One of the more useful and interesting resources for aerospace researchers and historians has been the NASA Technical Report Server. Millions of documents available for download. But now, it seems, a Chinese spy has ruined it for everyone. Pull up NTRS now, and you see:
Until further notice,
the NTRS system will be unavailable for public access.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and anticipate that this site will return to service in the near future.
What’s the cause of this? It’s not certain, but it’s a safe bet that just-arrested alleged Chinese spy Bo Jiang was at the heart of this. SpaceRef.com has some interesting and depressing info:
Washington, D.C. (March 18, 2013) – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, today held a press conference revealing a significant new development concerning a Chinese national allegedly involved in security violations at several NASA centers.
NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control review have received such a review and all controlled documents are removed from the system.
It’s hard to see how a spy would have made use of NTRS. Did he upload sensitive documents for the world to see? Seems unlikely. Did he download stuff from there he shouldn’t have? Hard to imagine much on NTRS that would have been of concern… plus, it was available to anyone on the planet with an internet connection. I suspect China had downloaded everything on NTRS and has their own backup of the archive.