Feds: Chinese spy tried to steal US aviation trade secrets

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<pA Chinese spy who allegedly attempted to steal trade secrets from several American aviation and aerospace companies was charged Wednesday and extradited to the U.S.

<pYanjun Xu, an operative of the Chinese Ministry of State Security, is accused of recruiting experts who worked at aviation companies and paying them stipends to travel to China<pXu was indicted Wednesday on four counts of conspiring and attempting to commit espionage and theft of trade secrets.

<pFederal authorities said it's the first time that a Chinese Ministry of State Security intelligence officer has been extradited to the United States for trial.

<pJohn Demers, the assistant attorney general in charge of national security<pBenjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district, said no military information was targeted, but any attempt by other countries to "grow companies at America's expense" is considered a threat to national security.

<pAccording to the indictment, Xu recruited a GE Aviation employee, who sent him a presentation in February that contained the company's proprietary information. Xu later followed up with the employee asking for specific technical information and then asked the employee to meet in Europe, where he wanted the worker to provide additional information from GE, according to court papers.

<pXu was arrested after traveling to Belgium in April. After his appeals failed, he was extradited to the United States on Tuesday and made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Cincinnati. It was unclear whether Xu had an attorney.

<pGlassman spoke of "red flags" in the interactions between Xu and the employee. He said GE Aviation partnered with the FBI but would not indicate which organization alerted the other of suspected espionage. He also declined to specify at what point the employee was made aware of the situation.

<pGlassman said he had no plans to charge the GE Aviation employee, who no longer works at the company.

<pA spokesman for GE Aviation, a General Electric Co. division based in suburban Cincinnati that often works under Department of Defense contracts, said it's been cooperating for months with the FBI in a case that targeted a former employee.

<p"The impact to GE Aviation is minimal thanks to early detection, our advanced digital systems and internal processes, and our partnership with the FBI," GE Aviation spokesman Perry Bradley said.

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<pWang reported in Cincinnati.

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<pAssociated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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<pThis story has been corrected to show the assistant attorney general's name is John Demers, not John Demurs.