Arrested Technion Scientist Sought to Obtain Important Research Data

Dr. Kurt Sitte, the famous physicist who has been under arrest here since mid-June on suspicion of espionage, was revealed today to have asked for reports on all research being done at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology shortly before his arrest.

Dr. Sitte, who had been head of the Technion physics department, was named deputy chairman of the Technion research committee shortly before his arrest. One of his first acts in that capacity was to ask directors of laboratories of the Technion to provide him all information on the research work underway in their departments. The arrest came before he received the information.

The Sitte arrest focused attention on the fact that Israel’s highly developed science institutions –the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University–have won the esteem of other countries. However, it was noted, while such countries as France and the United States either make use of the research facilities of these institutes or cooperate with them in joint research activities, other countries try to obtain information about research in the schools through espionage.

The Israel daily, Haaretz, reported several such cases. It recalled the case of a Weizmann Institute guard who was sentenced to two years imprisonment on espionage charges. In a similar case recalled by Haaretz, a foreign agent approached a Technion professor and offered some information in which the scientist was interested. The scientist was glad to get the information. However, when the same agent later asked the scientist about research work he was doing for a western power, the scientist contacted Israel security authorities who instructed him to discontinue the contact.

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