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NASA scientist's espionage attempt results in 13-year prison sentence

On Wednesday, Stewart Nozette, a high-profile former government scientist, was sentenced to 13 years for espionage after passing secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy. He was also fined for tax evasion.

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Employees of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, stand near the west gate entrance of the laboratory in Livermore, Calif. in 1999. A former employee of the lab, Stewart David Nozette, was sentenced for espionage and tax evasion on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

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A high-profile former government scientist was sentenced Wednesday for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax evasion.

Former NASA scientist, Stewart David Nozette, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. In addition, he is required to pay $217,000 to the government.

This penalty delivered by the US District Court for the District of Columbia includes two cases. Nozette pleaded guilty in September to providing classified information to a person he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer, who was actually an FBI agent. He also pleaded guilty in January 2009 to fraud and tax charges.

Stewart Nozette's greed exceeded his loyalty to our country” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., US Attorney for the District of Columbia, in a Department of Justice press release.

Nozette has a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he helped to discover water ice on the south pole of the moon.

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