EYE SPY INTELLIGENCE MAGAZINE

     
     

ESPIONAGE CASES 1975-2004

 

 

 

SOUTHER, GLENN MICHAEL. On 11 July 1988, Soviet newspaper Izvestia announced that Souther, a former navy photographic specialist who disappeared in May 1986, had been granted political asylum in the Soviet Union. Just before his disappearance, Souther, a recent graduate with a major in Russian Studies from Old Dominion University, was questioned by FBI counterintelligence agents. According to one source, investigators were acting “on more than suspicions, but didn't catch him in the act of espionage, and thus couldn't hold Souther at the time he was questioned.” While attending college, Souther had been assigned as an active reservist to the Navy Intelligence Center in Norfolk, Virginia, where he had access to classified information. Souther's sudden disappearance was of considerable concern to FBI and Navy officials since the former Navy enlisted man had held special security clearances while on active duty with the Sixth Fleet in the early 1980s. During that time he had access to highly classified photo-intelligence materials. Souther joined the Navy in 1975 and left active duty in 1982 with the position of photographer’s mate. According to the Soviets, the former Navy specialist had asked for asylum because “he had to hide from the US special services which were pursuing him groundlessly.” Described as a bright but undisciplined young man by former teachers and acquaintances, Souther reportedly had wanted to become a US Naval officer, but had been turned down as a Navy officer candidate. On 22 June 1989, at the age of 32, he reportedly committed suicide by asphyxiation after shutting himself in his garage and starting his car. Russian newspapers suggested he had been disappointed by aspects of Soviet life after defecting in 1986 and was prone to depression.

SPADE, HENRY OTTO, a former Navy radio operator, was arrested in Mountain Home, Arkansas, on 17 November 1988 for the unauthorized possession of two Top Secret documents. One of the documents was a cryptographic key card. Spade, who was discharged from the Navy in April 1988, stole the items while on active duty, but had reportedly made no attempt to sell them to any person or foreign government. While in the Navy, Spade served aboard the USS Midway and the USS Bristol County. Charged with one count of espionage, Spade pleaded innocent and was released on $25,000 bond. Spade faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when convicted, but on 14 March 1989 was sentenced to three months’ probation.

STAND, KURT ALAN, a regional labor union representative along with his wife, THERESE MARIE SQUILLACOTE, a former senior staff lawyer in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, and friend JAMES MICHAEL CLARK, a private investigator, were arrested 4 October 1997 on charges of spying for East Germany and Russia. Stand reportedly began his spying activities in 1972 after being recruited by East Germany to cultivate other spies in the Washington, DC, area. He was introduced to East German intelligence officers (the Stasi) through his father, Maxmillian Stand, a chemical engineer who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Clark, Squillacote, and Stand attended the University of Wisconsin in the 1970s where they were affiliated with leftist groups, specifically the Progressive Student Forum and the Young Workers Liberation League, the youth arm of the Communist Party USA. Stand recruited Clark in 1976 and Squillacote about the time the couple was married in 1980. Before obtaining a position at the Pentagon, Squillacote was employed by the National Labor Relations Board and, later, the House Armed Services Committee. She sent numerous photographs to her German handlers. Squillacote reportedly told an undercover FBI agent that she turned to spying to support the progressive anti-imperialist movement. She first came to the attention of the FBI in 1995 when she offered to be a spy in a letter to a South African government official who was a leader of his country's Communist Party. Stand and Squillacote frequently traveled to Mexico, Germany, and Canada during which time Stand would meet with their East German handlers. When the two Germanys united in 1990, Stand’s controllers tried to recruit him to spy for the Soviet Union and then for the Russian Federation. Although he never gained access to classified material, his role in the operation was to recruit agents and to provide information about the nongovernmental groups with which he worked. Stand allegedly received $24,650 for his recruiting and coordinating efforts. On 23 Oct 1998, he and Squillacote were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, attempted espionage, and illegally obtaining national defense documents. On 22 Jan 1999, a US District Judge sentenced Squillacote to 21 years and 10 months in prison and Stand to a sentence of 17 years and six months.

TOBIAS, MICHAEL TIMOTHY, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, along with his nephew, FRANCIS X. PIZZO, were arrested on 13 August 1985 and charged with stealing Top Secret cryptographic key cards from the USS Peoria, berthed at San Diego. The pair were also accused of attempting to sell the material to representatives of the Soviet Union for $100,000. Tobias and Pizzo drove to the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco, but arrived during the early morning before regular business hours. Having failed in their initial attempt to contact a “foreign power,” and obviously having second thoughts about committing espionage, the pair drove back to San Diego and called the US Secret Service offering to sell the cards back to the government for amnesty and money by claiming that they were prepared to sell the key material to the Soviets. Several calls were placed to the Secret Service by Pizzo, one of which was traced by the FBI. Also arrested in connection with the case were Tobias's brother, BRUCE TOBIAS, and DALE IRENE of San Diego. According to government prosecutors, Tobias took the classified cards from the ship instead of shredding them, as was his assignment, with the intention of selling them. Pizzo pleaded guilty to five Federal charges and on 7 October was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bruce Tobias and Dale Irene pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property. During the four-day trial of Michael Tobias, a National Security Agency official testified that the cards would have provided sensitive information about the location and movement of US and foreign vessels. Two of the 12 pilfered cards have not been recovered. On 14 August Michael Tobias was found guilty of four counts of conspiracy and three counts of theft of government property. The US Attorney stated that Tobias had attempted to leave the country and that he and Pizzo had been seen near the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco before their arrests. On 12 November 1995, Michael Tobias was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment; in January 1996, Bruce Tobias was sentenced to the prison time he served up to that date (159 days), and Dale Irene was sentenced to a two-year confinement.

TROFIMOFF, GEORGE, retired US Army Reserve colonel, 73, was arrested on 14 June 2000 in Tampa, Florida, and charged with spying for Russia for 25 years. His arrest concluded a seven-year investigation by the FBI and German authorities. According to the FBI, Trofimoff provided classified information to the Russians while employed in a civilian job in Nuremburg, Germany, from 1959 to 1994 following his military retirement. He allegedly was paid $250,000 for documents provided to KGB, and later, to SVR agents. According to the indictment, Trofimoff, who was raised in Germany by Russian émigré parents, was recruited by Igor Susemihl, a Russian Orthodox priest and Trofimoff’s boyhood friend. Trofimoff enlisted in the US Army in 1948 after his family moved to the United States, and he became a US citizen in 1951. He received a commission in the Army Reserve in 1953 and retired with the rank of colonel in 1987. During his military and civilian careers he held Secret or Top Secret security clearances, and in his civilian position, with the Army 66th Military Intelligence Group, he had access to a wide variety of classified materials including US intelligence needs and objectives. In or about 1969, Trofimoff was recruited into the service of the KGB by Susemihl, who at the time served as archbishop of Austria. Susemihl died in 1999. Trofimoff allegedly removed classified documents from the US Army Interrogation Center in Munich, photographed and returned the originals, and then passed the film to Susemihl or KGB agents during several meetings in Austria or southern Germany. It is believed that he turned over more than 50,000 pages of classified documents. Trofimoff and Susemihl had been arrested by German authorities for suspected espionage in 1994, but the case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. The investigation, however, was continued by US officials. In late 2000, Trofimoff, who had since retired to Florida, was approached by an FBI agent posing as a Russian officer who offered a “special payment” for additional information. Before his arrest at a Tampa hotel, Trofimoff met with undercover FBI agents several times and was videotaped fully admitting his past involvement in espionage. However, the retired Army employee pleaded not guilty on 26 June 2001, claiming that he was a loyal American who was just trying to collect some money to cover his debts. Trofimoff, the highest ranking US officer ever accused of spying, was convicted in June 2001 for his role in the 25-year espionage conspiracy after a four-week trial.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 27 September.

TSOU, DOUGLAS, a Chinese-born former FBI employee, was indicted in 1988 on one count of espionage following his admission that in 1986 he had written a letter to a representative of the government of Taiwan in which he revealed the identity of an intelligence officer of the People's Republic of China. According to testimony at the trial (which was delayed until October 1991), the unidentified agent operating in Taiwan had unsuccessfully approached the FBI with an offer to work as a double agent. Although the information Tsou passed to a Taiwanese representative in Houston was classified as Secret, Tsou claimed that he considered the information to be declassified since the offer was not accepted. Motivation for his acts of espionage was likely loyalty to government of Taiwan. Tsou fled to Taiwan when the communists rose to power on the mainland in 1949 and moved to the United States 20 years later where he became a naturalized citizen. He worked for the FBI from 1980 to 1986, first in San Francisco and later in Houston. On 4 October 1991, Tsou was found guilty as charged. However, prosecutors claimed that this represented only the tip of the iceberg of what Tsou gave to Taiwanese officials during his six years with the FBI. On 2 January 1992, Tsou was sentenced to a 10-year Federal prison term.

TUMANOVA, SVETLANA, a naturalized US citizen born in Estonia, worked as a secretary at the US Army Foreign Language Training Center in Munich. She married a Soviet émigré and her parents continued to live in the Soviet Union. In 1978 she was recruited by the Soviet foreign intelligence service to provide information through coercion based on threats against her parents. Arrested in 1987 by West German police, she was convicted of providing biographical information on personnel at the Language Center for nine years. She was sentenced to five years’ probation.

WALKER, ARTHUR JAMES, a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander, was arrested on 29 May 1985 for providing classified material to his brother in 1981 and 1982. Arthur Walker was employed with a defense contractor in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he reportedly sought work in early 1980 at the urging of his brother, John A. Walker, to gain access to classified documents. During the period of his employment, Arthur Walker provided his brother with several Confidential documents which related to ship construction and design. These were photocopied and returned to the firm's classified container. In all, Arthur Walker received $12,000 for his collaboration, much of which he returned to his brother to repay a debt. His motive for participating in John Walker’s scheme was both for money and to help this brother. On 9 August, he was found guilty of seven counts of espionage by a US District Court judge. On 12 November, Arthur Walker was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined $250,000. At the time of sentencing it was revealed that polygraph tests indicated Walker may have been involved in espionage while on active duty with the Navy.

WALKER, JOHN ANTHONY and his son, MICHAEL LANCE WALKER, were indicted 28 May 1985 by a Federal grand jury in Baltimore on six counts of espionage. The elder Walker, a retired Navy warrant officer who had held a Top Secret Crypto clearance, was charged with having sold classified material to Soviet agents for the past 18 years. During his military career, Walker made some investments in which he lost money. To make up for his losses, in late 1968 at the age of 30, Walker went to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, and offered his services for purposes of espionage. He compromised key cards used for enciphering messages and also provided information on the encryption devices themselves. At least a million classified messages of the military services and US intelligence agencies were compromised. A Soviet defector said the KGB considered this the most important operation in its history. Michael Walker, a petty officer assigned to the USS Nimitz, was accused of providing classified Navy documents to his father for sale to the Soviets. Fifteen pounds of classified material were in his possession at the time of arrest on the Nimitz. John Walker's arrest resulted from a tip to the FBI from his former wife. He was apprehended at a Maryland motel after depositing a number of documents at a roadside drop. Soviet Embassy official, Alexei Tkachenko, who was spotted in the area, returned to Moscow within days of Walker's arrest. It is also alleged that John Walker recruited his brother, Arthur James Walker, and former Navy friend, Jerry Alfred Whitworth, as sources of classified information for Soviet intelligence (see separate summaries for these cases). On 28 October, both John and Michael Walker pleaded guilty to espionage charges under a plea agreement by which the senior Walker agreed to testify in the trial of Jerry Whitworth and to provide full information on what was given to the Soviets in exchange for a lesser sentence for his son. On 6 November 1986, John Walker was sentenced to two life terms plus 10 years to be served concurrently. Michael was sentenced to 25 years. A Federal grand jury has been convened to pursue some of the unresolved questions including the location of up to $1 million possibly hidden by John Walker, and the involvement of minor players in the espionage ring.

WARREN, KELLY THERESE, a former US Army clerk, was arrested 10 June 1997 and named in a three-count indictment alleging her involvement in the passing of sensitive information to Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s, as a part of the CLYDE LEE CONRAD spy ring. Warren was charged with conspiracy to aid a foreign government and gathering or delivering classified national defense information. From 1986 to 1988 she had been assigned as an administrative assistant in the section that handled war plans for the Army’s 8th Infantry Division headquarters in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. In 1987 she was recruited into the Conrad ring by then coworker RODERICK JAMES RAMSAY. Among documents Warren gave to Conrad to pass to Hungarian and Czech agents were secret US and NATO plans for the defense of Western Europe in the event of a Soviet bloc attack. The indictment said that Warren met with Conrad on base, at a bowling alley and in a church in Bad Kreuznach, to trade cash for secrets. She earned only $7,000 for her efforts with which she claimed to have paid off debts, money being her motive. Federal agents had suspected her involvement for almost 10 years. According to a plea agreement, Warren pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage on 6 November 1998 and on 12 Februrary she was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Warren is the seventh US service member to be charged with taking part in the Conrad spy ring since 1988.

WHITWORTH, JERRY ALFRED, collaborator with JOHN A. WALKER, surrendered to FBI agents on 3 June 1985 following the issue of a complaint charging him with conspiracy to commit espionage. Whitworth, a retired Naval communications specialist who had held a Top Secret clearance, is alleged to have received $332,000 through Walker for highly classified information related to naval communications between 1975 and 1982. FBI sources state that Whitworth had attempted to arrange a meeting with them in 1984 in order to bargain for immunity from prosecution. According to one news item, of all the alleged participants in the Walker spy ring the damage attributed to Whitworth is thought to be the worst since he is reported to have provided the Soviets with key lists that would have enabled them to decode US Naval communications, and classified information about the design of cryptographic equipment. Whitworth pleaded innocent to a 13-count indictment, but during his subsequent trial, defense lawyers admitted that he had passed classified materials to John Walker. However, the argument that he did not know these highly classified cryptographic materials were ending up in Soviet hands was not accepted by the Federal jury. Following a highly publicized three-month trial, Whitworth was convicted on 12 counts of espionage and tax evasion. The former communications specialist received a sentence of 365 years and a fine of $410,000 on 28 August 1986.

WILMOTH, JAMES R., US Navy airman recruit, was a food service worker aboard the carrier USS Midway. He was arrested by Naval Investigative Service agents in Yokosuka in July 1989 for attempting to sell classified information to a Soviet agent in Japan, where the Midway is based. He was tried and convicted at a general military court-martial 24 September. In addition to attempted espionage, Wilmoth was convicted of failure to report a contact with a citizen of the Soviet Union, conspiracy to unlawfully transfer classified material, and possession, use and distribution of hashish. He was sentenced to 35 years at hard labor; however, since he cooperated in the investigation, his sentence was reduced to 15 years. He also received a dishonorable discharge, and was ordered to forfeit all his pay. He had been in the Navy for over two years and had a history of disciplinary problems including unauthorized leave of absence. Wilmoth did not have a security clearance. Classified information was procured by Petty Officer Third Class RUSSELL PAUL BROWN, also stationed aboard the Midway. Brown held a Secret security clearance and took classified documents obtained from the burn bag in the electronic warfare center of the Midway. He passed the documents to Wilmoth, who planned to exchange the documents for cash in an arrangement with a KGB operative in Japan. Brown was convicted in October of conspiracy to commit espionage and lying to Navy investigators. A military judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison, a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank from E-3 to E-1, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Motivation for the attempted sale to the Soviets was money.

WISPELAERE, JEAN-PHILIPPE, 28, while employed by the Australian Defense Intelligence Organization as an analyst, in 1999 downloaded hundreds of sensitive classified US military documents to his computer and removed the files from his office. He was cleared for access to Top Secret US information. These documents, reported to be related to US satellite reconnaissance, were provided to Australia under a defense sharing agreement. On 18 January, six days after his unexpected resignation from the Australian intelligence agency, Wispelaere, posing as a Canadian official, walked into the embassy of Singapore in Bangkok and offered to sell the classified documents. He left a sample classified document and his email address. The United States was alerted about the contact and set up a sting operation.  At a later meeting at a Bangkok hotel with undercover FBI agents, Wispelaere turned over 713 classified US documents maps and photos for $70,000 and subsequently mailed more than 200 items to a post office box in Virginia set up by the FBI for another $50,000.  At one point, Wispelaere told the agent that he was in “dire financial need” and that this “involved females.” He was lured to Virginia to accept another payment, and on 15 May 1999 was arrested at Dulles International Airport upon his arrival from London. He initially pleaded not guilty, but later entered into a plea agreement by which he was required to reveal all of his illegal activities. Sentencing was delayed when Wispelaere was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and for a time he was declared unfit to stand trial. On June 9, 2001, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after the government announced that he had lived up to the terms of the plea agreement.

WOLD, HANS PALMER was an Intelligence Specialist Third Class assigned to the USS Ranger when he asked for and was given leave from 13 June through 2 July 1983. The leave was granted with the understanding that Wold would stay in the local San Diego area, but around 2 July Wold's command received a message from the American Red Cross, Subic Bay, Philippines, in which Wold requested an extension of leave. Wold's request was granted for five additional days of leave. However, he failed to report for duty on 7 July and was listed as an unauthorized absentee. Wold's command then asked the Naval Investigative Service to locate him and turn him over to US Naval Forces in the Philippines at Subic Bay for appropriate debriefing. On 19 July 1983 Wold was picked up by NIS special agents at his fiancee's residence in Olongapo City, in the Philippines, for being absent without leave. During Wold's apprehension, an undeveloped roll of film was seized. During his debriefing Wold told an intelligence specialist that the roll of film had photographs from a Top Secret publication. Wold admitted he had covertly photographed the publication, “Navy Application of National Reconnaissance Systems (U),” while onboard the USS Ranger during June 1983, and intended to contact the Soviets. While he never did contact the Soviets, his motivation was to sell the materials for money. On 5 October 1983, Wold pleaded guilty at a general court-martial to unauthorized absence, using marijuana onboard the USS Ranger, false swearing, and “making photographs with intent or reason to believe information was to be used to the injury of the US or the advantage of a foreign nation.” Wold was sentenced to four years at hard labor, a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and reduction in rate to E-1.

WOLF, RONALD CRAIG, a former pilot in the Air Force from 1974 to 1981, was arrested 5 May 1989 in Dallas, Texas, for selling classified information to an FBI undercover officer posing as a Soviet agent. During his career in the Air Force, Wolf was trained as a Russian voice-processing specialist and flew intelligence missions on reconnaissance aircraft in the Far East. He held a Top Secret clearance. Discharged from the military in 1981 because of his unsuitability for service "due to financial irresponsibility,” he worked as an automobile salesman for a while, but was unemployed at the time of his arrest. The FBI's investigation began in March 1989, when information was obtained indicating Wolf's desire to sell sensitive information to the Soviet Union. Wolf talked with FBI undercover agent “Sergei Kitin” on a number of occasions thinking he was a representative of the Soviet Union assigned to the Soviet Embassy. During these conversations Wolf talked about his military experience and his desire to defect and provide Air Force secrets “for monetary gain and to get revenge for his treatment by the United States government.” He was directed to mail letters to a post office box in Maryland detailing the type of information he was capable of providing. Wolf passed along classified documents concerning Top Secret signals intelligence. The FBI says they are “confident there was no exchange of information (with foreign agents) in this case.” On 28 February 1990, Wolf pleaded guilty in Federal court. In return for his guilty plea, the government reduced the severity of the charges from life imprisonment to up to 10 years in prison. In June, Wolf was sentenced to 10 years without parole.

WOLFF, JAY CLYDE, 24-year-old auto painter and former Navy enlisted man, was arrested on 17 December 1984 in Gallup, New Mexico, for offering to sell classified documents dealing with US weapons systems aboard a US Navy vessel. Wolff, who was discharged from the Navy in 1983, met with an undercover agent and offered to sell classified material for $5,000 to $6,000. According to the FBI, a tip led to the meeting with Wolff at a convenience store where he was apprehended. Wolff pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to sell classified documents and on 28 June 1985 the former service member was sentenced to five years in prison.

ZAKHAROV, GENNADIY F., Soviet physicist employed at the United Nations Secretariat, was arrested on 23 August 1986 on a Queens, New York, subway platform as he gave $1,000 to an employee of a US defense contractor for three classified documents. Zakharov, who did not have diplomatic immunity, had attempted to recruit the employee over a period of three years. At the time of Zakharov's first approach, the individual, a Guyanese national and resident alien of the US, was in his junior year at Queens College, New York. Zakharov met with the student on numerous occasions and paid several thousand dollars for a wide range of technical but unclassified information about robotics, computers, and artificial intelligence. At the time of Zakharov's first approach in April 1983, the recruitment target, identified only by the code name “Birg,” informed the FBI and agreed to work under FBI control in order to apprehend the Soviet agent. Following his graduation in 1985, Birg obtained a position with a high-technology firm. Under FBI direction, he agreed to sign a 10-year written contract with Zakharov to provide classified information. Money to be paid by the Soviets was to be determined by the quantity and quality of the information. On 30 September, Zakharov pleaded no contest to espionage charges and was ordered to leave the country within 24 hours. Zakharov's expulsion came less than 24 hours after the release of American correspondent Nicholas Daniloff who had been arrested in the Soviet Union for alleged espionage activities.

ZEHE, ALFRED, an East German physicist and operative for East German intelligence, was arrested on 3 November 1983, the result of a successful sting operation. On 21 December 1981, Bill Tanner, a civilian engineer employed at the Naval Electronic Systems Engineering Center in Charleston, South Carolina, walked into the East German Embassy in Washington, DC, and offered to exchange classified information for money. Tanner was actually a double agent working under the control of the Naval Investigative Service and FBI. The FBI's target was the East German intelligence service, the Ministerium fuer Staatssicherheit (MfS): how it worked and what type of information it was looking for. Zehe was Tanner's primary contact. Zehe is reported to be the first East German operative apprehended in this country. In July 1984, Zehe was freed on $500,000 bail to await trial. He subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 4 April to eight years’ imprisonment with a fine of $5,000. In June 1985, Zehe was traded with three other Eastern Bloc agents for 25 persons who had “been helpful” to the United States.