Feds: Ypsilanti man lied about foreign contacts to work on classified military project

An Ypsilanti man pleaded guilty this week to lying on security clearance forms so he could work on a classified military project.

Yifei Chu, age 57, a naturalized United States citizen and recent employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), applied for a three-year detailed assignment to the United States Embassy in Singapore working for the U.S. Navy.

Chu pleaded guilty to making false statements and falsifying records in a federal investigation.

Authorities say Chu made several false statements on his security clearance application during an interview with federal background investigators and in an affidavit he signed regarding his security clearance application. This included hiding his connections to the Taiwanese Navy and a Taiwanese company.

"This case is about more than just lying on a job application," said James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. "In order to obtain a position with the U.S. Navy, Chu attempted to hide his extensive contacts with the Taiwanese government, potentially giving them access to our nation’s classified information and military technology. The FBI continues to work tirelessly to ensure only the most trusted people have access to the U.S. Government’s sensitive information."

According to authorities, Chu was hired by the Taiwanese company to provide consulting services on a "classified" Taiwanese Navy project, was paid money by the Taiwanese company, and that he traveled to Taiwan on multiple occasions to meet with members of the Taiwanese Navy on a military base in Taiwan in performance of his consulting services.

"It is vital that those individuals who gain access to classified information related to our national defense are truthful and honest about their connections to foreign governments so that our nation’s military secrets do not end up in the wrong hands," said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison.