OREANDA-NEWS. A former contractor of the US Department of Defense, a 63-year-old resident of South Dakota, John Murray Rowe Jr., was detained in connection with criminal charges related to alleged attempts to engage in espionage, according to a press release from the US Department of Justice published on Thursday, December 16.

The report states that the suspect worked for about 40 years as a test engineer for defense contractors, in particular, he was engaged in aerospace technologies of the US Air Force and by occupation had access to materials of varying degrees of secrecy — up to top-secret information with a special storage regime. After he repeatedly violated the secrecy regime, and also «showed a keen interest in Russian affairs», he was seen as a potential internal threat and fired from his job, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched an undercover operation to determine Rowe's readiness to transfer classified information to a foreign government.

In March 2020, Rowe met with an FBI agent posing as an «agent of the Russian government», after which he exchanged more than 300 letters with an FBI employee for eight months, confirming his willingness to work for Russia. The press release of the US Department of Justice notes that in one of the letters, Rowe disclosed secret information about specific working details of electronic countermeasures systems used in American military fighters.

John Murray Rowe has been charged with attempting to transfer information related to national defense to a foreign government. On December 17, he will appear before the District Court of the District of South Dakota. If the court finds him guilty, Rowe faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the US Department of Justice.