Today, in international diplomatic incidents: CBS News reports that the owner and several employees of a Houston-based export company have been indicted, accused of engaging in a “surreptitious and systematic conspiracy” to funnel military technology to Russia.
You know you’re really in trouble the feds bust out the sibilant alliteration.
See, like classical statuary found at a Roman flea market, there are laws governing the export of certain sensitive types of technology. Microelectronics of the sort that go into radar and missile systems can’t be merely spirited away from the States. (Scorsese fans and the Boston-born might remember the plot of The Departed revolved around on getting this type of technology to the Chinese.)
That means that if you want this kind of cutting-edge tech, you’ll either need to develop it yourself, or get covert. Hence, accuse U.S. authorities, the conspiracy.
Prosecutors say Alexander Fishenko and others sold cutting-edge microelectronics that could be used in Russian weapons systems, exchanged communications with Russian intelligence and tried to hide documents when they suspected authorities were onto them.
The Russian government is apparently claiming there’s nothing to see here, move along, these guys aren’t officially sanctioned and are definitely not spies. (Of course, saying anything else would be pretty dumb, right?)
But authorities say they’ve got a smoking gun in the form of messages regarding forged or otherwise altered documents:
The indictment quotes messages between the Russians saying, about the documents, to “make it up pretty, correctly” and “make sure it looks good, make sure that these are listed as things that can be used on fishing boats and not anti-submarine craft.”
“Oh, that? It’s a fish finder, definitely not a next-generation missel guidance system. Like for bass fishing?” — very convincing, we’re sure, gentlemen.
When will people learn not to communicate via traceable media when scheming to conceal evidence? This isn’t rocket science. It isn’t even fifth-grade science.