An alphabet soup of federal plods claimed a first yesterday, as one-time Cupertino resident and former Chinese national Xiaodong Sheldon Meng copped a plea to illegally exporting military software. It was alleged that Meng, originally from Beijing, had worked for Quantum 3D, a technology house based in San Jose. He was employed …
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Trying to suggest a multinational defence company, doing the same things as every other other company in the business by trading with multiple nations is somehow the same as pure and simple espionage is a leap too far.
I think it should be pointed out that while BAE as a company may have access to export controlled technologies, you'll find there are a great many restrictions that stop these technologies being sold to other customers, or even transferred within the company.
Usually only those with an absolute need to know within a particular program will have any idea about the technology being used, and it will be made sure it stays this way. This is pretty standard stuff, indeed most defence companies do work for different countries using sensitive data and technology and it's a given that there isn't leakage between programs or people. National programs in particular will also often have restrictions on who can work on them i.e. US citizens for US programs, UK citizens for UK programs, NATO countries only on NATO programs etc. etc. with only very limited exceptions made for those with specific expertise.
Data and technology transfer can happen, but it's tightly controlled and if anything is transferred e.g. stealth technology between US and UK, it'll be because the countries involved have agreed it, not because the contractor thinks it would be a good idea to add some of the things they've learnt.
There are also major penalties in place if things get out without permission. You can have all the secure data withdrawn (major problem), you could be made to pay a penalty (big cost), you could lose the program completely (big problem, big cost), and worst of all you can potentially be blocked from future programs. None of these is theoretical, as they've happened before.
It should also be pointed out that just because BAE are working on various US programs it doesn't mean anyone outside the US even finds out anything - often the US arm may do all the work inhouse, and the parent company may know nothing other than that the program exists and what the financial details are. (Sometimes not even this much, all they know is that a section of the company exists, but all they see is the money coming out, with all details of what the division does, where, for who, hidden from the outside world including the board members)
I have heard that BAE people within the F-35 program, even though fully security cleared etc. etc. have extreme difficulty getting necessary data due to not being US citizens. So I can't really see that technology can get to other countries given how difficult it is to get at anyway at the best of times!
So leaking technology around the world just won't happen.
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