|Born||Stewart David Nozette
May 20, 1957
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Residence||Chevy Chase, Maryland, United States|
|Institutions||Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
United States Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (1990–1999)
United States Department of Defense
National Space Council (1989–1990)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Alliance for Competitive Technology (1990–present)
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
|Alma mater||University of Arizona
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Thesis||The Physical and Chemical Properties of the Surface of Venus (1983)|
|Doctoral advisor||John S. Lewis
|Known for||Attempting to transfer American nuclear and space technology to Israel|
|Notable awards||NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal|
Stewart David Nozette (born May 20, 1957) is an American planetary scientist, technologist, and consultant, who worked for the United States Department of Energy, the United States Department of Defense, DARPA, the United States Naval Research Laboratory, and NASA. He is also a convicted felon for attempted espionage, and fraud, against the United States. The FBI arrested him October 19, 2009, charging him with attempted espionage, after a sting operation which Nozette's lawyer claims amounted to entrapment. At trial, Nozette admitted attempting to sell U.S. classified information to someone he believed was an Israeli Mossad operative, but was in reality an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation employee. He pleaded guilty to one charge of espionage and was sentenced, under the terms of a plea bargain, to thirteen years in prison and is now serving time at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center.
Personal life and education
Nozette was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 20, 1957, to Helen and Morris Nozette. He grew up in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood and earned a B.S. in geosciences with honors and distinction (University of Arizona, 1979), and a Ph.D. in Planetary sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983).
In 1983-1984 Nozette was co-director of the California Space Institute, affiliated with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. From there he went to the University of Texas as an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering Austin, Texas.
In the early 1990s, Nozette, as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative's 'Brilliant Pebbles', conceived the idea (and then led the mission) of the Clementine spacecraft as a means to both provide a test bed for the development of lighter more cost effective advanced space technology as well as to obtain data for the Moon. Nozette and colleagues' bistatic radar results from Clementine claimed to support the discovery of water on the south pole of the moon; although the significance of the result was questioned, measurements made by subsequent Lunar missions have supported the hypothesis that the Moon holds substantially greater reserves of water than had been thought based on Apollo program results.
Over the course of his career Nozette held high level security clearances and worked on sensitive United States nuclear and satellite programs. He held a Q clearance, top secret clearance, and was read into multiple special access programs. He held Top Secret security clearances to study nuclear material with the United States Department of Energy, and was on the National Space Council under President George H. W. Bush. From 1989 to 2006, Nozette held a security clearance as high as top secret and handled documents relating to national security. He left the employ of the U.S. government in 2006.
Nozette worked as a technical consultant for Israel Aerospace Industries between 1998 and 2008. After he left the government job, Nozette was heavily involved in India's extraterrestrial Moon probe, Chandrayaan-1. He was a principal investigator of the Mini-RF instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and a co-investigator on Chandrayaan-1.
- NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal 1994 for his conception and execution of the Clementine mission
- National Space Society’s 25 Young Space Pioneers for 1994
- National Space Society 1994 Award for Achievement in Science and Engineering
- Rotary National Award for Space Achievement
- National Space Club Nelson P Jackson Award
- Aviation Week and Space Technology 1994 Aerospace Laurel Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Space
- 1995 Space Frontier Foundation Vision to Reality Award
- X-Prize Foundation New Spirit of St. Louis Award
Espionage and arrest
Nozette was under investigation by the Justice Department for possible fraudulent billing on a NASA contract by a nonprofit corporation he ran, "Alliance for Competitive Technology". An unnamed NASA Inspector had allegedly found billing to NASA for expenses including, among other things, three mortgages, nine credit cards, a Tennis club, pool cleaning, and the Mercedes-Benz Credit Corporation. Documents found by the Justice Department while investigating this allegation included classified documents and an e-mail in which Nozette "threatened to take a classified program on which he worked to an unnamed foreign country or Israel." This information was passed along to the FBI.
In September 2009, Nozette began receiving phone calls from a person claiming to be an agent of Mossad. In reality this was an undercover FBI agent. Nozette expressed a willingness to exchange American intelligence for financial rewards. His first payment was received upon his answers to a list of questions regarding American satellite technology for public access GPS. The information he claimed he would hand over included classified information. A folder left for this contact in a post office box contained "information classified as both top secret and secret that concerned US satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy." The United States Department of Justice criminal complaint, however, does not charge that "the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws."
According to the criminal complaint, Nozette told his espionage contact that his parents were Jewish, and therefore claimed a right to return under Israel's Law of Return. He also asked allegedly for two million dollars and a passport.
Nozette reached a plea bargain with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a single count of espionage, as well as pleading guilty earlier to the charges of fraud and tax evasion. He was sentenced to thirteen years of prison. Held in custody since his arrest in , Nozette received credit for the time he has already served.
- Spudis, Paul D.; Bussey, B., Lichtenberg, C., Marinelli, B. and Nozette, S. (2005). "mini-SAR: An Imaging Radar for the Chandrayaan 1 Mission to the Moon". Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 26: 1153.
- Nozette, Stewart; et al. (2001). "Integration of lunar polar remote-sensing data sets: Evidence for ice at the lunar south pole". Journal of Geophysical Research 106: 23253–23266. Bibcode:2001JGR...10623253N. doi:10.1029/2000JE001417.
- Pettengill, G.H.; Ford, P.G., and Nozette, S. (1982). "Venus: Global Surface Radar Reflectivity". Science 217: 640–642.
- Nozette, Stewart; et al. (16 December 1994). "The Clementine mission to the Moon". Science 266 (5192): 1835–1839. Bibcode:1994Sci...266.1835N. doi:10.1126/science.266.5192.1835. PMID 17737076.
- Nozette, Stewart; John S. Lewis (9 April 1982). "Venus: Chemical Weathering of Igneous Rocks and Buffering of Atmospheric Composition". Science 216 (4542): 181–183. Bibcode:1982Sci...216..181N. doi:10.1126/science.216.4542.181.
- Nozette, S.; Boynton, W.V (16 October 1981). "Superheavy Elements: An Early Solar System Upper Limit for Elements 107 to 110". Science 214 (4518): 331–333. Bibcode:1981Sci...214..331N. doi:10.1126/science.214.4518.331.
- Margasak (2009).
- Agence France-Presse (2009).
- New York Times, The Scientist Who Mistook Himself for a Spy, Oct 21 2009; also New York Times, Spying Charges Against Scientist, October 20, 2009, page A19
- Martell (2009).
- Washington Post, Maryland scientist Stewart Nozette sentenced for passing secrets to supposed Mossad agent, expresses regret, Mar 12 2012
- US scientist Stewart Nozette admits Israel spy charge BBC News. 7 September 2011
- J.J. Goldberg. "An Israel Espionage Drama, Sans Israel," Jewish Forward.
- Nozette (2008).
- Stewart Nozette, "The Clementine Mission" Abstracts of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Vol 26, 1995, p. 1061, doi:1995LPI....26.1061N (web version)
- Simpson, R. A., and G. L. Tyler (1999), "Reanalysis of Clementine bistatic radar data from the lunar South Pole," J. Geophys. Res., 104 (E2), pp. 3845–3862, doi:10.1029/1998JE900038.
- Donald B. Campbell, Bruce A. Campbell, Lynn M. Carter, Jean-Luc Margot and Nicholas J. S. Stacy, "No evidence for thick deposits of ice at the lunar south pole ," Nature, Vol 443, 19 October 2006, pp. 835-837, doi:10.1038/nature05167 (web version)
- Toby Harnden, "Top US scientist accused of trying to spy for Israel," The Daily Telegraph, 19 October 2009 (web version, retrieved 19 October 2009).
- Jim McElhatton, "Prominent scientist pleads guilty to attempted espionage," Washington Times," Sept 7, 2011. web version
- DOJ press release (2009).
- Scott Shane, "Ex-White House Scientist Pleads Guilty in Spy Case Tied to Israel," New York Times, September 8, 2011, p A22 (web version)
- "Scientist Gets 13 Years in Spying Case". New York Times. March 22, 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Harnden, Toby (19 October 2009). "Top US scientist accused of trying to spy for Israel". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- Margasak, Larry (19 October 2009). "Scientist arrested on spy charges; worked for DoD". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- Martell, Leslie G. (October 16, 2009). "Criminal Complaint, United States of America v. Stewart David Nozette, case number 09-0565M". United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Nozette, Stewart; Bill Keeter (18 November 2008). "Stewart Nozette Mini-RF Principal Investigator (on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) and Co-investigator (on Chandrayaan-1)". NASA. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "US scientist charged with attempted spying for Israel". Paris: Agence France-Presse. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "Stewart Nozette". National Space Society. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-29.[dead link]
- "Maryland Scientist Charged with Attempted Espionage". DOJ press release. FBI. October 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-21.