Stewart David Nozette, a 52-year-old American scientist who worked for the Energy Department and NASA and helped prove that there’s water on the moon, was arrested Monday for trying to sell classified state secrets to an FBI agent posing as a Mossad operative. In addition to a long career with the U.S. government, he also spent 10 years as a technical adviser for a consultant company owned by the Israeli government, the Associated Press is reporting. The criminal complaint also suggests a history of odd behavior, according to the wire service: In January of this year, he allegedly traveled outside the United States with two thumb drives and didn’t return with them, and he allegedly told a colleague that if the U.S. government ever tried to jail him for an unrelated crime, he’d go to Israel and “tell them everything” he knows. That was enough to get the FBI to embark on an elaborate sting operation in which Nozette ponied up information about U.S. satellites for $2,000 in cash, then gave more on “nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, and other major weapons systems” for $9,000.
So does this mean Nozette a spy who got caught or a megalomaniac with high-level clearance? So far, signs suggest the latter. “The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf violated US law,” the AP says.