- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A former Navy civilian engineer charged with trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics and send them to his native Egypt will remain in custody until his trial.

Mostafa Ahmed Awwad of Yorktown, Virginia, appeared in federal court for a detention hearing Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Douglas Miller noted the strength of the government’s case in ordering Awwad held, according to the Virginian-Pilot (https://bit.ly/168Y6EH ).

The 35-year-old Awwad, a former Egyptian citizen, faces two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and technical data. Prosecutors claim Awwad tried to steal technical data in the designs of the USS Gerald R. Ford, which is under construction and is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2016.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph DePadilla said in court that Awwad told an undercover FBI agent earlier this year that he took a job with the Navy for the sole purpose of stealing military secrets and providing them to the Egyptian government.

“I went to this place just for this reason,” Awwad told the agent, who posed as an Egyptian intelligence officer.

According to prosecutors, Awwad said he turned down a job with Lockheed Martin because the lower-paying Navy job allowed easier access to classified information.

“The evidence shows this man is a patriot for Egypt,” DePadilla told the court.

DePadilla said Awwad had given instructions to his mother in Egypt to kidnap his two young sons and raise them there if anything happened to him. Awwad described his wife as a “problem” because she did not know about his desire to help Egypt and would not support it.

Awwad’s wife, who sat a few feet behind him during the hearing, declined to comment before leaving the courthouse.

Keith Kimball, an assistant federal public defender representing Awwad, urged Miller to release the defendant to the custody of his wife, who has lived in Canada and the United States since she was 1. He added that while his client allegedly said a lot of things to the undercover agent, the veracity of many of the comments remains in question - including Awwad’s false claim that he had “top secret” security clearance.

“There seems to be a lot of exaggeration,” he said.


Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, https://pilotonline.com

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