Man Accused of Exporting Illegal Devices to Israel Arraigned
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A computer expert accused of illegally exporting to Israel 800 triggers that can be used in atomic weapons was arraigned Tuesday in federal court.
Richard Kelly Smyth, 55, did not enter a plea when he was arraigned before Magistrate James McMahon on a 30-count indictment charging him with exporting the devices called krytrons, said Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Fahey.
Outside court, the Huntingdon Beach man defended his actions.
″I used diligence in deciding how these should be shipped and in my opinion they were shipped legally,″ Smyth said.
Smyth, who was never arrested, struck an agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office to post $100,000 bail and appear before U.S. District Judge Pamela Rymer to enter a plea on June 3, Fahey said.
The indictment resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Customs Service under its ″Operation Exodus″ program, which is to curb the flow of military and high-technology materials from the United States.
Israel said it has used the 2-inch-long devices for non-nuclear purposes and has agreed, at the request of U.S. law enforcement officials, to return to U.S. custody any unused krytrons, officials said.
Krytrons are included on the U.S. Munitions List, which means they may not be exported without a license or written approval from the State Department. Smyth is accused of circumventing those regulations by preparing false documentation for the exports.
Smyth was charged with 15 violations of the Arms Export Control Act and 15 counts of making false statements to the government.
The maximum penalties are two years in prison and a $100,000 fine for each violation of the Arms Export Control Act, and five years and a $10,000 fine for each false statement made to the government.
Fahey said anyone in the United States can buy krytrons. The electronic timing devices are used in photocopiers and airport strobe lights, but also could be used to control the timing of nuclear detonations.