Boeing worker accused of theft

SEATTLE – A Boeing Co. employee was arrested for investigation of theft after the company accused him of downloading proprietary information he was not authorized to have.

Boeing told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer it had recently fired an employee for violating company policy after an internal investigation into information that had been downloaded from Boeing computer servers.

Boeing would not release the worker’s name.

In an interview with the P-I, Gerald Eastman, 44, said he was the one who was fired, claiming Boeing retaliated against him for raising safety concerns.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Eastman filed complaints about Boeing in 2002 and 2003. The FAA investigated and found nothing that required enforcement action against Boeing, FAA spokesman Alan Kenitzer said.

John Dern, a spokesman at Boeing’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, said the airplane manufacturer is cooperating with law enforcement authorities investigating the case.

Eastman, who worked in Boeing’s propulsion unit in quality assurance, was arrested May 17 and released the next day, according to a King County Jail log. He said Boeing told him on May 23 that he was being fired.

Eastman was initially arrested for investigation of computer trespass and theft. He has not been charged with a crime.

Boeing has spent more than a year trying to determine the source of leaks to The Seattle Times, which has published a number of stories based on internal Boeing documents.

Asked about those leaks, Eastman told the P-I: “I won’t comment on any relationship I may have with a reporter.”

The Seattle Times also declined to comment.

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