Those facts, and Todd's own premonitions that he had perhaps gotten in over his head, have turned his death into the latest example of the lingering American distrust over the rise of China and its military might.
"I saw some of the details of [Todd's] work," says Steven Huettner, a military radar expert who spent 30 years at defense industry giant Raytheon. "Until I saw them, I don't think anybody really understood the significance of what he was working on."
Todd himself was loath to talk about what he was working on in the months before his death. "Mom, I'm being asked to compromise US security, but I will not do it," Ms. Todd, speaking to the Monitor in a phone interview, recounts her son telling her via Skype.
It was not until after June 24, 2012, when their son was found hanged in his apartment, an apparent suicide, that the Todds got a stunning clue. They had gone to Singapore after his death to try to piece together what had happened – soon discovering stark inconsistencies between the scene at Shane's apartment and accounts by Singapore police. As they were leaving, they found the backup hard drive for one of the laptops Singapore police had taken.