D.C.

Stewart David Nozette sentenced to 13 years

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A government space scientist accused of trying to sell classified information to Israel was sentenced to 13 years Wednesday for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

Stewart David Nozette, 54, of Chevy Chase, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of attempted espionage, fraud and tax charges.

"Stewart Nozette's greed exceeded his loyalty to our country," said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen in a statement. "He wasted his talent and ruined his reputation by agreeing to sell national secrets to someone he believed was a foreign agent. His time in prison will provide him ample opportunity to reflect on his decision to betray the United States."

Nozette was arrested nearly two years in an undercover sting operation in which he allegedly tried to sell secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer for $2 million.

Nozette had high-level security clearances during decades of government work on science and space projects at NASA, the Energy Department and the National Space Council in President George H.W. Bush's White House. He also helped discover evidence of water on the moon.

Because Nozette knows so many secrets, including about the nation's nuclear missile program, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered special communications restrictions placed on him in jail. He's been behind bars since his arrest.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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