[amsat-bb] Re: ITAR is interesting to me

Bob McGwier rwmcgwier at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 06:15:50 PDT 2009

Trevor . wrote:
> As was commented earlier ITAR certainly does makes it tricky when try to sell something to an American customer who isn't allowed to tell you what they want. 
> Am I right in thinking the penalty for a US citizen who incorrectly interprets ITAR and inadvertantly breaches it can be a 4 figure fine or jail term ?  

No.  It is six figures in many cases.  I know a tale.  I will NOT attest 
to its veracity since I was not there but I believe it.  Somewhere in 
the world associated with space and military we allowed (a) foreign 
national(s) to use our facilities to monitor one of their launches as 
they needed a world wide network for it and we were playing nice.  One 
of their nationals asked "May we put an antenna on that tower and cover 
this location for our hand held communications for coordination of our 
activities".  The question was answered.  The company that employed the 
person answering the question was fined in excess of $100,000 for 
answering the question as an ITAR violation because they aided the 
ground station support for the launch and that was a DEEMED export and 
not an approved one.

I was once told that it is simply impossible to follow ITAR to the 
letter and achieve any purpose.  What you do is negotiate a document of 
exceptions and reporting and call it a technical assistance agreement.  
Once that is approved you are allowed to communicate but heaven help you 
even if you inadvertently exceed the authority of that document.  I just 
cannot afford personally to take such risks especially after making a 
full mea culpa on those things which were done wrong before and being 
told "do not do this again or it will be tougher".
> I infer from previous comments on this list that ITAR also prevents detailed discussion of an amateur satellite via an email list that is open to non-US citizens and might also impact on a Wiki or articles written by US Nationals in publications such as the AMSAT Journal.  
> 73 Trevor M5AKA 
One can only hope there is some sanity turned on amateur radio 
spacecraft in particular some day since we are not-for-profit and have 
education and international comity as our goals.


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