The spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington tells TPMmuckraker that it is watching the espionage case of Stewart Nozette closely following a report that the high-level U.S. government scientist traveled to India with two computer thumb drives in January.
“Definitely we have interest in the news,” said spokesman Nadeen Kiani. “The concerned desk officer is watching [developments].”
The embassy’s interest comes following the news that an unnamed “Country A” in the Nozette complaint, which alleges he sold classified info to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence office, was India.
Political sensitivity may explain why India was not identified in the criminal complaint — a sensitivity accentuated by Pakistan’s response to the news of the Indian connection.
At the time of his trip in January, Nozette was working closely with India’s space agency, ISRO, on a moon project. It’s not known what was on the thumb drives he allegedly brought to the country. According to the complaint, he returned to the United States without the thumb drives. Also not clear is why the episode is mentioned in the complaint, as it’s not directly relevant to the criminal charges.
According to the complaint, Nozette told a colleague before the January trip that if the government tried to throw him in jail in a separate fraud case, he would go to Israel or India and tell them everything he knew.
ISRO officials have said that Nozette visited their facilities at least twice.
The Indian Embassy declined to comment to TPMmuckraker last week, and has not responded to a new request for comment following the report about India. The State Department tells us it has nothing on the Nozette case, and a Justice Department spokesperson says the department won’t comment beyond what’s in the indictment.
Nozette’s lawyer has also declined to comment.