OverviewPERSERECEspionage Cases1983

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1983

1983 - WALDO H. DUBBERSTEIN, retired DIA employee and associate of convicted arms smuggler Edwin P. Wilson, was indicted on 28 April 1983 on charges of selling US military secrets to Libya. The following day Dubberstein was found dead; his death was later ruled a suicide. Had he been convicted of espionage and of other charges against him, including conspiracy and bribery, Dubberstein would have faced a possible sentence of 57 years and $80,000 in fines. Dubberstein had apparently begun his cooperation with Libya as an outgrowth of meetings with an old CIA friend, Edwin P. Wilson, who acted as a middleman for passage of information to Libya and receipt of payments to Dubberstein.

Washington Post 8 May 1983, “The Last Battle of an Old War Horse”
Time 9 May 1983, “Beyond Justice: An Accused Spy is Dead”


1983 - ROBERT WADE ELLIS, Navy Petty Officer, stationed at the Naval Air Station, Moffett Field, California, reportedly contacted the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco, with an offer to sell classified documents for $2,000. Ellis, who had clearly wanted to make money by his espionage activities, was arrested in February 1983 while attempting to sell documents to an undercover FBI agent. He was convicted at a general court-martial for unauthorized disclosure of classified information and was sentenced to three years’ confinement.


1983 - JAMES DURWARD HARPER, a Silicon Valley freelance electrical engineer, was arrested 15 October 1983 for selling large quantities of classified documents to Polish intelligence for a reported sum of $250,000. Harper, who did not hold a clearance, acquired classified material through his wife, RUBY SCHULER. Schuler was employed as secretary to the president of Systems Control, Inc. of Palo Alto, a defense contractor engaged in research on ballistic missiles. She allowed Harper to come into the Systems Control offices on weekends and at night to copy documents that were subsequently passed to Polish intelligence agents. Between July 1979 and November 1981, Harper conducted a total of a dozen meetings with Polish agents in Europe and Mexico at which he turned over documents related to the Minuteman ICBM and ballistic missile research. While Harper seems to have been motivated by money, Schuler passed along classified documents in an effort to please Harper. Less than three weeks before she died, Schuler told a close friend: “There is a reason that Jim and I got married that only he and I know. I can’t tell you or anyone else and I never will.” In September 1981 Harper, beginning to regret his behavior, attempted to bargain for immunity from prosecution by anonymously contacting the CIA through a lawyer. Schuler died in June 1983 of complications related to alcoholism. Harper, who eventually pleaded guilty to six counts of espionage, received a life sentence on 14 May 1984.

Washington Post 18 Oct 1983, “KGB Intelligence ‘Windfall'”
Time Magazine 31 Oct 1983, “For Love of Money and Adventure”
DoD Security Institute, Security Awareness Bulletin, No. 4-84, August 1984, “Partners in Espionage: The Case of James Harper and Ruby Louise Schuler”


1983 - PENYU B. KOSTADINOV, a commercial counselor at the Bulgarian Commercial Office in New York, was arrested in December 1983 at a New York restaurant as he exchanged a sum of money for classified material. Kostadinov had attempted to recruit a graduate student who had access to documents related to nuclear energy. The unnamed American agreed to work under FBI control to apprehend the agent. One of Kostadinov's official functions was to arrange for exchange students between Bulgaria and the US. Although Kostadinov claimed diplomatic immunity at the time of his arrest, this was later denied by a Federal court. In June 1985, Kostadinov was swapped along with three other Soviet Bloc agents for 25 persons who had “been helpful” to the US.

New York Times 24 Sep 1983, “Bulgarian Charged as Spy”
Washington Post 25 Sep 1983, “Bulgarian Man Arraigned”


1983 - YURIY P. LEONOV, a lieutenant colonel in Soviet military intelligence (GRU), fronting as a Soviet air force attaché, was apprehended on 18 August 1983 after receiving 60 pounds of government documents from an editor working under FBI control. The following day Leonov, who had diplomatic immunity, was declared persona non grata and expelled from the country. This ended a two-year recruitment attempt by Leonov against Armand B. Weiss, an editor of technical publications and former government consultant. Weiss had previously held a Top Secret clearance. In all, Leonov paid Weiss $1,800 for sensitive but unclassified publications on weapon systems. Ultimately, Leonov demanded a classified document. Under FBI direction, Weiss provided the item with a large number of highly technical publications for $500 cash. Leonov was arrested by agents waiting outside the office.

Washington Post 16 Sep 1983, “Soviet Military Spy Caught in FBI Trap”


1983 - JOHN RAYMOND MAYNARD, Navy Seaman, while on unauthorized absence, was found to have 51 Top Secret documents in his personal locker. Until the time of his arrest in August 1983, Maynard was assigned to the staff of the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet in Hawaii as an intelligence specialist. He was convicted at a general court-martial for wrongfully removing classified material and was sentenced to 10 years’ confinement. Maynard's sentence was later reduced to three years.


1983 - FRANCISCO DE ASSIS MIRA, an Air Force computer specialist stationed in Germany, was charged in April 1983 with providing classified defense information to East Germany. Mira, a naturalized American born in Spain, and two West German accomplices sold information on American codes and radar to the East German State Security Service. In August 1982, while assigned to duties at a US air base at Birkenfeld, West Germany, Mira photographed the cover and random pages of code books and maintenance schedules of air defense radar installations. He processed the photos, with the help of his girlfriend, and asked two local minor drug dealers to carry the material to East Germany and attempt to make contact with the KGB. They made several trips between September 1982 and March 1983, each time passing information provided by Mira, and were paid between $1,136 and $1,515 per visit. Realizing he was in over his head and feeling used by his accomplices, Mira sought to extricate himself from a bad situation. In March 1983, Mira went to the AFOSI and related what he had done, not realizing how thorough the investigative process would be. Under questioning, Mira claimed that he wanted to become a double agent and that he “wanted to show the Air Force I could do more with my intelligence.” But in subsequent interviews he admitted he had originated the idea to commit espionage to make some money, and enlisted the two West Germans to assist him. He was disgruntled because he had not gotten the assignment he had wanted. In August 1984 Mira was dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 10 years’ confinement. Under a plea bargain he served only seven years of the sentence.

Stars and Stripes 29 Aug 1984, “Airman is Sentenced for Spy Activities”


1983 - JEFFERY LORING PICKERING. On 7 June 1983, an individual using the name Christopher Eric Loring entered the Naval Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, acting very erratic and stating that he possessed a large quantity of “secret documents vital to the security of our country.” The individual was in possession of one plastic addressograph card imprinted with the address of the Soviet Embassy, Washington, DC. During permissive searches of his car and residence by Naval Investigative Service agents, four government-marked envelopes containing classified microfiche and 147 microfiche cards containing a variety of classified defense publications were located. Through investigation, the individual was identified as Jeffery Loring Pickering, who had previously served in the US Marine Corps. During his Marine enlistment, he was described as a thief, thrill seeker, and a perpetual liar. Pickering left the Marines in August 1973, but became dissatisfied with civilian life and began efforts to re-enlist in the military. Pickering assumed an alias, Christopher Eric Loring, hid the facts of his prior Marine Corps affiliation, and enlisted in the US Navy on 23 January 1979. During interrogation, Pickering admitted stealing the classified material from the ship's office of the USSFanning between July and October 1982. Pickering likewise expressed an interest in the KGB, and said he fantasized about espionage. He ultimately admitted mailing a five-page Secret document to the Soviet Embassy, Washington, DC, along with a typed letter offering additional classified material to the Soviet Union. On 3 October 1983, Pickering pleaded guilty at a general court-martial to several violations including espionage. Pickering was convicted and sentenced to five years at hard labor, forfeiture of $400 per month for 60 months, reduction to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge.

Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1983 - HANS PALMER WOLD, 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.

Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1983 - ALFRED ZEHE, 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.

New York Times 4 Nov 1983, “East German Held in Espionage Case”
New York Times 5 Nov 1983, “East German is Denied Bail”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


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