OverviewPERSERECEspionage Cases1985

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1985

1985 - EDWARD OWEN BUCHANAN. In early May 1985, an Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) human source provided information that Airman Edward O. Buchanan, in training at Lowry AFB, Colorado, had been phoning the East German Embassy in Washington, DC. He reportedly wanted to know if embassy officials had received a letter he had sent in April 1985. According to the source, the letter contained an offer by Buchanan to commit espionage for the East German Government. Unsuccessful at making an East German contact, Buchanan then mailed a letter to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, fully identifying himself and stating that he had information of a scientific and technological nature that he wanted to sell to the Russian government. He indicated he would continue to conduct business with the Soviets if they liked his material. At this point AFOSI agents, posing as Soviet representatives, contacted Buchanan. Believing that he was doing business with Soviet intelligence officers, the Airman offered to commit espionage and sell classified documents. He then provided documents to the undercover AFOSI/FBI agents that he claimed were classified Secret and was paid $1,000. Buchanan was apprehended immediately. A later examination of the documents disclosed that they were copies of unclassified articles from an electronics magazine. During an interview following his arrest, Buchanan admitted contacting the East German Embassy and the Soviet Embassy for the purpose of committing espionage. Buchanan also admitted that, although he did not have access to classified information at that time (because of his student status), he planned to sell classified information once his clearance had been granted and he was assigned to a base in Germany. At the time he was being processed for a Top Secret - Special Compartmented Information clearance. His stated intention was to establish a business relationship with the Soviets by selling bogus material to “get my foot in the door” and then later sell classified information. He would then “sell as much classified material as he could until he made enough money to live comfortably.” Buchanan was court-martialed on 26 August 1985, and sentenced to 30 months’ confinement, reduction to Airman Basic, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.


1985 - LARRY WU-TAI CHIN, retired CIA employee, was arrested 22 November 1985 and accused of having carried out a 33-year career of espionage on behalf of the People's Republic of China. According to media reports, Chin, who retired in 1981 at 63, had been an intelligence officer in the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service. During his career, he held a Top Secret clearance and had access to a wide range of intelligence information. Born in Peking, Chin was recruited by communist intelligence agents while a college student in the early 1940s. He worked for the US Army Liaison Office in China in 1943 and later became a naturalized US citizen, joining the CIA in 1952. It is believed that he provided the PRC with many of the CIA's Top Secret reports on the Far East written over 20 years. Chin reportedly smuggled classified documents from his office, and between 1976 and 1982 gave photographs of these materials to Chinese couriers at frequent meetings in Toronto, Hong Kong, and London. He met with Chinese agents in the Far East up to March 1985, prior to his arrest in November. Chin may have received as much as $1 million for his complicity. He was indicted on 17 counts of espionage-related and income tax violations. It is reported that Chin was identified as a Chinese agent by a Chinese intelligence officer who defected to the US. At his trial which began on 4 February 1986, Chin admitted providing the Chinese with information over a period of 11 years, but he claimed he did so to further reconciliation between China and the US. On 8 February, Chin was convicted by a Federal jury on all counts. Sentencing had been set for 17 March; however, on 21 February the former CIA employee committed suicide in his cell.

Washington Post 24 Nov 1985, “Ex-CIA Employee Held as 33-Year China Spy”
New York Times 30 Nov 1985, “Huge Data Loss from China is Seen from Espionage”
Washington Post 6 Dec 1985, “Chin Believed Planted in US as Spy”
New York Times 11 Feb 1986, “C.I.A.’s Security was Lax, According to Convicted Spy”


1985 - STEPHEN DWAYNE HAWKINS, was serving in 1985 as a Quartermaster Third Class at the Commander Submarine Group 8 in Naples, Italy. A visitor to his home off base in June reported seeing a classified message there. Interviews with Hawkins by Naval Investigative Service agents and a series of polygraphs that showed deception resulted in Hawkins confessing that he had taken at least 17 Secret messages home with him and was considering selling them to a hostile intelligence service. He was convicted at general court-martial on 15 January 1986 of violating Article 92, wrongful removal of classified material and wrongful destruction of a classified message. He was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, one year in prison, and reduction in grade to E-1.

Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1985 - EDWARD LEE HOWARD, joined the CIA in 1981. In January 1982 he was assigned to the Soviet/East European Division for training as a case officer in Moscow. He had been given all the data needed to work in Moscow: names of agents, surveillance operations, and the identities of other CIA officers in the Soviet Union. Just as he was about to leave for Moscow in June 1983, he failed his polygraph tests on matters concerning marital relations, petty theft, drinking, and a pattern of past drug use. Asked to resign, he left bewildered and angry. He finally made contact with Soviet officials in Washington, DC, and arranged a meeting in Vienna. He met with KGB officers on three trips to Vienna between 1984 and 1985 and received payment for classified information. Meanwhile, he moved to New Mexico and began working for the New Mexico legislature as a budget analyst. According to news reports, Howard was one of several CIA employees identified by Soviet defector Vitaly Yurchenko as having sold classified information to the KGB. (Yurchenko also identified Ronald Pelton, former NSA employee, who later was arrested for espionage.) Although placed under surveillance by the FBI at his Albuquerque home, Howard, who had been trained by the CIA in surveillance and evasion tactics, eluded spotters and fled the country. He was followed by the FBI as he moved swiftly from country to country, traveling on his credit card and always ahead of the agents. On 7 August 1986, the Soviet news agency Tass announced that Howard had been granted political asylum in the USSR. He reportedly revealed to the KGB the identity of a valuable US intelligence source in Moscow. It is also reported that five American diplomats were expelled from the Soviet Union as personae non gratae as a result of information provided by Howard. He was the first CIA officer to defect to the USSR. He died in 2002 after falling down the steps of his dacha outside Moscow.

Washington Post 3 Oct 1985, “2 Ex-CIA Agents Sought by FBI as Possible Spies”
Washington Post 5 Oct 1985, “Affidavit Says Ex-CIA Agent Met High-Level KGB Officers”
Washington Post 20 May 1986, “The CIA Agent Who Sold Out”
Washington Post 18 Jul 1986, “5 American Diplomats Caught by KGB”
Newsday 26 Oct 1986, “Why Edward Lee Howard Sold Out for Money and Revenge”
Newsweek 23 May 1988, “The Spy Who Got Away”
NSI Advisory 1 Aug 2002, “CIA Defector Dies”
Minnick. W.L., Spies and Provocateurs, 1992


1985 - RANDY MILES JEFFRIES, messenger for a private stenographic firm in Washington, DC, was arrested on 14 December 1985 and charged with attempting to deliver national defense secrets to the Soviet Union. The firm, a cleared contractor facility, had transcribed closed hearings of the House Armed Services Committee. Jeffries allegedly provided Soviet military officials with at least 40 “sample pages” of Secret and Top Secret transcripts from congressional hearings, offering to hand over a complete package of three documents for $5,000. The investigation of Jeffries began after he was observed by US agents entering the Soviet Military Office in Washington. An FBI undercover agent posing as a Soviet representative contacted the messenger at his residence and arranged a meeting later in the day at a local hotel. Jeffries was arrested as he left the meeting. From 1978 to 1980, he was a support employee for the FBI and reportedly held an agency security clearance. In March 1983 he was convicted of possession of heroin and completed a program for rehabilitation from drug abuse in July 1985. Jeffries entered a plea of guilty on 23 January 1986. On 13 March, Jeffries was sentenced by a Federal judge to from three to nine years’ imprisonment. As stated by the court at the time of sentencing, it was obvious that poor security practices at the cleared facility were major contributing factors leading to the loss of classified information.

Washington Post 22 Dec 1985, “FBI Agent Says Suspected Spy Offered to Sell Him Document”
Washington Post 24 Dec 1985, “Transcripts Tied to Jeffries Had Strategic Data”
DoD Security Institute, Security Awareness Bulletin, No. 2-90, January 1990, “The Case of Randy Miles Jeffries and Acme Reporting”


1985 - RONALD WILLIAM PELTON, communications specialist with the National Security Agency for 14 years, was identified as a spy for the Soviet Union based on facts provided by a defector. He was arrested in Annapolis, MD, on 25 November 1985. During his employment at NSA, Pelton had access to information on a wide range of highly classified projects. He was said to be a highly skilled technician and fluent in the Russian language but a poor manager of his personal finances. Three months before resigning from his agency, Pelton declared personal bankruptcy, listing debts of over $65,000. While at NSA he expressed hostility toward the agency and dissatisfaction with his position. Failing at several subsequent jobs and with only a few hundred dollars in the bank, Pelton walked into the Soviet Embassy in January 1980 and offered his services to the KGB for money. He was debriefed at length and provided highly classified information about US intelligence collection locations. He also made several trips to Vienna, Austria, to speak with Soviet agents. According to reports in the media, no documents were passed by Pelton; however, former coworkers stated that he had an excellent memory and an encyclopedic knowledge of intelligence activities carried out by the agency. He allegedly received $35,000 from the Soviets between 1980 and 1983 for information about classified US intelligence collection programs targeting the Soviet Union. In July 1985, the KGB colonel who had initial contact with Pelton in Washington, DC, Vitaly Yurchenko, defected to the US and provided information that led to his prosecution. At the time of his arrest, Pelton admitted selling intelligence information to the Soviet Union. He was indicted 20 December 1985 on six counts related to espionage. Despite his statement at the time of arrest, Pelton pleaded not guilty. Following a highly publicized trial, he was convicted on 5 June 1986 on one count of conspiracy and two counts of espionage. On 6 December 1986 Pelton was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences.

Washington Post 26 Nov 1985, “FBI Says Spy Suspect Admits Selling Data”
New York Times 28 Nov 1985, “Ex-Security Agency Employee Said to Have Admitted Spying”
Washington Post 7 Dec 1985, “Accused Spy Ronald Pelton Was Preoccupied with Money”
Washington Post 6 Jun 1986, “Pelton Spy Case Chronology”


1985 - JONATHAN JAY POLLARD, a civilian counterintelligence analyst at the Anti-Terrorist Alert Center at the Naval Investigative Service in Suitland, MD, and his wife, ANNE HENDERSON-POLLARD, were apprehended on 21 November 1985 outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, as they vainly sought political asylum with hope of fleeing the country. Both were charged under the espionage code for selling classified documents to an Israeli intelligence unit for $50,000. It is reported that Pollard's detection resulted from tips from fellow employees that the accused was seeking and copying more classified documents than his job required. His pattern of taking documents away from the office was noted by a supervisor. Confronted with evidence of his activities by the NCIS and the FBI on 15 November, Pollard admitted delivering classified documents to a foreign government agent. He was originally ideologically motivated to pass classified information, but that motivation was later clouded by monetary considerations. The couple had begun to lead a luxurious lifestyle based on their monthly retainer from Israel of $2,500. They visited Israel and Europe several times at the expense of the Israeli government and on one of these trips were married in Vienna, Austria. While at Stanford University in 1976, Pollard is reported to have boasted to friends about working for the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence agency. Pollard’s claim to involvement with Israeli intelligence never emerged during the course a background investigation when he applied for a Top Secret security clearance. Anne Henderson-Pollard was accused of intending to sell to representatives of the Peoples Republic of China documents related to the US analysis of China's intelligence operations in this country. A suitcase found in their residence was filled with Top Secret documents relating to military capabilities of foreign countries. On 4 June 1986, Pollard and his wife pleaded guilty to espionage and related charges under a plea agreement with Federal officials. Four Israeli nationals were later named as unindicted co-conspirators. On 4 March 1987 Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment. Several attempts by special interest groups to obtain a parole for Pollard have failed. Anne Henderson-Pollard received a five-year term.

New York Times 28 Nov 1985, “F.B.I. Man Says Naval Analyst Told of Spying”
Washington Post 4 Dec 1985, “FBI Seeking Pollard Contact Identity”
Washington Post 5 Jun 1986, “Ex-Analyst Pollard Pleads Guilty to Spying”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1985 - SHARON MARIE SCRANAGE, operations support assistant for the CIA stationed in Ghana and her Ghanaian boyfriend, MICHAEL SOUSSOUDIS, were charged on 11 July 1985 with turning over classified information, including the identities of CIA agents and informants, to Ghanaian intelligence officials. It is reported that a routine polygraph test given to Scranage on her return to the US aroused CIA suspicions. Following an internal investigation, Scranage agreed to cooperate with the FBI in order to arrest Soussoudis, a business consultant and permanent resident of the US. According to one report, damaging information on CIA intelligence collection activities is likely to have been passed on by pro-Marxist Kojo Tsikata, head of Ghanaian intelligence, to Cuba, Libya, East Germany and other Soviet Bloc nations. Scranage was likely encouraged to pass along these documents by Soussoudis with whom she was intimately friendly. Indicted on 18 counts of providing classified information to a foreign country, Scranage subsequently pleaded guilty to one count under the espionage code and two counts of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Fifteen remaining charges were dropped. On 26 November Scranage was sentenced to five years in prison. (This was later reduced to two years.) At the same time Soussoudis, who had been charged with eight counts of espionage, pleaded nolo contendere and was sentenced to 20 years. His sentence was suspended on the condition that he leave the US within 24 hours.

Washington Post 12 Jul 1985, “CIA Aide, Ghanaian Face Spy Counts”
Washington Post 14 Jul 1985, “Routine Polygraph Opened Ghanaian Espionage Probe”
Washington Post 20 Jul 1985, “FBI Says Spying Occurred After CIA Order on Ghanaian”


1985 - MICHAEL TIMOTHY TOBIAS, 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, an NSA 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.

New York Times 15 Aug 1985, “Sailor is Guilty of Conspiring to Sell Secret Data from Ship”
New York Times 13 Nov 1985, “Sailor Sentenced to 20 Years for Trying to Sell 11 Navy Codes”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1985 - ARTHUR JAMES WALKER, 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 that 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 1985, 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.

Washington Post 7 Aug 1985, “Two Portraits of Arthur Walker: Subversive Plotter”
Washington Post 10 Aug 1985, “Walker Guilty of Espionage on 7 Counts”
Time Magazine 19 Aug 1985, “A Spy Ring Goes to Court”
New York Times 13 Nov 1985, “Arthur Walker Sentenced to Life; Wider Spying Role”


1985 - JOHN ANTHONY WALKER, 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.

New York Times 21 May 1985, “Ex-Navy Officer Is Charged With Espionage”
Washington Post 22 May 1985, “Spy Suspect's Son Queried”
Washington Post 16 Aug 1985, “Lawyers Admit Walker Left Bag”
Washington Post 29 Oct 1985, “2 Walkers Plead Guilty to Spying”
Washington Post 7 Nov 1986, “Walker Gets Life Term; Judge to Oppose Parole”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1985 - JERRY ALFRED WHITWORTH, 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.

Washington Post 4 Jun 1985, “4th Arrested in Spy Case”
Washington Post 8 Jun 1985, “Agent Believes Sailor Said He Passed Data”
Washington Post 14 Jun 1985, “Accused Spy ‘A Quiet Man’”


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