Defense denies Chinese-American engineer had sentimental U.S. military data

The U.S. government misrepresented the contents of documents found in the home of a Chinese American engineer who was arrested for allegedly trying to send military secrets to China, according to court papers filed by the defense. The papers filed Wednesday by the attorney for Chi Mak, 65, claim the documents dealt with power technology and not weaponry or nuclear advances as the government alleged.

"Rather than being the long-standing 'spy' for the last 20 years, the characterization which the government sold to the court and the media, the evidence herein reflects Mr. Chi Mak's long-standing dedication to the field of power electronics technology, and that he is known only to be a hard worker and a 'problem solver,"' attorney Ronald Kaye said in the papers, which were filed in Santa Ana federal court.

Mak, of Downey, has a bail hearing scheduled for Friday. The FBI arrested Mak and his wife on Oct. 28 for investigation of conspiracy to steal U.S. government documents. That charge was later dropped and Mak, his wife and brother were accused of failing to register as foreign agents.

Prosecutors alleged that Mak copied onto a disc "sensitive" information about a quiet propulsion system that his employer, Anaheim-based defense contractor Power Paragon, was developing for the U.S. Navy. Mak worked on the system. They also alleged that they found two lists in Chinese asking Mak to get documents about sensitive military technology, and claim he has been funneling secrets to China since 1983.

Kaye denied the disc held sensitive information. In a 12-page declaration, a longtime colleague of Mak's, Robert H. Lee, said the documents' titles reflect military projects but the documents themselves pertain to power engineering technology.

"There is not one document in the group which surprised me or caused me concern," Lee wrote. Lee said nobody could build a specific piece of equipment based on the documents. Kaye also disputed the significance of a hand-drawn map of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory found at Mak's home. His client had the map because he and two colleagues had visited the site in April 2002, Kaye said, reports the AP. N.U.