FBI and Defense Department agents fanned out across four central North Carolina suburbs before the sun crept over the horizon on a freezing January morning in 2004.
Their mission: To question engineers from a nearby aircraft parts company who had left Eaton Aerospace in Jackson, Miss., two years earlier. The government and Eaton wanted to know if the men had taken valuable military and commercial trade secrets on their way out the door.
As investigators knocked at the homes of six engineers on the outskirts of Winston-Salem, N.C., fellow agents descended on Frisby Aerospace a few miles away. Equipped with a rough floor plan of the engineering department supplied by a whistleblower, they knew just where to go.