WASHINGTON – Roy Lynn Oakley, 67, a resident of Harriman, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, to count one of an indictment charging him with unlawful disclosure of Restricted Data under the Atomic Energy Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C., Section 2274(b).
The guilty plea was announced today by Matthew G. Olsen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and James R. Dedrick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
Oakley had been scheduled to start trial today, but appeared instead before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Varlan, to enter his plea of guilty. Oakley had formerly been employed as a laborer and escort by Bechtel Jacobs at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The ETTP, formerly known as K-25, had previously been operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a facility to produce highly enriched uranium.
According to the plea agreement, while employed at the ETTP in 2006 through 2007, Oakley had a security clearance that permitted him to have access to classified and protected materials, including instruments, appliances and information relating to the gaseous diffusion process for enriching uranium. Some of the materials and information to which Oakley had access were classified as "Restricted Data" under the Atomic Energy Act, any disclosure of which was illegal. While he worked at the ETTP, Oakley had been instructed and informed that this Restricted Data could not be disclosed.
The plea agreement further states that based on the investigation the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that Oakley may have been in possession of protected materials that belonged to the DOE and was offering to sell the materials to a foreign government. The FBI initiated an undercover investigation and, in January 2007, the FBI contacted Oakley using an undercover agent assuming the role of an agent of a foreign government.
In recorded calls and during a face-to-face meeting with the FBI undercover agent, Oakley stated that he had taken certain parts of uranium enrichment fuel rods or tubes and other associated hardware items from the ETTP work site and that he wanted to sell these materials for $200,000 to the foreign government. Once Oakley handed over the pieces of tubes and associated items to the undercover FBI agent and received $200,000 in cash, he was confronted by agents of the FBI and admitted to his efforts to sell these materials to a foreign government.
The materials Oakley had tried to sell to a foreign government were, in fact, pieces of equipment known as "barrier" and associated hardware items that play a crucial role in the production of highly enriched uranium, a special nuclear material, through the gaseous diffusion process.
The maximum penalty for violation of the Atomic Energy Act by disclosing Restricted Data is a maximum of ten years imprisonment and a criminal fine of $250,000. A sentencing hearing has been set before Judge Varlan for May 14, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
Matthew G. Olsen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said, "Today’s guilty plea should serve as a strong warning to anyone who would consider selling restricted U.S. nuclear materials to foreign governments. The facts of this case demonstrate the importance of safeguarding America’s atomic energy data and pursuing aggressive prosecutions against those who attempt to breach those safeguards."
U.S. Attorney James R. Dedrick said, "Vigorous enforcement of the law controlling the protection of national security information, especially that involving materials associated with atomic energy and weapons, is of the highest priority for the Department of Justice and is a vital part of our duty to protect national security and the nation’s defense system. The exposure of Oakley’s conduct and subsequent investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice reflects the Department’s dedication to combating any threat to the security of our nation’s atomic secrets wherever it may happen."
The indictment was the result of an investigation by the FBI, DOE’s Oak Ridge Counterintelligence Field Office, and DOE’s Headquarters Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Assistant U.S. Attorney A. William Mackie from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Trial Attorney Anthony P. Garcia, from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, represented the United States in this case.
For additional information, please contact U.S. Attorney James "Russ" Dedrick, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Mackie or Public Information Officer Sharry Dedman-Beard at (865) 545-4167.