A retired University of Tennessee professor has been sentenced to four years in prison for passing sensitive information from a U.S. Air Force contract to two research assistants from China and Iran.
J. Reece Roth, a plasma physics expert at the school in Knoxville, Tenn., was found guilty in September on all 18 counts of conspiracy, fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act.
Prosecutors said the case marked the first time the government used the export control act to crack down on the distribution of restricted data, not hardware, to foreigners in a university setting.
Roth allowed the graduate students to see sensitive information while they researched a plasma-guidance system for unmanned aircraft.
The 71-year-old is appealing his conviction.