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NASA OIG Report: Bo Jiang's Access to NASA's Langley Research Center

Status Report From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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On March 16, 2013, agents from the Department of Homeland Security conducted a border search of former NASA contractor Bo Jiang at Dulles International Airport as part of an investigation of potential export control violations. Jiang, a citizen of the Peoples Republic of China, was preparing to fly home to China. After questioning him about what electronic media he had in his possession and searching his belongings, agents took Jiang into custody and charged him with making a false statement to Federal authorities.

Six weeks later, Jiang pleaded guilty in Federal court to a misdemeanor offense of violating Agency security rules by using a NASA laptop to download copyrighted movies, television shows, and sexually explicit material.3In the court proceeding, Jiang did not admit to lying to Federal agents or possessing sensitive NASA information. Federal prosecutors and Jiang stipulated in a court filing accompanying the plea that "none of the computer media that Jiang attempted to bring to [China] on March 16, 2013, contained classified information, export-controlled information, or NASA proprietary information."

However, in an interview with Department of Justice officials after the court proceeding, Jiang admitted that the laptop computer he carried with him when he attempted to leave the United States in March contained some NASA information. According to these officials, the nature of the information on Jiangs computer and how he obtained it remains under investigation.

At the time of his arrest, Jiang had lived in the United States since 2007, first as a Ph.D. student and then as a postdoctoral research assistant for the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), a non-profit research and graduate education organization located in Hampton, Virginia. In 2002, NASAs Langley Research Center (Langley) and the NIA entered into a cooperative agreement pursuant to which Langley frequently hired NIA personnel as contractors to work on NASA research projects. Prior to his arrest, Jiang had been working on a research project with NASA employees in Langleys Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch.

Earlier in March 2013, Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia publicly questioned whether NASA had inappropriately afforded Jiang access to Langley and to Agency data and information technology (IT). The Congressmans concerns were prompted at least in part by internal NASA documents suggesting it had been improper for Langley to hire Jiang as a contractor, to allow him unescorted access to the Center, and to provide him with data related to his research. As discussed below, in a number of respects these documents contained incorrect information that led to confusion about the propriety of Jiangs access to and work at Langley.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an administrative investigation to examine the process by which Jiang came to work at Langley and the information and IT resources to which he was given access.

Full report

NASA's Response

   

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