Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

ITT Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Weapons Technology to China

Posted by K.E. White on March 28, 2007

Night Vison GogglesYesterday ITT Corp pleaded guilty to violating weapons trade prohibitions when it sold night vision goggles to China, Singapore and Britain. 

The company will pay $100 million fine for two violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR): 1) improper handling of sensitive documents and 2) making misleading statements.

More on the significance of the ruling, responses from ITT Corp. and the US Department of Justice, and more information on the ITAR is provided below.

In short: ITC admited to wrong doing (but contends it wasn’t that bad), the US Department of Justice looks tough, and ITT will now invest money in–and make profit on–night vison googles technology. Why? Because ITT promises that only the United States will be privy to any technological advancements.

Why is this news? From The Register:

“According to the DoJ, ITT will be the first major defense contractor convicted of a criminal violation of the Arms Export Control Act.”

The Register provides these additional details:

ITT illegally exported military night vision goggles to China. For good measure, it supplied some classified technical data about a laser counter measure known as a “light interference filter”. Now it is paying the price for its skulduggery: a whopping $100m fine.

The US defense contractor also sold the goggles to Singapore and the UK, both allies of America the last time we checked. But, here’s the rub: the company didn’t fill in the necessary paperwork and in some cases it omitted material facts from its Arms Exports Required Reports. According to the US Department of Justice, ITT knew that it was violating its export licenses but failed to take action until just before it was found out by the US Department of State.

ITT’s response

“We have been cooperating with the government in this investigation and we have voluntarily disclosed all discrepancies that our internal reviews revealed,” said Steven R. Loranger, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ITT Corporation. “While this settlement relates to the actions of a few individuals in one of our 15 business units, we regret very much that these serious violations occurred. I want to reinforce, however, that the heart of our night vision goggles – the tube – is secure. No technical information regarding the tube was ever compromised.”

Loranger added, “Our renewed commitment to a culture of integrity and compliance applies to the entire company. ITT has a long track record as a trusted employer, supplier and partner, and we are firmly committed to ensuring that this will not happen again. These violations have made it clear that we had gaps in our compliance programs. The steps we are taking now will address these issues in a comprehensive way.”

The company has already begun implementing stricter new measures such as:

  • Insuring that all personnel understand and follow applicable regulations governing the export of critical technology
  • Naming a new compliance officer
  • Instituting a required ethics and compliance training program for all employees worldwide
  • Developing a comprehensive computer tracking program to monitor all packages sent from ITT facilities
  • Working with independent experts to refine and enhance the effectiveness of these measures.

The Department of Justice chimes in:

Assistant Attorney General Wainstein said, “The sensitive night vision systems produced by ITT Corporation are critical to U.S. war-fighting capability and are sought by our enemies and allies alike. ITT’s exportation of this sensitive technology to China and other nations jeopardized our national security and the safety of our military men and women on the battlefield. We commend the prosecution team and ITT Corporation for developing a plea agreement that addresses the violations of the past, ensures compliance in the future, and serves as a strong warning to others who might be tempted by the profits of such illegal exports.”

More on the ITT Corporation: 

ITT Corporation ( supplies advanced technology products and services in several growth markets. ITT is a global leader in the transport, treatment and control of water, wastewater and other fluids. The company plays a vital role in international security through its defense communications and electronics products; space surveillance and intelligence systems; and advanced engineering and related services. It also serves the growing leisure marine and electronic connectors markets with a wide range of products. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company generated $7.8 billion in 2006 sales. In addition to the New York Stock Exchange, ITT Corporation stock is traded on the Paris, London and Frankfurt exchanges.


More information on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations:

One Response to “ITT Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Weapons Technology to China”

  1. Let what happened to ITT served as a lesson to those in business dealings. A promise is a promise and like grandma says – you’re only good up to your last words.

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