I don't know why you're bringing this up if the discussion
Because it's related both to the topic at hand as the worst crime as a response on my part, and a counter to your point regarding stealing a secret project, how it could get into enemy hands, and the rest of the theory as you mentioned.
I am posting an actual event in game based on the mission that happens in Vice city.
The jetpack is a black project from a highly guarded government facility. Besides stealing a highly experimental piece of technology, there'd be the fact that an individual trespassed on government property, infiltrated a facility where only a select number are allowed within, and killed several solders
I don't see it any different to what happens in VC, where the French personnel are being killed by Tommy, stealing the guidance missile chips that belongs to the French government, and thus there's an obvious case of an individual working against the interests of the French government and it's property.
In case of stealing the jetpack, CJ had no clue about it. It was only after entering into the facility that the jetpack was revealed. CJ was hesitant initially, but agreed to help The Truth based on the history they both had. Similar to offering a help to a friend, which is different from helping a criminal.
The Truth wasn't a criminal but he had a couple of contacts who already knew about the secret, and so it's likely that this was all well planned, and thus it's even more likely, that the powerful people behind this mission offered a strong backing by assuring The Truth that whatever loss of life, etc happens in the facility, including the job of stealing the secret project, the blame wouldn't pass on to CJ, which is why CJ was rewarded the jetpack at the end of the mission for his services by pulling it off successfully, and there would be no further repurcussions.
Simple to understand!!
.. but what is one tank compared to international secrets?
There's no evidence in game to suggest such a possibility, and so it's just a theory. Even if something happens that I don't think CJ would be blamed at all, as already explained in the above part of my post.
.. so the microscope would be on CJ more IMO.
This actually makes sense more in case of Tommy, because the French personnel saw him retrieving the merchandise, including the cops who pursue him after the wanted level triggers at the end of the mission. Cortez didn't commit the ACT of stealing.
These government agents or whatever aren't fools that they wouldn't know who stole the chips in the first place.
In case of CJ, I have already mentioned my reasons why the blame wouldn't go on CJ.
I'd also like to clear myself on a couple of other points, which I suppose might come up later as a counter argument:
1. Tommy knew about the chips, unlike CJ.Proof
: Tommy Vercetti: Look, Cortez sent me. Just give me the damn CHIPS
2. I don't think there's a string back up that could help Tommy / Cortez from being blamed and/or any possible action from the government, because Tommy and Cortez we're involved in stealing something that belongs to a foreign government, different from stealing something from the army working on a project that was under secrecy from the outside world anyways. Since there's no clarity on who ordered the mission, or on whose orders The Truth was working on this mission, it's pretty much open to interpretation of the players.
3. Lastly, Even though that's a $60,000,000 project, but the fact that CJ is able to use the jetpack for the entire game as an unlockable flying vehicle, I think the main target of the people involved in planning this mission, wasn't really the jetpack, but they were interested in stealing the ACTUAL STUFF called the Green Goo, as indicated by The Truth's comment in the mission - "Land on the train, kill the guards, get in and steal the stuff". Even The Truth didn't know what was on the train, "Carl Johnson: Oh, yeah. What stuff? The Truth: I don't know yet!"
The Green Goo clearly indicates that The Truth was working for someone, and thus my theory could be true about other powerful people could be involved in this whole stealing of green goo, may be government agents like Toreno, who knows.