Bo Jiang, a Chinese national and space imaging expert who was working (with permission) as a contractor for National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) at NASA’s Langley space centre, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. on 16 March as he was trying to leave the country.
Bo Jiang was formally arrested for making a false statement with respect to what he was carrying out of the country (a laptop, a hard drive and simcard were allegedly undeclared) but is actually being investigated under suspicion of stealing US state secrets. His arrest followed brief surveillance operation by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
So what made the FBI move so fast to arrest him? Actually it was because Bo Jiang had booked a one-way ticket to China, a somewhat obvious indication that he was unlikely to return to United States of America in the near future. As such, given his apparent failed attempt at evasion, perhaps Bo Jiang was not such a super space spy after all.
Then again perhaps it was all the fault of China’s spymasters whose travel expenses policy might have refused a full recompense for an underused return air ticket. As NASA might yet find out with its own recently announced travel restrictions, cheapskate travel policies can sometimes back fire on the organsation that imposes them.