More information about Toshiba’s serious breech of U.S. technology security, c. 1987



G. Florence-

Too bad the original intent in establishment of Project Exodus and the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), now the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), has been so obfuscated by the interests of U.S. defense corporations and their self-serving interests in the expansion of international marketing of increasingly advanced technologies to an ever widening audience.


The Defense Department and U.S. Customs Service established Project Exodus.  Project Exodus was directed against Western firms that tried to dodge the governing rules over the export of sensitive equipment.  In its first three years, the effort seized 2,851 illegal shipments of defense-related equipment (worth $177 million).  Project Exodus aimed at prosecuting smugglers (a small fraction of all exporters), developing new methods to track illicit high-technology flows, and increasing the training of customs agents.

Senior Pentagon officials began to bring up technology security issues at all meetings with foreign officials.  One such meeting was between Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and his Japanese counterpart.  This meeting resulted in the public exposure in 1987 of Toshiba’s role in supplying the Soviets with complex machine-tooling equipment.  The machine-tooling equipment combined with software from Norway allowed the Soviet navy to improve its submarine propellers by reducing their noise and making the subs more difficult for NATO to detect.  The Toshiba case was recognized as a serious breach of technology security.  The case illustrated the complex international dimensions of economic espionage and the illegal transfer of export controlled technologies.

The Pentagon established the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) to provide stronger policy control over technology exports.  DTSA was to be the focal point of Defense Department efforts to keep international transfers of defense related technology consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.

Link to: Safeguarding Defense Technology, Enabling Commerce