relationship progressed, Petrov provided the engineer with
small sums of money -- usually about $250 -- for each report the
American gave the Russian. Petrov never ceased to pressure the
engineer for F-14 technical reports, especially confidential ones.
The engineer, however, continued to bring routine reports to the
meetings, explaining that confidential reports were very difficult
to obtain. Petrov then suggested that the engineer should request a
transfer to another area of the Grumman plant where he would be in a
position to have access to a much larger variety of engineering
data. He promised to compensate the engineer for any decrease in
salary that might occur as a result of any such transfer.
Several months later, in response to Petrov's urgings, the engineer
offered him some drawings relating to the F-14's wing design. He
warned the Russian that he had to have the drawings back before he
returned to work the next day. At this point, Petrov told the
engineer he would furnish him with a copying machine, thereby
eliminating the necessity of bringing the actual reports and
drawings to future meetings.
At a subsequent meeting on March 1, 1971, Petrov gave the engineer
an inexpensive, portable copying machine. He then suggested that the
American use the machine in a motel room and promised to reimburse
the engineer for all expenses incurred in this regard. Such an
arrangement would enable the engineer to return the original reports
to his office the next day while having a copy available for Petrov
at their next meeting.
During their March meeting, Petrov remarked that he would probably
be returning to the Soviet Union in May for a vacation. He made it
clear, however, that in the meantime he expected the engineer to
"keep busy" obtaining and copying F-14 reports.
Shortly before returning to Russia on May 19, 1971, Petrov set up a
schedule of future meetings. On odd months the meetings would be
held on the first Monday of the month, while the even month meeting
dates would be on the second Monday. Alternate meeting dates, in
case one of them missed the regular day, would be on the following
Monday of each month. Petrov then told the engineer he would return
to the United States in August. They agreed to meet again on August
9th at a restaurant in the vicinity of Islip, Long Island.
Following Petrov's return from the Soviet Union, their
dinner-meetings continued on a regular basis. They met at previously
designated restaurants and, during dinner, discussed the engineer's
employment prospects at Grumman and what material the engineer had
managed to bring with him. After dinner they normally left the
restaurant and entered the engineer's car where the F-14 reports and
money were exchanged. Petrov would then get out of the car and
depart the area on foot. During their earlier meetings, Petrov drove
his own automobile to the meeting location. Later, however, the
Russian started driving to a railroad station located several stops
short of the meeting site and then rode a train to his final
destination. Petrov explained to the engineer that no one would
recognize him so far from New York City, but he was afraid the
police might begin to notice his car after a while.
During their November 1, 1971, meeting, Petrov furnished the
engineer with a specially altered 35-mm camera. This camera was
capable of taking 72 photographs from each 36-exposure roll of film.
Included with the camera were a couple of rolls of film and a
high-intensity lamp. Petrov instructed the engineer in the camera's
operation and told him to use both the camera and the copying
machine until he was certain he could operate the camera correctly.
The Russian explained that it would be much easier to pass the
engineering reports if they were on film. The engineer could place
the film in a cigarette package and give it to Petrov who would in
return hand the American a similar package containing cigarettes.
During their January 3, 1972, meeting, Petrov told the engineer that
his contract at the UN would probably terminate in October or
November of that year. He stated that, should he have to return to
Russia, he would introduce the engineer to a colleague with whom the
American could continue to do business. Petrov added that if he
failed to appear at their designated meeting site on both of the
first two Mondays of that month, then the engineer was to go to a
movie theater in Freeport, Long Island, the following Monday. The
engineer was to walk up the right side of the theater entrance at
precise intervals of 7:00 to 7:07 p.m. and 7:30 to 7:35 p.m. A man,
standing in this area, would say to the engineer: "Hello. Are you
interested in buying an antique Ford of 1930?" The engineer was to
reply: "Yes. I am. After all, I was born in 1930." As an extra
precautionary measure, the new man would have one half of a dollar
bill. The engineer would have the other half of the dollar bill.
Their fifteenth and final meeting took place at a restaurant near
Patchogue, Long Island, on February 14, 1972. Petrov seemed pleased
when the engineer told him he had brought along some confidential
pages from a report on the F-14 project. Petrov then said that since
their business arrangement was working out so well, he wanted to
minimize the possibility of anyone recognizing them together. He
mentioned a plan to use walkie-talkies to eliminate all unnecessary
personal contact. Petrov, unaware of his impeding arrest that
evening, promised to give the engineer his walkie-talkie unit at
their next meeting. He instructed the engineer to place the rolls of
film, containing the Grumman reports, in small, metal containers
which would then be cast in plaster of Paris bricks. The engineer
was to place the bricks in predesignated locations and then transmit
a radio signal to Petrov who would be stationed about one-half mile
away. Upon receipt of this signal, Petrov would wait approximately
one-half hour before retrieving the brick.
Petrov told the engineer that during the first three months of this
new system, the drop-off points for the plaster bricks would be
somewhere on Long Island. Subsequent drop-off points would be on the
west side of the Tappan Zee Bridge in Rockland County, north of New
When asked about payment for the confidential report that the
engineer had brought along that evening, Petrov replied that he
would have to look at it to determine its value. Upon finishing
dinner, they left the restaurant and entered the engineer's car. At
this point, Petrov asked if the engineer had the confidential
material ready. In response, the engineer removed a large grey
envelope stashed in the back of the car which contained a copy of an
F-14 engineering report, a roll of film containing a copy of the
same report, and several pages that were classified "confidential"
from another report. The engineer then handed the envelope to Petrov
who placed it into his attache case. Petrov, after giving the
engineer a small, white envelope in return, got out of the car and
started to walk toward the parking lot's exit. At this moment, based
upon a prearranged signal, FBI Agents immediately intercepted and
arrested Petrov before he could escape. The Russian, seeing that
capture was imminent, attempted to dispose of the evidence by
throwing his attache case high into the air. However, it was
immediately retrieved by one of the FBI Agents.
Petrov was taken to the Federal Detention Center in New York City.
The following morning, he was brought before the U.S. Magistrate for
the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. The U.S. Magistrate
set bail at $500,000 and remanded Petrov into the U.S. Marshal's
custody until a Russian translator could be obtained the next day.
Ironically, Petrov, who worked as a Russian-English translator at
the UN, remained silent during his court appearance, indicating that
he did not understand the English language!
A search of Petrov's person turned up three index cards. Each
contained hand-drawn diagrams of various locations within the New
York area. These were obviously the drop-off sites that Petrov had
had in mind when he discussed the use of plaster bricks with the
Petrov was arraigned and released after his $500,000 bail was
reduced to $100,000. A Federal grand jury returned an indictment on
February 17, 1972, charging Petrov with espionage and violation of
the Foreign Agents Registration Act. On August 14, 1972, the
indictment was dismissed following instructions from the White House
to the U.S. Department of Justice and after Petrov returned to the
Soviet Union with prior court approval. It was decided by top U.S.
officials that this dismissal would best serve the national and
foreign policy interests of the United States.
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