would have been roundly accused of being a Christian bigot (because they would be the only ones ever saying anything negative about Islam, as a religion, at the time). Would anyone have listened to an "religious bigot" saying something negative or bad about Islam as a religion? Nope, they never would have.

Even now, if I were to tell people the truth about Islam and all the other false religions out there (all of the others) -- that they are all false religions and are not to be followed and that the only one and truth faith is trust in Jesus Christ to the exclusion of every other religion that exists in the world -- I'll have people coming on here calling me a religious bigot, right now, today. And we knew that, as Christians, back in 1991 and were saying that, then, about Islam, too.

And besides from the religious aspect, what would you have ever heard about Islamic terrorism attacking the United States? You wouldn't have. You might have heard something about those crazies in other parts of the world, who have a beef with Israel, but you would have been told that it's their problem and not ours. So, there you are again. Where would you have been -- if you had said something about "Mohammed"? You would have been absolutle nowhere.

So, it's very disingenuous to say that something should have been done back in 1991.

And, after having a long career of 16 years, why would anyone say anything about it now? I mean, no one would have. He would have an established track record to review. In fact, there is nothing in his track record to show a problem, or that would have been an issue from the start of this investigation. Even the FBI doesn't think this is a big deal. I don't think this is a big deal. And the courts most likely won't think it's a big deal, because the most that will ever happen is that he gets about 24 months, maybe half or more suspended, and then he goes back home again.

There's absolutely nothing here, other than the thousands of minor things that people get in trouble for all over the coutnry all the time, and from its own natural citizens. It's not anything bigger than what you already see from people here (even they are worse than this, as we have drug dealers and killings and house-break-ins and so on...).

Regards,
Star Traveler

26 posted on 05/18/2007 11:39:21 AM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: Diogenesis
He should get the Sandy Berger Award for helping enemies of America and then executed if found guilty.

Help the enemies of America do what, exactly. What?!..., see a piece of know-nothing software that people are encouraged to take home and play with? That's supposed to be helping the enemies of America?

This is an absolutey "nothing story". It's about like a person stealing pencils in a store or speeding on the freeway. You're going to get in trouble for it, but you're not a terrorist for doing that nor are you helping terrorists. The FBI doesn't think so, or they wouldn't be going lenient and not making any kind of big deal about it. They investigated and saw it was nothing and then they're just pursuing normal penalties, having nothing to do with terrorism.

There are people who are helping terrorists and they are around here, but at least pick a story that reflects that, and not a "no-nothing" story that doesn't even reflect terrorism.

Regards,
Star Traveler

27 posted on 05/18/2007 11:44:54 AM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: DannyTN
And why is the penalty for giving nuclear information to Iran only a few months? Why isn’t he charged with treason?

Well, basically because he didn't give nuclear information to Iran, and also, he didn't commit treason. Those would be the reasons for only a few months. Pretty simple once you understand what's going on.

Regards,
Star Traveler

28 posted on 05/18/2007 11:47:44 AM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: darkwing104
What wonderful security nuke plants have. The hire Iranians and Chinese nationals and we get stressed when they leak the information to their home countries. From what I am seeing, we have better security at Wal-mart than we have at Palo Verde.

Well, no security is needed for pencils and paper clips and reams of paper for their copying machines. That's the equivalent of what he was taking home. It was some software that the plant encouraged their employees to take home and play with (for whatever reason, either to become familiar with it or to suggest improvements or whatever).

There was no security risk associated with this software that they didn't care if the employees took it home and fiddled with it.

Now, if employees took home paper clips and pencils and reams of paper and misappriopriated those things, they would get in trouble and might be definitely fired and maybe even charges filed. In this guy's case, he was, as he said, showing off to people who knew him and downloaded it over the Internet (which also shows no big security deal there, either). And for that, he got into trouble. Employees and ex-employees can get into trouble for a lot of things that have nothing to do with security.

The FBI didn't even consider it a security risk and is just pursuing it as a normal criminal violation on the order of what stealing might be or some other minor crime. In fact, people probably get into as much trouble as this guy did, with the courts and judges by failing to show up for traffic tickets and get warrants issued for their arrest.

There are security risks out there and there are terrorists and there are enemies, but this guy is obviously not one of them.

Regards,
Star Traveler

29 posted on 05/18/2007 11:56:14 AM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: Red Badger
I meant that the Iranian Secret police must have taken it by now, if it was ever there, since the reporter just told them exactly where to go...........

Well, the Iranian Secret Police would do just as good stealing a box of pencils with the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station name and logo printed on the pencils. They would get just as much information from that software as from the name and logos on the pencils. LOL...

This was a piece of software that they encouraged people to take home and play around with. It was nothing top secret and they just wanted employees to become familiar with it (not at work, but at home on leisure time). They might have wanted some suggestions for improvements. It was something to do with training procedures. It might have said something like "Use bleach when cleaning the toilets." Or, maybe it said, "Turn off the lights if you're the last person to leave the room." You know..., something like that.

To listen to the people here, you would think it said, "Don't let Osama bin Ladin have this or he will destroy the world..."

LOL...

Regards,
Star Traveler

30 posted on 05/18/2007 12:04:26 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: El Cid
I don't see the crime.

Of course not. Other than the kind of crime that someone could get in trouble for, by taking home a box of pencils or a ream of paper from work. I mean, people are not supposed to do that, but it's not a national security matter.

Regards,
Star Traveler

31 posted on 05/18/2007 12:07:39 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: NonValueAdded
Step one: steal nuclear info, step two: create a sleeper-to-be.

Step three: go out and buy more tin foil to wrap around head. Oh..., and don't forget the meds...

Regards,
Star Traveler

32 posted on 05/18/2007 12:10:01 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: NonValueAdded
Still, I question his motives if he already decided to live back in Iran.

Sounds like aging parents, and growing kids. Take care of mother (and/or father), raise kids so that they know their own country (but are still U.S. citizens), leverage work experience to get a good job in Iran, while he is there for a while, retire with good money saved up, maybe parents dead by then, in the future, kids go to college in the U.S., wife and him retire in U.S. with good savings and kids getting good jobs in the U.S.

Sounds like a "family plan" to me, looking ahead to the future for his kids, his parents and he and his wife.

Regards,
Star Traveler

33 posted on 05/18/2007 12:13:42 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: Star Traveler
Here's a little insight from someone who worked as a contractor at Nuke plants.

You aren't allowed to bring a newspaper inside most plants...No distractions. Nuke Plants exist to make money and distractions take away from profits. Forget laptops.

Why are people bringing a laptops in to download software? Plant Operations and security would like to know that. Also the software was probably password protected. He had to signed an agreement before he was even allowed to use the plant's lan computers. Who knows what else he had on that laptop, without it we don't know. Bottom line, at the least, it exposes sloppy security of the plant.

Nuke plants are too cheap to buy pencil, pens or paper clips....


34 posted on 05/18/2007 12:39:40 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: Star Traveler
Re 31

Yup.
Although I react with extreme prejudice against 'the flying Imans' -- who technically did not commit a crime (other than performing the equivalence of 'shouting fire in a crowded movie theater') -- I don't understand why they are going after this engineer.
The company said the software was unclassified and they encouraged their employees to take it home.
So he took it 'home'.
I'm sure a law was broken somewhere along the line (e.g., its illegal to transport said software to foreign countries), but the punishment doesn't fit the 'crime'. Whack him with a $50 fine if you must, but prison time is uncalled for (unless there is more to this than what's written in the article).

35 posted on 05/18/2007 12:41:22 PM PDT by El Cid (Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon HIM while HE is near)
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To: darkwing104

I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that he violated some law (or laws). It’s just that it’s not a national security matter and it’s more of a minor type of offense. He shouldn’t have done it, that’s to be sure, but we’re not talking about helping Iran develop nuclear weapons here or setting up nuclear power plants, or the FBI would be all over this one. They’re not and they’re looking at a very light sentence.


36 posted on 05/18/2007 12:42:20 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: darkwing104

Because that Shrumji dude, Mr. Nuclear, axed him to?


37 posted on 05/18/2007 12:46:06 PM PDT by txhurl
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To: Star Traveler
It’s just that it’s not a national security matter and it’s more of a minor type of offense.

If the software in question has a detailed map or layout of the plant it can be a security matter. Never overlook the little details they can be a boon of information for competitors or people wishing to do us harm.


38 posted on 05/18/2007 12:48:38 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: txflake
I doubt he was asked, I believe he was showing off with his knowledge and may of provided tidbits of info to the Iranians. Maybe had info on plant controls and operations that the Russians and the French don't have on their system. I doubt he had reactor info (worse case), if he did the NRC may need to decertify plant operations and shut it down ASAP.


39 posted on 05/18/2007 1:05:08 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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