OverviewPERSERECEspionage Casesnavy1

Return to  HOME  DATES  NAMES  ORGANIZATIONS

Navy 1978 - 1984

1981 - STEPHEN ANTHONY BABA, an ensign in the US Navy, was arrested on 1 October 1981 for sending a classified electronic warfare document and two microfilm indices of key code words to the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. He reportedly asked for an initial payment of $50,000 for the material. Other charges against Baba at the time included armed robbery, extortion, and assault. Baba mailed the documents from his frigate, the USS Lang, in September 1981, while stationed at San Diego. The South African Embassy returned the unsolicited materials to US officials. In court testimony it was asserted that Baba had attempted to sell documents to raise money for his fiancee in the Philippines so that she could attend college. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced 20 January 1982 by court-martial to eight years of hard labor.

New York Times 4 Dec 1981, “Ensign is Accused in Navy Spy Case”
Washington Post 21 Jan 1982, “Ensign Sentenced to Hard Labor for Sending Data to S. Africa”


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.


1978 - VALDIK ENGER and RUDOLF CHERNYAYEV, both Soviet employees of the UN Secretariat, were arrested by the FBI in New Jersey in May 1978 for accepting classified information on antisubmarine warfare passed by a US Naval officer acting on instructions of the Naval Investigative Service and the FBI. The officer, Navy Lieutenant Commander Art Lindberg, acted as a double agent in a counterintelligence operation called Operation Lemonaid. In August 1977, LCDR Lindberg took a trip on the Soviet cruise ship Kazakhstan. Upon the ship's return to New York, he passed a note to one of the Soviet officers containing an offer to sell information. He was later contacted by telephone by a Soviet agent. During subsequent telephone calls, LCDR Lindberg was given contact instructions on the type of information to get and the locations of drop sites where that information could be left and payment money could be found. Naval Investigative Service and FBI agents kept the drop zones under surveillance and later identified the Soviet agents. On 20 May 1978, FBI agents moved into the drop zone and apprehended three Soviets, Enger, Chernyayev and another man, VLADIMIR ZINYAKIN, third secretary at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. Zinyakin avoided arrest due to diplomatic immunity. Enger and Chernyayev, the first Soviet officials ever to stand trial for espionage in the US, were convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Altogether they paid the Navy officer $16,000 for materials he provided. Enger and Chernyayev were later exchanged for the release of five Soviet dissidents.

New York Times 21 May 1978, “2 Russians Arrested by F.B.I. for Spying”
Washington Post 24 Dec 1978, “The Spy Who Came Into The Cold”
Los Angeles Times 24 May 1979, “Navy Officer ‘Drafted' as Counterspy”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1982 - BRIAN PATRICK HORTON, was a US Navy Intelligence Specialist Second Class, assigned to the Nuclear Strike Planning Branch at the Fleet Intelligence Center, Europe and Atlantic, located in Norfolk, Virginia. Between April and October 1982, Horton wrote one letter and made four telephone calls to the Soviet Embassy, offering to provide information on the Single Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP). Based upon evidence accumulated during the investigation, Horton chose to plead guilty under a pretrial agreement which included a posttrial grant of immunity. This allowed the Naval Investigative Service to question Horton after his conviction and sentencing for a period of up to six months to determine any damage to national security caused by his actions. (This technique of posttrial grant-of-immunity encourages the suspect to cooperate in an effort to reduce his sentence.) He was sentenced by a general court-martial on 12 January 1983 to six years’ confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, a dishonorable discharge, and reduction in pay grade to E-1 for failing to report contacts with the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, and for attempting to sell classified information to the USSR. No classified information was actually exchanged and no money was received by Horton. His defense attorney argued that Horton was working on a novel and approached the Soviets to learn their modus operandi. The prosecution stated that he had attempted to get between $1,000 and $3,000 for classified information.

Washington Post 14 Jan 1983, “Sailor Sentenced after Bid to Sell Plans to Soviets”
Naval Investigative Service Command, Espionage, 1989


1984 - BRUCE LELAND KEARN, a Navy operations specialist assigned as command secret control officer on board the USS Tuscaloosa, was arrested in March 1984 and convicted at a general court-martial for dereliction of duty, and willfully delivering, transmitting or communicating classified documents to unauthorized persons. No nation was named as having received any of the classified materials. While absent without leave, Kearn left behind a briefcase which was found to contain 147 classified microfiche (copies of nearly 15,000 pages of Secret documents), seven Confidential crypto publications, and child pornographic photographs and literature. He was sentenced to 18 months based on a plea bargain.

Proceedings, Naval Review, 1986, p. 14


1979 - LEE EUGENE MADSEN, a Navy Yeoman assigned to the Strategic Warning Staff at the Pentagon, was arrested 14 August 1979 for selling classified material to an FBI undercover agent for $700. None of 22 highly classified documents taken by Madsen is known to have fallen into the hands of foreign agents; however, it is believed that he had intended to sell them to organized crime figures dealing in narcotics. Madsen, a homosexual, is quoted as saying that he stole Top Secret documents “to prove...I could be a man and still be gay.” On 26 October 1979 he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Washington Post 27 Oct 1979, “Sailor Receives 8 Years in Jail”


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.


1984 - SAMUEL LORING MORISON, a civilian analyst with the Office of Naval Intelligence, was arrested 1 October 1984 for supplying Jane's Publications with classified photography showing a Soviet nuclear powered carrier under construction. The photographs were subsequently published in Jane's Defence Weekly (July 1984). Morison, described as a heavy spender and unhappy with his Navy Department job, had been employed by Jane's as a part-time contributor. A search of his apartment turned up two portions of Navy documents marked Secret. On 17 October 1985, after a seven-day trial, Morison became the first individual convicted under the 1917 Espionage Code for unauthorized disclosure to the press. Also convicted of theft of government property, Morison was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on 4 December 1985. The decision was appealed and in April 1988 the conviction was upheld by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In October 1988 the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, thus endorsing the use of the espionage code for prosecuting cases of unauthorized disclosure.

Washington Post 3 Oct 1984, “Navy Analyst Arrested in Photo Sale”
New York Times 8 Oct 1984, “Disclosing Secrets to the Press...”
Washington Post 29 Oct 1984, “Unlikely Espionage Suspect”
Washington Post 18 Oct 1985, “Morison Guilty of Spying, Stealing Documents”


1981 - MICHAEL RICHARD MURPHY, a Navy Seaman assigned to the USS James K. Polk, motivated by money, reportedly made several calls to the Soviet Mission to the United Nations in June 1981 offering to make a deal which he said “would benefit both the Soviets and himself.” He was offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperation. A polygraph examination indicated that he had contacted the Soviets three times, but had not passed any information. In August, 1981 Murphy was discharged from the Navy.


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


1984 - JAY CLYDE WOLFF, 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.


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


Return to  HOME  DATES  NAMES  ORGANIZATIONS