Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

American death in Singapore raises questions about espionage, foul play

Molly Wood Feb 19, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

American death in Singapore raises questions about espionage, foul play

Molly Wood Feb 19, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Was it suicide or was it murder? And is a major Chinese company trying to use restricted U.S. technology for a military purpose?

In a case with possible national security implications for the U.S., an American electronics engineer was found hanged in Singapore last year. Local police suggested Shane Todd’s death was suicide. He was troubled and was just leaving his job, but the family isn’t buying it.

A story in the Financial Times is raising troubling questions about the circumstances of the death and work Todd was doing for IME, a Singapore government research institute. The work reportedly involved gallium nitride, a semiconductor that can withstand high levels of heat and power with both civilian and military applications. There are also possible connections to Huawei, the big Chinese phone company that American lawmakers worry could be involved in espionage.

“What we know from a file on Mr. Todd’s computer was that he has a project labeled ‘Huawei’ and there was a project plan where IME and Huawei would be working on a project from 2012 to the end of 2014,” explains Christine Spolar, investigations editor for the Financial Times, who says that Todd’s family suspects foul play related to this work.

According to the family, Todd told them he feared he was working on a project that was hurting U.S. national security.

In response to the FT’s piece, Singapore authorities say they are still investigating Shane Todd’s death, with a coroner’s inquest set next month. 

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.