In early September, [Stewart David] Nozette was contacted by phone by an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer, but who really was an FBI undercover agent, the document says.
They met in downtown Washington in front of a hotel, and over lunch, Nozette "demonstrated his willingness to work for Israeli intelligence," it says.
The undercover agent engaged in a series of meetings with Nozette, and eventually Nozette allegedly provided "secret" information in a "dead drop" post office box. Some of the information, the affidavit says, was classified as secret.
Selling secrets is just plain dumb. I mean, even if it had been the Israelis he was dealing with, turning over classified information puts you at their mercy. They can make you deliver more and more material, and if you refuse they'll just burn you to the Americans.
So what was Nozette's problem?
The FBI document, signed by Special Agent Leslie G. Martell, says Nozette in January 2009 told a colleague "that if the United States government tried to put him in jail" on an unrelated matter, Nozette would move to Israel or another unidentified foreign country and "tell them everything" he knows.
What the hell is that about? Taxes? Drugs? Child porn? I have no idea. Whatever it was, telling someone with a clearance you're thinking of betraying your country if you get prosecuted for it is just stupid squared.
What did Nozette know?
Nozette had a "top secret" clearance, and served at the White House on the National Space Council for President George H.W. Bush, the affidavit says. Later, from early 2000 to early 2006, he did research and development for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Naval Research Laboratory, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, it says.
The Israelis are not accused of doing anything wrong here. However:
The document says Nozette also acted as a technical consultant from 1998 until early 2008 "for an aerospace company that was wholly owned by the government of the state of Israel." The company consulted with Nozette monthly, getting answers to questions, and he received regular payments of $225,000, Martell's affidavit says.
Well, if he was an independent contractor receiving "regular payments" of almost a quarter million dollars, I would guess the tax angle sounds likelier.