Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chinese national in Kansas guilty in engineered rice theft

February 16, 2017


— A Chinese national living in Manhattan, Kansas, is guilty of conspiring to steal proprietary rice seeds developed in the U.S. and giving them to visitors from China.

A federal jury on Thursday convicted 50-year-old Weiqiang Zhang of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and interstate transportation of stolen property.

Zhang was a rice breeder for Ventria Bioscience, in Junction City, which develops genetically engineered rice for use in therapeutic and medical fields.

Trial evidence indicated Zhang took hundreds of seeds from Ventria and stored them at his home Manhattan. In 2013, officials with a crop research institute in China toured facilities in the Midwest with Zhang. Federal officials found Ventria seeds in the visitors’ luggage as they prepared to return to China.


Joe Blackford II 1 year, 3 months ago

The AP fails to mention Weiqiang Zhang was a researcher @ KSU prior to joining Ventria.

His accomplice was a USDA rice scientist @ the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, Stuttgart, AR.

The alarming concern these convictions raise is that both individuals passed some type of background investigation & were in their positions for some time before being caught. I'm sure that KSU & USDA security investigations are not nearly as detailed as those the DHS will use @ the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility. However, the Dual Use Research of Concern to be conducted @ the NBAF can be "reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security."

We continue to witness a number of National Security Agency contract employees turn out to have removed Top Secret - Sensitive Compartmented Information from secure work sites. This same danger will exist for 250-300 DURC researchers at the NBAF for 50 years, 2023-2073. Security investigations are carried out prior to employment; and seldom reviewed over the employee's tenure.

The long term safety & security of bringing the NBAF to Kansas, AND Dual Use Research of Concern, was never mentioned to the public. DURC, in fact, only became a term after KSU was picked as the NBAF site. When questioned about TS-SCI areas planned for the NBAF, DHS's answer was that there would be a TS-SCI "room," where "the FBI could question researchers."

Prior to the FBI naming a researcher @ the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases as the ANTHRAX MAILER, USAMRIID conducted "DURC" under a SECRET security level. USAMRIID has since built a new lab "campus," with all facilities having TS-SCI security protocols. All contractors who worked on building the new USAMRIID "campus" had to pass TS-SCI security investigations. It is my understanding that those currently building the NBAF also passed TS-SCI investigations. Once the NBAF is operational, you will have to have a "need to know" + TS-SCI clearance to hear specifics of anything, good or bad, going on there.

James MacMurray 1 year, 3 months ago

''Security investigations are carried out prior to employment; and seldom reviewed over the employee's tenure.'

This is factually wrong. Reinvestigation is every 5 years

On August 2, 1995, President Clinton signed E.O. 12968, Access to Classified Information. This Executive Order established a uniform Federal personnel security program and tasked the Security Policy Board to coordinate and recommend policy directives for U.S. security policies, procedures and practices. In March 1997, President Clinton approved the Investigative Standards recommended by the Security Policy Board. This Federal Investigations Notice provides a summary of the access level requirements and the scope changes for our investigative products. Access Level Requirements: Access Level Required Investigation Top Secret SCI Q Access Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) Reinvestigation every 5 years - SSBI-PR

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 3 months ago

THANX for correcting me, it has been some time since I worked @ a TS-SCIF.

Perhaps you know the specifics of contractor-investigated clearances? How did that last NSA TS documents "hoarder" go undetected for 20 YEARS, if his clearance was reviewed every 5?

"For indicted NSA contractor, hoarding classified documents became an obsession

The 12-page indictment accuses Martin of removing classified information during a 20-year period when he was employed by seven different private companies working for parts of the U.S. intelligence community, then amassing the top-secret material in his Glen Burnie, Maryland, home."

Clara Westphal 1 year, 3 months ago

So what happens now? Prison, deportation or a slap on the wrist.?

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