Nov

6

The Gripes of Roth


Posted by at 5:27 pm on November 6, 2012
Category: Criminal Penalties

Professor John Roth
ABOVE: Professor Reece Roth


General news media reports on export law matters, and particularly on export law criminal proceedings, are often riddled with substantive errors about export law. A reader brought to my attention this Bloomberg Businessweek article on the Professor Roth case, a case which this blog covered extensively. The article more or less gets everything right and is worth a read, particularly as it concerns the aftermath of Professor Roth’s conviction and imprisonment.

Some interesting details:

  • Roth is unrepentant and still models himself a “a martyr for the open exchange of ideas.” Even more unappealingly, he characterized his research as involving hard problems which required that he hire foreign students, American students apparently not being quite up to the task in his view.
  • The University of Tennessee, in a move that Kremlinologists might find familiar, distanced itself from Professor Roth last April by “shredding his office library: 200 cubic feet of books, laboratory notes, and scientific articles, including 300 by Roth himself.”
  • The FBI put a wire on Roth’s Chinese graduate student, who was working on the Air Force project without State Department permission, and used him to try to get Roth to make incriminating statements.
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One Comment:


There’s a fine irony in Roth thinking he originated the idea of containing ants with a mobius strip – maybe if the University of Tennessee wasn’t busy vindictively shredding his books and paperwork, Roth could recall that the artist Escher had some famous artwork with ants on a mobius strip. I thought it was exceptional story telling, for the reporter to end the article with someone else developing a more practical solution to Roth’s problem.

However, I’m pleased that Golden got story mostly correct, it only missed the details regarding the defunct AGT, Inc., but that too shall be revealed publicly eventually.

Comment by Daniel Max Sherman on November 7th, 2012 @ 2:27 am