Muslim Navy engineer with secret access accused of concealing double life as Iranian citizen

IRAN
navy spy
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Majid Karimi, the Iranian spy, changed his name to James Robert Baker in order to better conduct his nefarious work. He faces nearly 70 years in prison. But under Obama, would likely only spend about five years behind bars because of sentencing guidelines.

“Just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, officials informed Majid Karimi that he could not have a secret clearance and a foreign passport, adding that he would need to furnish proof he had given up his Iranian passport.

Six days later, he used his Iranian passport to fly to Iran. In October, the Navy learned about his trip and suspended his clearance. But Majid Karimi challenged the suspension, stating that he’d returned his passport to Iran, and his clearance was reinstated in 2002, according to the indictment.

The passport he claimed was given up was later discovered in his Vienna safe-deposit box.

So he has been spying for 20 years. What were officials thinking giving him his clearance back after 9/11?

“Navy engineer with secret access accused of concealing double life as Iranian citizen,” By David Larter, Navy Times, February 25, 2016:

A 30-year Navy engineer with access to government secrets has been indicted on charges of lying about his dual Iranian citizenship and creating false identities to conceal his ongoing ties and money he received from overseas.

U.S. federal prosecutors are accusing Naval Sea Systems Command employee James Robert Baker, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran, of lying about his holding an active Iranian passport and using four separate social security numbers to open bank accounts, move money and shield his income from taxes — including an unexplained overseas wire transfer of $133,902 in 2009.

Baker, who changed his name from Majid Karimi when he became a U.S. citizen in 1985, faces 14 counts on charges including lying on his SF-86 security clearance questionnaire, identification documents fraud and social security fraud, which could bring a maximum sentence of nearly 70 years in prison. However, experts say Baker, if convicted on all charges, would likely only spend about five years behind bars because of sentencing guidelines.

Baker’s attorney, Tom Walsh of Petrovich & Walsh P.L.C., did not return calls and emails seeking comment by Wednesday. A number D.C. number listed for Baker was disconnected. Baker, whose is believed to be in his 60s, is currently out on $75,000 bond and is awaiting an April jury trail, according to court documents.

Baker’s alleged fraud appears to span his entire 30-year career as a Navy civilian and has raised questions about whether authorities missed red flags that should have disqualified him from access to secrets.

“He shouldn’t have a security clearance, no questions about it,” said Bill Cowden, a former U.S. attorney who independently reviewed the indictment for Navy Times. “This is just another example of what’s causing a lot of people to question whose dropping the ball on security clearances. You have leaks of government information, you have people accessing personnel records and you have this. It just doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that the government is doing a good job of vetting people.”

A spokesman for NAVSEA, where Baker has worked as an electrical engineer since 2006, said “it would be inappropriate to comment given the ongoing case.”

U.S. Marshalls arrested Baker on or about Feb. 4, when the federal indictment was filed. Baker has been suspended from his NAVSEA job, pending the outcome of his case.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which filed the indictment, declined to comment on the charges.

In July, authorities searched Baker’s home in Springfield, Va., and discovered a Maryland driver’s license under the name Majid Karimi and seized the key to a safe-deposit box located at a bank in Vienna, a few minutes’ drive from his home. Not long after agents arrived at the bank, an incensed Baker walked in demanding the bank give him immediate access to his safe deposit box. The agents told Baker to have a seat while they executed the warrant.

When they opened the box they found three Iranian passports — two expired and one active, the last issued in 2012 — under the name Majid Karimi with Baker’s photograph on them.

Authorities also found four different social security cards dating back to July 6, 1979 — two under the name James Robert Baker and two under Majid Karimi with addresses in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Furthermore, Karimi had driver’s licenses and ID cards from Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Delaware and New Jersey.

Financial intrigue

In 2009, Baker mysteriously transferred a large sum of money acquired overseas and spread it across his various identities, prosecutors allege. Baker moved $133,902 from a bank account in New York to his BB&T account opened under his former name, Majid Karimi. The lump sum originated from a bank in Slovenia and was wired to his New York account through an intermediary servicer in the United Arab Emirates, Al Samaa LTD. Attempts to contact Al Samaa, which appears to be a financial institution, have been unsuccessful.

Baker then moved $40,000 from the BB&T account under his Karimi identity to a PNC account under his Baker identity.

He is also accused of — but not charged with — lying to NAVSEA about tax withholdings from his paycheck. Baker, the indictment alleges, opened a bank account with Navy Federal Credit Union and gave his sister in Tehran control over it as a way of avoiding tax reporting under his name.

In tax forms, Baker reported his sister’s U.S. address as his own, though U.S. officials have no record she has traveled to the U.S. and that the only person who used that account regularly was Baker.

‘Provable crimes’

Baker became a naturalized citizen in 1985 and legally changed his name from Karimi to Baker, according to the indictment. It was also the year he started working for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. In 2001, just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, officials informed Baker that he could not have a secret clearance and a foreign passport, adding that he would need to furnish proof he had given up his Iranian passport.

Six days later, he used his Iranian passport to fly to Iran. In October, the Navy learned about his trip and suspended his clearance. But Baker challenged the suspension, stating that he’d returned his passport to Iran, and his clearance was reinstated in 2002, according to the indictment.

The passport he claimed was given up was later discovered in his Vienna safe-deposit box.

The alleged lies about his passport and the elaborate fraud to conceal his multiple identities and the complicated and opaque transfer of more than $100,000 from overseas has raised concerns ranging from a complicated tax evasion scheme to espionage, and it remains unclear whether investigators intend to file more charges against Baker.If prosecutors had an espionage case, they would likely keep records sealed and the indictment hush-hush, experts say.

“It’s probably frustrating for the prosecutor,” said Cowden, the former prosecutor who’s now a defense attorney with the Federal Practice Group in Washington, D.C. “They probably think there’s something more going on here, he’s got money coming in from overseas and probably don’t know what the source of it is and haven’t been able to get as far into it as they’d like. Or they’ve run it to ground and they think he’s a social security and tax fraud.”

Each charge each carries a five year sentence and Karimi is facing 14 counts, but because of sentencing guidelines and that they are all essentially the same crime, the charges are likely to be grouped together.

“You’ve got a guy who’s been investigated for more than eight months, and because there is a public indictment, the message is he’s not cooperating,” Cowden said. “The fact that there is a public indictment out there, they’ve thrown 14 counts at him, that seems to be what they can uncover as provable crimes. They’re not huge crimes, not the kind of crimes that will put him in jail for 20 years or longer.

“He’s probably lawyered up and they’ve come to the conclusion that he’s better off not cooperating.”

usVbaker

  • Art Ger

    hang him

    • Po Tato

      Hanging that guy without doing the same thing to that fella inside the White House is injustice !

  • conan_drum

    Trump is correct. The US legal system is incompetent and inefficient. It puts people in jail (especially blacks) for minor offences and keeps people out of jail when they have done serious crimes. Hr should be given 20 years minimum and then deported.
    He obviously thinks he is more loyal to Iran than US so he is in fact a traitor

    • wilypagan

      He should be executed. Hanging is the proper punishment for traitors.

      • kcampbell11

        Would the government be willing to shell out the money it would take to prove him guilty? There are plenty of guilty people in recent history that had deep enough pockets to go free. This guy likely had/has plenty of c.a.i.r. money to keep a lawsuit dragging on forever as well as stirring up trouble for anyone who was pushing to have this guy examined. We are doomed if we don’t stop the P. C.

  • Reagan40

    There is nothing mohammedans would not do do to further the agendas of their murderous cult. Mohammedans will lie, cheat, eat pork, shave their beards, adopt western names, befriend non muslims, become atheists, proclaim their undying love for Jews and do everything forbidden in their koran as long as it promotes the cause of Islam.

  • Po Tato

    Question: If an Iranian moslem can change his identity from an Iranian (moslem) name into James Robert Baker, and did that inside the United States of America, and not getting caught for, as TFA puts it, 30 years …. you may want to paraphrase Donald Trump :”WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON ??

    That Iranian is not alone. I repeat, THAT IRANIAN IS NOT ALONE !!

    I’ve been mixing with the moslems inside America for some decades, and for me, things like that is actually happening quite often

    Many of them moslems inside America are disguising themselves as ‘Christians’, and are mixing with us, getting to know many of our secrets, and all the while sabotaging our country, and most pathetically, my government, the government of the United States of America, does *NOTHING* to curb the activities of those moslems !

    • karl59

      They should be allowed to enter America in the first place!!!!!

      • karl59

        CORRECTION No MOSLEM SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE USA!!!!!!!!

  • knight

    Not good on the security checks, some one needs sacking.

    This guy should never have held such a position. My question iscould he have sabotage any of the naval vessels

    • wilypagan

      Unfortunately, many of the old timers in the defense industry have been replaced by questionable characters in the name of “diversity”. Hopefully, when Trump is elected, he will do a wholesale housecleaning of these moles.

  • aebe

    Just goes to show that you cannot trust the government , whether elected or hired .
    That the islamite was hired without a background search is typical , allowed to fly to a terrorist nation , and then allowed to lie about his passport . He will use his other passport to fly back to Iran before the trial .

    Validate your 2nd Amendment Rights . Carry

  • Drew the Infidel

    Don’t be fooled by the Hillary Clinton case. Security breaches are a serious matter. I once served in a spy plane outfit where simply having a foreign born spouse would cost you your clearance, the clearance being the first requirement to even be in the outfit. Remember also that Al Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion instead of his many other crimes.

  • Ichabod Crain

    This is why we shouldn’t close down Gitmo or prohibit waterboarding.

  • Mahou Shoujo

    If there is smoke, there is fire, best have a look at this spy’s supervisors to see how he remained undetected for so so long. Or, maybe his job did not give him high enough access to important material. In any event, it looks like there was the start of an investigation, then it stopped when it got to be too much trouble to follow through.

  • Jack Holan

    Pamela, Iranian stealing Top Secret over 30-year career for an enemy of the US, Iran will serve maybe 5-years in Prison. Jonathan Pollard who spied for Israel but was charged with passing secrets to an Ally who was supposed to receive this Info but Casper Weinberger wouldn’t release it, served 30 years was released on a ‘pardon’ and unable to go to Israel to live for at least another 5 years. He is sick and age 66 maybe. Real equity

    • IzlamIsTyranny

      Pollard should just leave for Israel — who cares what the corrupt government of the USA thinks anymore?

  • cypressswamp

    It doesn’t matter who the President is or who is in Congress unless somebody clears out all of the entrenched politicians from their DC jobs, most notably the State Department, this type of betrayal of common sense will continue apace

  • karl59

    A Moslem’s first allegiance will always be to shariah law!
    A Moslem can never display full allegiance to the US Constitution!

  • IzlamIsTyranny

    They released this muslim on bail? When his sentence could be upwards of 70 years? Gee, I wonder what the likliehood of his returning to the islamic “republic” of Iran might be? Meanwhile Jonathan Pollard still rots in jail.

  • joe1429

    Will obama invite him over to the wh?

  • Tiny_Montgomery

    American “spying” is still clownwork. Move it back into the military where it belongs; they will shoot people who need it. The federal civil service is a hotbed of utter imcompetence and occasional smart people, who seem always to be working for someone other than the agency that writes their paychecks. The agency involved in this case has no incentive to track down this guy’s activities any further — it just makes them look even worse. And he knows the place inside and out, and would be welcomed with greedy arms at any Russian, Chinese, or Iranian consulate. If you haven’t read The Billion Dollar Spy, you can find there an example of the damage a 1-year CIA employee could do when he was fired, enabled by incompetetence at the FBI and CIA (headquarters, where most of the stupid is found; the people doing the dangerous work appear to know what they are doing).

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