OverviewPERSERECEspionage Cases1993-95

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1993 - 1995

1995 - JOHN DOUGLAS CHARLTON, retired Lockheed Corporation engineer, was arrested on 25 May 1995 for attempting to sell secret documents removed from the company at the time of his retirement. According to an Assistant US Attorney, the plans concerned the Sea Shadow, a Navy stealth project and the Captor Project related to mines that release anti-submarine torpedoes. According to the 10-point espionage indictment, Charlton tried to sell the information to an FBI agent posing as a foreign government representative. Five times between July and September 1993, Charlton attempted to sell the secrets for $100,000 to the undercover agent. Charlton joined Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California, in 1980 as a research specialist and left the company under an early retirement program in 1989, but heapparently was disgruntled about the circumstances of his departure. At the time of his retirement he took with him several classified documents outlining US defense projects. A search of his Lancaster, California, residence turned up a cache of illegal guns and the classified documents. Following a plea agreement on 17 October, Charlton pleaded guilty to selling two classified schematic drawings related to the antisubmarine program. He admitted knowing that the Captor Project information that the former engineer attempted to sell to what he believed to be a French official was highly classified. According to the prosecuting attorney, "The documents would have enabled any nation to discover some of the workings of the program." On 8 April 1996, Charlton was sentenced to two years in Federal prison and fined $50,000 for his guilty plea to two counts of attempted transfer of defense information. He will be placed on five years’ probation after his release. He is not eligible for parole.

Los Angeles Times 26 May 1995, "Ex-Aerospace Worker Indicted In Spy Case"
Antelope Valley Press 18 Oct 1995, "Valley Man Pleads Guilty To Attempted Espionage"
Los Angeles Times 10 Apr 1996, "Retired Engineer Gets 2 Years in Defense Espionage Case"


1995 - SUBRAHMANYAM KOTA, and ALURU J. PRASAD. On 8 October 1995, Indian businessman, Aluru J. Prasad, and 10 days later, software engineer Subrahmanyan Kota, were arrested and detained for their involvement in a spy ring that sold highly sensitive defense technology to the KGB between 1985 and 1990. Prasad, a wealthy Indian national who frequently visited the US, was alleged to have been an agent of the KGB. Kota, a naturalized US citizen, was president of the Boston Group computer consulting firm. According to an FBI affidavit, the pair met Russian agents in Bermuda, Portugal, Switzerland, and other foreign locations and at these meetings passed classified defense information. At the time of their indictment, it was revealed that Kota and another conspirator, Vemuri Reddy, had been arrested the previous December by FBI agents who were posing as Russian intelligence agents, to whom they had attempted to sell (for $300,000) micro-organisms used in the production of a high-tech drug. Beginning in 1989, Prasad plotted with Kota of Northborough, Massachusetts, and other unnamed persons to obtain classified technology from a network defense contractor employee. Prasad and Kota specifically sought information about mercury cadmium telluride missile detectors, radar-absorbing coating used on stealth fighters and bombers, and semiconductor components used in infrared missile-tracking systems. According to their indictment, the two received $100,000 for information about each project. On 29 October 1996, former KGB intelligence officer Vladimir Galkin was arrested as he attempted to enter the US at Kennedy Airport in New York. Galkin was alleged to have been Kota and Prasad’s contact with the KGB and met with Kota in Cyprus beginning in late 1990. Although Galkin had not committed espionage on American soil, he was charged for his involvement in the conspiracy. In June 1996, under a plea agreement, Kota pleaded guilty to selling stolen biotech material and evasion of income taxes and agreed to testify against Prasad. He admitted that he was paid a total of $95,000 by Prasad and his alleged KGB colleagues. Prasad’s first trial ended in a mistrial; however, in a second trial in December 1996 he was convicted of espionage charges. Under a plea agreement Prasad was sentenced to the 15 months he had served awaiting his trial and agreed to return to India. On 13 November, accused KGB intelligence agent Vladimir Galkin was released.

Boston Globe 19 Oct 1995, “Northborough Man Charged With Espionage”
Boston Globe 12 Jun 1996, “A Post-Cold War Spy Story Comes to Life”
Washington Times 5 Nov 1996, Computer Check of Visa at Airport IDs Spy Suspect”


1995 - MICHAEL STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, US Navy Lieutenant Commander, was charged with passing Department of Defense classified documents and computer diskettes to Saudi naval officers between November 1992 and September 1994 while assigned to a US military training mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Schwartz, a naval surface warfare officer who served in the Gulf War, was charged with four counts of espionage on 23 May 1995. He is also charged with five counts of violating Federal regulations for allegedly removing classified material to his residence. The charges resulted from a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation which began in September 1994. The documents allegedly included classified messages to foreign countries, military intelligence digests, intelligence advisories, and tactical intelligence summaries classified up to the Secret (Noforn) level. There is no indication that Schwartz received any money for the materials; according to a media report, Schwartz was attempting to be helpful to the Saudis because of US-Saudi cooperation during the Gulf War. On 14 October, Schwartz agreed to a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid a court-martial and possible imprisonment. According to the agreement, in November 1995, Schwartz received an "other than honorable" discharge and lost all retirement benefits and other military privileges.

Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk VA) 25 May 1995, "Officer Spied for Saudis, Navy Says"
Washington Jewish Week 1 Jun 1995, "Navy Officer Arrested on Charges of Espionage"
Washington Post 13 Sep 1995, "Norfolk Naval Officer Faces Court-Martial in Espionage Case"
Virginian-Pilot 14 Oct 1995, "Navy Officer Accused of Spying Gives U Retirement Benefits"


1994 - ALDRICH HAZEN AMES, CIA intelligence officer and his Colombian-born wife MARIA DEL ROSARIO CASAS AMES, were arrested 21 February 1994, after various attempts since 1985 to identify a mole in the CIA. The arrests followed a 10-month investigation that focused on Rick Ames. He was charged with providing highly classified information to the Soviet KGB and later, to its successor, the Russian SVR, over a nine-year period. From 1983 to 1985, Ames had been assigned to the counterintelligence unit in the agency's Soviet/East European Division, where he was responsible for directing the analysis of Soviet intelligence operations. In this capacity he would have known about any penetration of the Soviet military or the KGB. According to press reports, the trail that led to the arrest of Ames and his wife began in 1987 after the unexplained disappearance or deaths of numerous US intelligence sources overseas. According to court documents, Ames' information allowed the Russians to close down at least 100 intelligence operations and led to the execution of the agents in Russia that he betrayed. Despite reports of alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, and repeated security violations, Ames was promoted into positions at the CIA that allowed him to steal increasingly sensitive information while he was spying for the Soviets. Facing alimony payments and the financial demands of his new wife, Rosario, in April 1985 Ames decided to get money by volunteering to spy for the Russians. He first contacted the KGB by dropping a note at the Soviet Embassy. Over his nine years of espionage activity, he removed bags of documents from CIA facilities, without challenge, and deposited them at dead drops around Washington or met his handlers at meetings around the world. Ames reportedly received up to $2.5 million from the Russians over this period of time. Reports of the couple's high-rolling life style included the cash purchase of a half-million dollar home, credit card bills of $455,000, and a new Jaguar sports car. But despite his unexplained affluence, Ames’ story that his wife had wealthy relatives in Colombia satisfied doubts about his income for years, until a CIA counterintelligence investigator finally checked the cover story with sources in Colombia. A search of Ames' office uncovered 144 classified intelligence reports not related to his current assignment in CIA's Counternarcotics Center. The Director of Central Intelligence reported to Congress that Ames’ espionage caused “severe, wide-ranging, and continuing damage to US national security interests,” making Ames one of the most damaging spies in US history. He provided the Soviets, and later the Russians, with the identities of 10 US clandestine agents (at least nine of whom were executed), the identities of many US agents run against the Russians, methods of double agent operations and communications, details on US counterintelligence operations, identities of CIA and other intelligence personnel, technical collection activities, analytic techniques, and intelligence reports, arms control papers, and the cable traffic of several federal departments. On 28 April 1994, Aldrich Ames and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and to evading taxes. Ames was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Under the plea agreement, Maria Rosario Ames was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for conspiring to commit espionage and evading taxes on $2.5 million obtained by her husband for his illegal activities.

New York Times 22 Feb 1994, “Ex-Branch Leader of C.I.A. is Charged as a Russian Agent”
Washington Post 23 Feb 1994, “CIA Officer Charged With Selling Secrets”
Washington Post 25 Feb 1994, “Accused Couple Came From Different Worlds”
U.S. Senate Select Committee 1 Nov 1994, “An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and on Intelligence Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence”
Washington Post 27 Dec 1994, "Ames Says CIA Does Not Believe He Has Told All"
Washington Post 11 Jun 1995, “The Man Who Sold the Secrets”
Los Angeles Times 22 Oct 1994, "Wife of CIA Double Agent Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison"


1993 - JEFFERY EUGENE GREGORY, a US Army Staff Sergeant was arrested 29 April 1993 at Fort Richardson, Alaska, resulting from a joint investigation between the FBI and the US Army Intelligence and Security Command. Gregory was one of several members of a spy ring operating out of the 8th Infantry Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, in the mid-1980s that sold US and NATO military secrets to Hungary and Czechoslovakia when those countries were in the Soviet Bloc. German authorities convicted the ring-leader, former US Army sergeant CLYDE LEE CONRAD, of high treason in 1990 and sentenced him to life in prison. In 1991, another ring member RODERICK JAMES RAMSAY, also a former Army sergeant stationed in Bad Kreuznach, was sentenced to 36 years in prison by an American court for his involvement in the network. Clyde Conrad recruited Ramsay who is believed to have then recruited others, including Gregory. According to the Federal complaint against Gregory, while assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany from March 1984 to October 1986, “he helped procure extremely sensitive, classified documents relating to national defense, for transmittal to one or more foreign powers.” At that time, Gregory was a staff driver at Bad Kreuznach, West Germany, and helped maintain the commanding general's mobile command center. He was also in charge of updating maps showing military maneuvers and had access to classified messages and correspondence. According to an FBI official, Gregory once took a military flight bag stuffed with 20 pounds of classified documents. The documents included “war plans” for the US and NATO. On 28 March 1994, Gregory pleaded guilty to espionage charges. In June, 1994, Gregory, along with Sgt. JEFFREY STEPHEN RONDEAU, another member of the espionage ring, was sentenced by a military court to 18 years in prison.

New York Times 2 May 1993, “Fourth Army Sergeant Held in Espionage Case”
Huntsville Times 2 May 1993, “4th Army Sgt. Arrested in Alleged Espionage Ring in Germany”


1993 - FREDERICK CHRISTOPHER HAMILTON, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, pleaded guilty on 5 February 1993 to the charge of passing to Ecuadorian officials classified US intelligence reports evaluating the military readiness of Peruvian security forces. At the time, Hamilton was a DIA research technician in the defense attaché’s office in Lima, Peru, a post which he held from 1989 to 1991. He apparently believed that the disclosures could help avert a possible conflict between the two countries. Peru and Ecuador have been disputing territory (sometimes violently) along their mutual border for the past 50 years. Hamilton holds advanced degrees in Spanish and Portuguese. At the time of his arrest, he was employed as a language instructor at a military academy in Virginia. His activities were uncovered by US intelligence agencies after they received information from a confidential source indicating secrets were being leaked. Hamilton, who held a Top Secret security clearance while with the DIA, met Ecuadorian representatives in their embassy in Lima on 13 February and 20 May of 1991. He passed extremely sensitive information that disclosed US intelligence operations and the identity of US sources in the region. “He didn't get any money,” said a US official. “He was a very naive individual who was flattered by the [Ecuadorians].” Hamilton's attorney stated that, “What he thought he was trying to do was prevent a war... The purpose of disclosing the documents that he did was to show the country that was concerned about being attacked that the other country had neither the intent nor the ability to attack.” Hamilton reportedly passed five Secret intelligence reports and orally disclosed the contents of four other classified reports. Under a court agreement, the former DIA employee pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawfully communicating classified information to a foreign country. The agreement specifies Hamilton may not appeal the sentence and the Justice Department will not prosecute him for espionage-related crimes. On 16 April, he was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

Washington Post 6 Feb 1993, “Va. Man Pleads Guilty to Leaking US Secrets”
Washington Times 6 Feb 1993, “Ex-DIA Official Pleads Guilty in Document Leak"


1993 - GENEVA JONES, a secretary with a Top-Secret clearance in the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, was arrested 3 August 1993 and indicted 31August for theft of government property and transmission of defense information to unauthorized persons. FBI agents say she smuggled classified documents for two years to her friend, West African journalist DOMINIC NTUBE, indicted at the same time. Jones was carrying classified government documents with her at the time of arrest. Agents who searched Ntube's Washington, DC, apartment after his arrest on 4 August found thousands of classified cables and 39 CIA documents marked Secret, including documents relating to US military operations in Somalia and Iraq. Some of the material apparently made its way to West African magazines, which had been publishing classified State Department cables for several months. Agents indicated they wire-tapped Jones' phone after several classified US documents were found 10 months earlier in the West African command post of Charles Taylor, leader of a violent movement to overthrow the Liberian government. Ntube reportedly faxed 14 documents he received from Jones to the Liberian rebels. The former State Department employee told the FBI she had been giving Ntube classified cables for about 18 months. In a preliminary hearing, the FBI testified that agents watched her on 16 occasions take documents from the department and hide them in newspapers or a grocery bag. During the month she was under surveillance, she allegedly took more than 130 classified documents from her office. On 31 August, Ntube was indicted with Jones for receiving stolen property and for transmitting national defense information to unauthorized persons. In June 1994, Jones pleaded guilty to 21 counts of theft and two counts relating to the unlawful communication of national defense information. In delivering a sentence of 37 months in prison (longer than what the prosecution had asked), US District Judge Harold H. Greene stated, "Somebody would have to be a complete moron not to know that when you work for the State Department you can't take documents out and give them to anybody."

Washington Post 5 Aug 1993, “FBI Arrests Two in Theft of State Dept. Documents”
Washington Post 31 Aug 1993, “Two Indicted in Theft of State Department Documents”


1993 - YEN MEN KAO, a Chinese national, residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, was arrested on 3 December 1993, after a six-year investigation into a spy ring that sought secrets on advanced naval weapons and technology. According to an official statement, Kao “and several other Chinese nationals” conspired to illegally procure and export classified and embargoed high-technology military items. Kao was also charged with violating US immigration laws. Targeted for illegal export were the Navy's MK 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) Torpedo, two F 404-400 General Electric jet engines used to power the Navy's F/A-18 Hornet fighter, and fire-control radar for the F-16 Falcon jet. Although these systems were not delivered to China, Kao was able to transfer embargoed oscillators used in satellites for which Kao paid an FBI informant $24,000 as part of a sting operation. On 22 December, an immigration judge ordered Yen Men Kao's deportation to Hong Kong for overstaying his visa and for “committing acts of espionage against the United States.” A decision was made not to prosecute to avoid offending the Chinese government and to protect counterintelligence sources and methods that might have been disclosed in court. Kao, who reportedly owned two Chinese restaurants in Charlotte, had been under FBI surveillance for several years. During this time he met and received instructions from Chinese intelligence agents who offered him $2 million to obtain US weapons technology. According to one Federal official, Kao had a gambling problem and lost money supplied by his Chinese handlers. Fearing reprisal from the Chinese as well as the US, he requested deportation to Hong Kong rather than mainland China. Kao left behind his wife, a naturalized US citizen, and two children.

Los Angeles Times 5 Dec 1993, “FBI Arrests Chinese National in Spy Ring Investigation”
Washington Times 22 Dec 1993, “Spy Sting Gets Chinese Man Deported”


1993 - STEVEN JOHN LALAS, a former State Department communications officer stationed with the embassy in Athens, was arrested in Northern Virginia on 3 May 1993 and charged with passing sensitive military information to Greek officials. Although Lalas originally claimed that he had been recruited by a Greek military official in 1991 and feared for the welfare of relatives living in Greece were he not to cooperate, authorities later stated that he began spying for the Greek government in 1977 when he was with the US Army. It is estimated that he passed 700 highly classified documents, including papers dealing with plans and readiness for US military strategy in the Balkans and a US assessment of Greece's intentions toward the former Yugoslavia. Athens was Lalas' fourth communications posting with the State Department. He had previously served in Belgrade, Istanbul, and in Taiwan. During his espionage career he earned a steady income stealing, then selling, DIA reports about troop strength, political analyses and military discussions contained in cables between the US Embassy in Athens and the White House, FBI communications about counterterrorism efforts, and the names and job descriptions of CIA agents stationed overseas. Greek handlers allegedly paid him $20,000 to provide about 240 documents from 1991 to 1993. The government first learned of the espionage activities in February 1993, when an official of the Greek Embassy in Washington made a statement to a State Department officer indicating that he knew the contents of a Secret communication from the US Embassy in Athens to the State Department. Lalas was later identified (through a video monitoring system) stealing documents intended for destruction. In June 1993 Lalas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage and on 16 September was sentenced to 14 years in Federal prison without possibility of parole. Prosecutors had recommended the 14-year sentence in return for Lalas' promise to reveal what documents he turned over and to whom. The full extent of his espionage activity was revealed prior to sentencing only after he failed two FBI polygraph examinations. Lalas is of Greek descent, but was born in the US.

Washington Post 4 May 1993, “Va. Arrest Made in a Spy Case From Greece”
New York Times 4 May 1993, “Am. Employee at Embassy in Athens Arrested as Possible Spy”
New York Times 6 May 1993, “US Embassy Employee Sold Secrets to Greeks, F.B.I. Says”
Washington Post 16 Sep 1993, “A 14-Year Sentence for Selling Secrets”


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