Boeing lays out case against ex-worker accused of media leaks

Ex-worker accused of media leaks

Last updated March 26, 2008 9:11 p.m. PT


Investigators for The Boeing Co. told a jury on Wednesday how they pieced together a relationship between a Seattle Times reporter and an ex-Boeing employee, a relationship that could land the former employee in prison.

Gerald Eastman is accused of 16 counts of computer trespass. If convicted, he could serve up to nearly five years in prison.

Anthony Maus, a senior manager for Boeing’s investigations division, testified in King County Superior Court that his team examined leaks to Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates, who wrote articles that relied on internal Boeing documents.

Maus said he has analyzed thousands of documents confiscated from Eastman’s home computer. He showed jurors more than 100 PowerPoint slides that detailed which of those documents he believes Gates used for his articles.

The Times has said that it would not confirm whether Eastman was a source.

Each of the 16 charges against Eastman refers to documents that were the basis of up to 13 Times articles, according to testimony.

For example, Maus said that a Times article on Jan. 27, 2005, headlined “Bigger 747 gets a close look,” is based on a PowerPoint presentation that belonged to then-Boeing Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher.

In another instance, The Times reported that 747 production would increase from one plane per month to 1.5 planes per month in mid-2005. That statement, according to Maus, correlates to a production schedule chart in another confidential Boeing document.

Maus also displayed Times newspaper graphics for the jury. One, which the jury analyzed, detailed a map of the globe to point out where different parts of the 787 Dreamliner were to be made.

A similar graphic appeared in internal Boeing documents found on Eastman’s home computer.

Since Eastman’s arrest in May 2006, no more articles have appeared in The Times that were attributed to top-level internal Boeing documents, Maus testified.

Eastman found the documents by looking through Boeing’s internal share drives, some of which were not password-protected, according to testimony by Maus and Del Valerio, a Boeing computer forensics expert who investigates media leaks.

Boeing’s internal network is one of the largest private networks in the world, with more than 200,000 users and 400,000 devices, Valerio said.

Users and groups within Boeing can create their own “file shares,” which are like electronic filing cabinets and folders. Some file shares are restricted to certain users — but some are open to everyone.

Public defender Ramona Brandes pointed out, through questioning Maus, that Boeing’s computer systems allowed Eastman access.

“In fact, anybody who had access to the Boeing computer network could have accessed that file,” Brandes asked, referring to a document that Maus said was leaked to The Times.

Maus responded, “Well, they would have had to know what they were looking for. There are 50,000 shares.”

Brandes also asked if Maus ever saw Eastman tamper with programs or impersonate other users. Maus said, “No.”

Over about two years, Eastman cataloged which parts of the network were restricted, and which were not. He also kept track of what types of documents could be found in the unrestricted file shares, according to testimony.

Many of the documents on Eastman’s home computer were marked confidential.

Eastman’s mother and sister attended part of Wednesday’s proceedings.

Marc Boman, a partner at the Seattle law firm Perkins Coie, has been observing the trial. Boman handles internal investigations, according to his firm’s Web site. Boeing is a Perkins Coie client.

P-I reporter Andrea James can be reached at 206-448-8124 or