Case Study: Check your laptop! The case of Wei Sun

It is illegal for employees to take a laptop with ITAR or EAR classified information outside of the USA without the appropriate licences, In case of nen-compliance, the fines include jail time like this case demonstrates.

A former Raytheon employee was arrested on 24 Janaury 2020 accused of taking classified defense material abroad without proper clearance.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 48-year-old engineer Wei Sun on Friday, Jan. 24 2020 after the department claims he took his computer, which held important information about missile projects, to multiple countries, according to court documents.

Sun told his employer he planned to leave the country and take his computer with him. Raytheon officials told Sun that he shouldn’t take his computer with him because it would be in violation of company policy and prohibited under federal export control law.

While out of the country, Sun accessed the company network from his computer and told officials he was resigning from the company. He then disclosed that he took his computer outside the U.S., according to court records.

Raytheon officials interviewed Sun on Jan. 15 and told them he only took his computer to Singapore and the Philippines, omitting the fact that he took the device to China, Cambodia and Hong Kong, according to court documents.

Sun, a Chinese-born American citizen, was arrested in Tucson. He was employed by Raytheon for 10 years.


  • As of December 2018, Wei Sun was employed as Electrical Engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) in Tucson, Arizona.

  • On 12/01/2018, Sun informed a RMS official of upcoming travel overseas and his intention to take with him a RMS-issued HP laptop computer.

  • The RMS official knew that Sun was assigned to work on a RMS Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system project and believed that Sun's computer contained ITAR controlled data.

  • The RMS official directed Sun that, because Sun was worked on a ITAR controlled project, he was not to take the RMS computer outside the United States as it contained export-controlled information, and that taking the computer oversens would be in violation of RMS company policy and prohibited under federal export control law.

  • While outside the United States, on 01/07/2019 Sun accessed the RMS' computer network from his RMS laptop and, using his RMS email account, emailed a RMS official to stating that Sun was resigning from RMS in order to study and work overseas.

  • After Sun returned to the United States, on 01/14/2019 a RMS official asked Sun if he had taken the RMS computer overseas, and Sun admitted that he had, in fact, taken the RMS computer which had contained ITAR controlled BMD information on his overseas trip, despite the instructions and warning that doing so violated, and was prohibited by, federal export control law.

  • On 1/15/2019, Sun was interviewed by RMS security personnel. Sun initially told the RMS security personnel that he went to Singapore and the Philippines.

  • After providing inconsistent information as to his travel itinerary, Sun admitted that he had travelled to China, Cambodia, and Hong Kong and that while on travel he had knowingly took the RMS computer to China, despite RMS warnings and directions.

  • Sun admitted that the RMS computer contained. documents bearing ITAR warnings, schematics which he believed were likely ITAR controlled, and other previously generated ITAR documents.

  • There is no information which indicates that Sun ever applied for or received the necessary export license to export the ITAR documents.

  • On January 23, 2019, I met with Collin Sult, an RMS official, who holds the position at RMS of Senio: Counsel for Global Trade Compliance, and has over fifteen (15) years of international trade compliance and is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker, certified Export Compliance Officer and Certified ITAR Professional.

  • As such Sult has the expertise and training with regard to assessing and evaluating whether technical information and data relating to an RMS military project would constitute ITAR export-controlled information and data.

  • Sult examined the RMS Device in question and identified documents and files stored on the RMS Device as containing ITAR export-controlled data concerning AMRAAM and the RKV program which are ongoing air and missile defence system.

  • Sult further confirmed that Sun was working on projects associated with this ITAR technical data and would have had access to these computer documents/files while working at RMS.

  • Upon examination of the device, Sult also found IT Security software placed on Sun's laptop which in and of itself is export controlled.

  • Based upon discussion with RMS officials, I have no reason to believe that either RMS, and RMS officials or Sun have ever applied for, or received, an export license from the Department of State which would have permitted Sun to export any ITAR technical data from the United States.


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