It’s got treason, arms sales, politics, greed, conspiracy, and government incompetence written all over it. And Chinese-language Taiwanese media are ignoring it
Readers will have noticed that I have paid a lot of attention to a case involving the deportation to Taiwan last week of Ko-suen “Bill” Moo (慕可舜), the former top sales rep for Lockheed Martin in Taiwan who was arrested in the US in 2005 for trying to ship advanced military technology to China.
One thing that has struck me since I broke the story on the weekend, and followed with a couple of articles about his “disappearance” once US federal agents had handed him over to Taiwanese authorities, is the lack of interest among Chinese-language media. Surely, the fact that a number of government officials claim they do not to know what has become of Moo should, in and of itself, be sufficient to pique the curiosity of any reporter worth his salt. If that isn’t enough for them, news that while AIT informed Taiwan of Moo’s deportation, immigration and border agencies not only failed to meet him at the gate, but have since apparently “lost track” of him, should.
Among other things, Moo tried to sell a whole F-16 engine to China, not to mention air-to-air and cruise missiles. And he was part of a so-called “gang of four” within the Air Force that allegedly counted among its members a former minister of national defense.
The main argument used by reporters who have chosen not to pursue the story is that Moo committed a crime in the US (not in Taiwan), served time in a federal prison (nearly most of the six-and-a-half-year sentence he was given), and is now a private citizen who has paid his dues to society. In my opinion, this is a myopic perspective to have on a man who has clearly demonstrated he is no friend of Taiwan.
Even before his arrest in Miami, during the about 10 years when he was a Lockheed sales representative in Taiwan, his employer had doubts about Moo and tried, unsuccessfully, to have him fired. What gave rise to those doubts has yet to be unearthed, but whatever it was, it must have constituted the first building blocks of a pattern.
One does not simply wake up as an honest man one day, only to decide to perform a moral volte-face and commit treason. Double agents are cultivated, and usually the process is gradual. In other words, Moo very likely had been turned long before 2004, when it is believed that he “officially” started working as an agent for the People’s Republic of China. His first project for them, which was eventually abandoned, was to procure UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter engines. He then graduated to the F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine for the F-16, and also sought to obtain an AGM-129 cruise missile and an AIM-120 air-to-air missile. This is pretty heavy (and deadly) stuff, and hardly the type of item one cuts his teeth on. Assuming the gradualism that usually characterizes the cultivation of an agent, Moo would have started with smaller and safer things to pass on to his handlers.
Having reached the point where he was willing to ship an entire fighter aircraft engine and advanced missile technology to China, where they would be reverse engineered and turned, in case of war, against Taiwan and the US, Moo confirmed beyond doubt that he had crossed a moral line and reached a point of no return. The severity of his infraction — even if he ultimately failed — makes it very difficult to believe that a few years in a US federal prison have turned him into an honest citizen again. He may, as the law defines it, have paid his dues to society, but to assume that he’s no longer a threat is a foolish assertion at best. What’s more, he now probably bears a grudge against the country that put him behind bars, and could very well seek revenge. His deep connections among the Taiwanese military still exist, and his accomplice in the US operation, a French national named Maurice Serge Voros, remains at large. And there are more Chinese in Taiwan today, from tourists to businesspeople, than ever before; in other words, the opportunities for contact today are much higher than they were prior to his leaving Lockheed.
Moo is still a threat, a man whose actions ultimately would put the lives of the people that I have come to love at great risk. He’s a traitor, and jail time notwithstanding, he should not be allowed to roam freely in our midst, plotting god knows what else against us.
How is this not an interesting story? How can this be ignored?