The FBI arrested four people today for allegedly trying to steal military secrets for China, ABC News has learned. The FBI is worried that China has accessed military secrets that could put U.S. troops in danger in times of war.
The four "intelligence agents" were arrested in Los Angeles and are charged with trying to steal technology that allows U.S. submarines to move silently underwater. The FBI says one suspect was trying to obtain secrets about spy satellites, torpedoes, and aircraft carrier electronics.
According to the FBI, the Chinese are using not only intelligence agents as spies, but also students, researchers, and businessmen.
"We've seen targeting by the Chinese throughout the United States," said Timothy Bereznay, deputy assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. "We've had cases in Palo Alto, California; Wisconsin; Trenton, New Jersey. It's pervasive, it's redundant."
There is more evidence that China is trying to steal other U.S. military secrets.
Just ten days ago, a former aerospace engineer who helped develop the B-2 Stealth Bomber was charged as a spy.
At more than $1 billion apiece, the B-2's technology is so secret, the aircraft remains protected under heavy guard at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
"B-2 gives the United States a long-range stealth precision strike capability that no other country even approaches," said John Pike, a Global Security.org defense analyst.
But there is growing concern some of the stealth technology, which allows the B-2 to fly virtually undetected, has been stolen.
Government sources tell ABC News that Noshir Gowadia, who helped design the B-2, sold secrets about the bomber for hundreds of thousands of dollars to eight nations, including China.
According to recently unsealed court records, the government says Gowadia gave away two top-secret documents, which could cause "exceptionally grave damage to [U.S.] national security."
The secrets allegedly sold involve technology which allows the bomber to avoid heat-seeking missiles.
"With China getting this technology," Pike said, "they can do two things. They can copy it for their own planes possibly. They could also counter it, getting heat-seeking missiles that can shoot down the stealth bomber."
The FBI has instructed all of its field offices to create special units to combat Chinese espionage.
ACB News' Pierre Thomas filed this report for "World News Tonight."