Asiatic empires like the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China operate on the principle of bureaucracy, and bureaucracy relies on having advance knowledge of events so that it can bet on them and adopt a strategy for mitigating them.
One wonders how much longer the Cold War would have gone on if these people had been caught later, and how much shorter it could have been had they been caught earlier. That leads us to wonder: how many Chinese and Russian agents are active in the West now?
While the precise extent of Ames’s espionage activities was unclear at the time of his arrest, Justice Department officials confirmed that Ames was believed to have caused the death or imprisonment of a number of Soviets who had been sources of the CIA and FBI.
The affidavit made public at the time of the arrests also confirmed that Ames had received substantial payments for the information he had provided — money that he had used years earlier to purchase a new Jaguar automobile and a $540,000 home, with cash, in Arlington. Apparently, these seemingly large expenditures by an employee making less than $70,000 a year had not raised questions at the CIA…Indeed, it appeared that Ames may have received approximately $2.5 million for the information he provided.
In a statement read to the court at the time the plea agreements were entered, Ames admitted having compromised “virtually all Soviet agents of the CIA and other American and foreign services known to me” and having provided to the Soviet Union and to Russia a “huge quantity of information on United States foreign, defense and security policies.”
Military service records, court documents and divorce papers tell a sketchy story of a young man from Las Cruces, N.M., who enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War, became a mediocre soldier — “lacks attention to detail and tenacity,” an evaluation report once said — and later, facing mounting debt and anger, having just signed over his two children and his paycheck to his wife, walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington one fall day in 1988.
He walked out with a wig and mustache — and $300 in his pocket. Over three years, selling secrets to his country’s foe allegedly earned Boone $60,000.
His motivation, he allegedly told the undercover FBI agent who’d dangled another $9,000 before him: “I needed money. Plus, well, plus I was extremely angry.”
A 1988 separation agreement gave Boone’s wife custody of the children and required Boone to send his wife his entire paycheck for alimony and child support. In return, she had to give him a $250 monthly allowance.
Born in Beijing, Larry Wu-Tai Chin began working for the United States during World War II, when, because of his English language skills, he was recruited by the U.S. Army as a translator and interpreter for the U.S. Army Liaison Office. In 1948, he undertook the same duties at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, and at this time he developed contacts within Chinese intelligence.
In 1982, after receiving a tip from a source in China, the FBI began to suspect Chin was a spy. “We didn’t have much information about him, except that he might have attended a party on a certain night in China, and had been given some sort of award, and that he might have come over on a Pan Am flight on a certain date,” recalls Van Magers, an FBI agent who worked on the case. When Yu Qiangsheng, the Chinese intelligence officer who had provided the tip, defected to the United States in 1985, he brought his file on Chin with him, and the FBI interrogated Chin that November. When presented with the name of his Ministry of State Security (MSS) handler and evidence of their relationship, Chin confessed to spying for China. Chin became one of 14 people charged with espionage in 1985, “The Year of the Spy.”
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.
Chung, a native of China who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, held a “secret” security clearance when he worked at Rockwell and Boeing on the Space Shuttle program. He retired from the company in 2002, but the next year he returned to Boeing as a contractor, a position he held until September 2006. At trial last month, the government proved that Chung took and concealed Boeing trade secrets relating to the Space Shuttle and the Delta IV rocket, materials he acquired for the benefit of the PRC.
David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said: “For years, Mr. Chung stole critical trade secrets from Boeing relating to the Space Shuttle and the Delta IV rocket – all for the benefit of the government of China. Today’s verdict should serve as a warning to others willing to compromise America’s economic and national security to assist foreign governments. The many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked on this important case deserve special thanks for their efforts.”
Like Wen Ho Lee, Chung stockpiled documents by the thousands:
Halpern: Chung had hidden 250,000 pages of sensitive aerospace documents underneath his California home.
Moberly: As you crawl underneath the home, it opens up into this cavernous area where he had these documents organized on makeshift shelves.
On Aug. 9, 2010, following six days of deliberation after a trial spanning nearly four months in Honolulu, a federal jury found Gowadia guilty of five criminal offenses relating to his design for the PRC of a low-signature cruise missile exhaust system capable of rendering a PRC cruise missile resistant to detection by infrared missiles.
The jury also convicted Gowadia in three counts of illegally communicating classified information regarding lock-on range for infrared missiles against the U.S. B-2 bomber to persons not authorized to receive such information. The B-2 bomber is one of America’s most critical defense assets, capable of utilizing its stealth characteristics to penetrate enemy airspace and deliver precision guided weapons on multiple targets. Gowadia was also convicted of unlawfully exporting classified information about the B-2, illegally retaining information related to U.S. national defense at his home, money laundering and filing false tax returns for the years 2001 and 2002.
“Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country’s most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money. He is now being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s military secrets for profit. I commend the prosecutors, analysts and agents – including those from the FBI and the Air Force – who were responsible for this investigation and prosecution,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris.
From the category of spies who simply have no loyalty to their host nation and sell it out for cash, Gowadia marketed his secrets widely:
He was sentenced to 32 years confinement for selling classified design information to the Chinese government and to individuals in Germany, Israel and Switzerland.
While at Northrop from 1968 to 1986, Gowadia maintained Top Secret access, and later worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory before starting his own consulting firm in 1999.
Between 2003 and 2005, Gowadia took six trips to China to assist government engineers develop a Low Observable exhaust nozzle for their cruise missile. In October 2005, investigators from multiple U.S. agencies searched Gowadia’s Hawaiian residence and discovered 500 pounds of evidence, including visibly marked U.S. and foreign classified documents (40 boxes in all), six computers, numerous thumb drives and other electronic media containing classified and restricted information.
Hall, a former US army warrant officer and signals intelligence analyst, sold hundreds of key NSA eavesdropping and code secrets to his spymasters while stationed in West Berlin and at a US military base in Georgia during the Cold War. He was rewarded with large sums in cash.
One of the secrets he betrayed was the “Project Trojan”, a world-wide electronic network which has the ability to pinpoint armoured vehicles, missiles and planes by tracking their signals emissions. He was described after his capture as “the perpetrator of one of the most costly and damaging breaches of security of the long Cold War”.
He basically gave away the shop:
Through these people, we obtained documents we could only have dreamed of. The fact that a non-commissioned officer like Hall had access to crucial NSA documents was unbelievable: all directives, the National SIGINT Requirements List (NSRL), which is where all US ministries and intelligence agencies noted their preferred surveillance targets. It was 4,200 pages long.
The affidavit alleges that on over 20 separate occasions, Hanssen clandestinely left packages for the KGB, and its successor agency, the SVR, at dead drop sites in the Washington area. He also provided over two dozen computer diskettes containing additional disclosures of information. Overall, Hanssen gave the KGB/SVR more than 6,000 pages of valuable documentary material, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit alleges that Hanssen compromised numerous human sources of the U.S. Intelligence Community, dozens of classified U.S. Government documents, including “Top Secret” and “codeword” documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value. It also alleges that Hanssen compromised FBI counterintelligence investigative techniques, sources, methods and operations, and disclosed to the KGB the FBI’s secret investigation of Felix Bloch, a foreign service officer, for espionage.
The complaint alleges that Hanssen conspired to and did commit espionage for Russia and the former Soviet Union. The actions alleged date back as far as 1985 and, with the possible exception of several years in the 1990s, continued until his arrest on Sunday. He was arrested while in the process of using a “dead drop” to clandestinely provide numerous classified documents to his Russian handler.
For a relative pittance, he gave away vital American secrets at the height of the Cold War:
Hanssen’s deceit began in 1979, when he volunteered to spy for GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency. He soon informed the Soviets that one of their generals, Dmitri Polyakov, was in fact a CIA informant who’d been spying for America since the 1960s. The Soviets eventually executed Polyakov.
One of the most damaging double agents in modern American history, Robert Hanssen gave the Soviets, and later the Russians, thousands of pages of classified material that revealed such sensitive national security secrets as the identities of Soviets spying for the U.S., specifics about America’s nuclear operations and the existence of an FBI-built tunnel underneath the Soviet Embassy in Washington.
Mr. Howard was reported to have sold information to Soviet agents in Austria in 1984. The American authorities put him under surveillance after receiving information from Vitaly Yurchenko, a K.G.B. deputy chief who defected to the United States in 1985, that appeared to incriminate Mr. Howard.
A number of American diplomats were expelled from the Soviet Union as a result of information provided by Mr. Howard. Mr. Wise, author of ”The Spy Who Got Away” (Random House), a 1988 book about Mr. Howard, said in an interview that the information also resulted in the execution of Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet defense researcher, a charge Mr. Howard denied.
The equipment Toshiba Machine is accused of selling the Soviets is milling machinery that could enable submarines and surface ships to run on quieter propellers, thereby evading detection.
In a statement Friday, Toshiba Machine President Kazuo Iimura announced he was stepping down to accept responsibility.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry slapped a similar three- month ban on C. Itoh and Co., a major Japanese trading firm, for its role as a contractor in the sale. Okamoto said the ban would probably cost C. Itoh 2.6 billion yen, or $18 million, in lost revenue.
The former Los Alamos scientist pleaded guilty to having unauthorized possession of, access to, and control over documents and writings relating to the national defense. He was initially charged with 59 counts of mishandling nuclear secrets and could have faced life in prison if convicted.
After months of investigation, the government ultimately had to settle for a plea deal when it became clear their case against Lee lacked merit. The government’s case began to crumble last month at a bail hearing where experts testified that most of the information that Lee improperly handled was already known.
In court, Lee read a statement admitting he used an unsecured computer to download information relating to national defense onto tapes. He said he knew his possession of the tapes outside of the top-secret area where he worked was unauthorized.
Lee’s lawyers have said in court the tapes were destroyed, but the government has refused to accept that explanation. Prosecutors have been primarily concerned about the fate of seven tapes containing sensitive data still missing from the Los Alamos lab in New Mexico.
It becomes hard to see him as innocent once one realizes the scope of the information he stored at home:
It’s been about more than 800 megabytes of classified information. That’s more than 400,000 pages of information, it would be a stack of paper more than a 130 feet high, 13 stories of classified information that he transferred and then downloaded on to 10 magnetic tapes, three of which were found as a result of the investigation, but seven of which were not. He had no legitimate job-related reason to do any of that. And it was a scale of information taking unprecedented in the history of Los Alamos Labs.
He began to delete files left and right even though he wasn’t supposed to have access to the classified computer system and tried to get into the X division which is the classified part of Los Alamos even though his access to that area had been terminated. In fact, after he was terminated from X division on December 23rd, he tried to get in on Christmas Eve at 3:30 in the morning. I think all of that could–could fairly show that Dr. Lee had an intent to injure the United States when he made these–these unprecedented downloads of classified information.
Dr. Lee was prosecuted not because of his ethnicity, because of what he did. Because he downloaded this huge amount of classified information more than 400,000 pages of information and had no explanation for why he did it or what he did with that material.
Beginning in 1988, Mak had worked at Power Paragon, a defense company in Anaheim, California, that developed power systems for the U.S. Navy. The F.B.I. suspected that Mak, who immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong in the late nineteen-seventies, had been passing sensitive military technology to China for years.
Among the stacks were manuals and designs for power systems on U.S. Navy ships and concepts for new naval technologies under development. One set of documents contained information about the Virginia-class submarines, describing ways to cloak submarine propellers and fire anti-aircraft weapons underwater.
The agents took pictures of other materials: tax returns, travel documents, and an address book listing Mak’s contacts, including several other engineers of Chinese origin living in California. This is where the F.B.I. first came across the name Greg Chung.
Days later, on a Sunday morning, agents observed Mak sitting at the table, inserting CDs into a laptop and talking to Rebecca about the information that he was copying. All of it related to the Navy, including a paper about developing a quieter motor for submarines, a project that Mak was in charge of at Power Paragon.
On or about August 11, 1996, the FBI conducted a search of a 1994 Chevrolet Lumina Sports Van which is registered to NICHOISON; surveillance and DMV records confirm that this is NICHOLSON’s only vehicle. in addition to cash receipts confirming some of the above financial transactions, the FBI discovered a personally-owned notebook computer in the van. An analysis of the hard drive showed that it contained numerous CIA classified documents relating to Russia. All of these files had been deleted from program directories, which in my training and experience indicates that they have already been copied onto a disk and transmitted to Russian intelligence. This is corroborated by the fact that the original classified documents are all dated prior to NICHOLSON’s June, 1996 trip to Singapore. While the files had been deleted, the FBI recovered certain files and fragments of files from the notebook computer’s hard drive.
Pelton’s spying career began to collapse with the defection of KGB colonel Vitaly Yurchenko. Although Yurchenko could not remember Pelton’s name, he described a former NSA employee who was providing valuable information to the Soviet Union. It took a few months for the FBI to identify Pelton as the spy, but once they did, they initiated 24-hour surveillance on him. Then Yurchenko defected back to the Soviet Union.
Unlike most of these spies, he did not pass along documents but memories of documents he had seen in passing:
Unlike most spies of the time, he did not steal U.S. government documents and turn them over to a foreign government. Instead, he was able to sell the Soviets information based on his “excellent memory and […] encyclopedic knowledge of intelligence activities.” Among the U.S. intelligence projects he compromised was IVY BELLS, an effort to secretly tap Soviet undersea communications cables.
Not known to most is that Pelton may have been as damaging to the USA as the Cambridge Five were to the UK, with much of what he revealed still classified:
The Pelton case may represent the most serious breach of U.S. security in modern history. One compromised project, referred to in court as ”Project A,” collected ”information from the highest level of the Soviets down to the next level echelon,” according to the testimony of Hubert L. Atwater, an NSA senior signals conversion officer.
Pelton was accused of informing the Soviets of four other intelligence-gathering projects aimed at them as well as revealing an ”encyclopedia” he authored of Soviet communications signals that the NSA had been able to decode.
The son of an Englishman who was an explorer and writer, Philby was born in India in 1912 and educated at elite schools in Britain. He became interested in communism as a university student and by the mid-1930s had been recruited to spy for the Soviets. At the urging of his Soviet handlers, Philby worked as a journalist then joined MI6, the British intelligence agency, during World War II. In 1944, he became head of the agency’s anti-Soviet intelligence operations, all the while passing secrets to the KGB. Five years later, in 1949, he was made the MI6 station chief in Washington, D.C., where he served as the main liaison between British and American intelligence agencies.
In 1951, two of his friends and fellow British operatives defected to Moscow after Philby warned them they were about to be exposed as double agents. Philby was suspected of tipping them off but MI6 officials stood by their charming colleague and no charges were brought against him. In the wake of the scandal, Philby resigned from MI6; however, the agency later rehired him and in 1956 sent him to Beirut, where as a cover he again worked as a journalist. Then, in early 1963, after learning British officials had discovered convincing new evidence he’d spied for the Soviets, Philby escaped to Russia.
He was part of the Cambridge Five, young intellectuals who hated their parents and turned to Communism and alcoholism:
Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, “Kim” Philby and Anthony Blunt were recruited as Soviet spies while at Cambridge University in the 1930s.
There may have been a fifth spy in the ring, possibly John Cairncross.
They may have been motivated by a desire to be as successful as their taskmaster parents:
Elliott and Philby effortlessly joined an inner closed circle of a kind unique to Britain. Macintyre quotes from a lecture CS Lewis gave in 1944. “Of all the passions,” said Lewis, “the passion for the Inner Ring is most skilful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”
Being unable to truly crack the inner ring, they sabotaged it, letting them feel superior to it.
From 1987 to the present, the affidavit said, Pitts conspired with officers of the KGB and SVRR to commit espionage. The conspiracy included numerous trips that Pitts made from Virginia to the New York area “in connection with his espionage activities,” the affidavit said.
“Pitts remained an agent of the SVRR in a dormant capacity” from 1992 to the present, the affidavit said. In the 1987 to 1992 period, the affidavit said, “Pitts received from the KGB and SVRR in excess of $224,000….”
“The meeting between Karpov and Pitts at the New York Public Library was the beginning of five years of active espionage activity by Pitts on behalf of the KGB and SVRR,” the affidavit said. Among the classified material sold by Pitts to the KGB was “secret information concerning an FBI asset who reported covertly on Russian intelligence matters,” the affidavit said.
He seemed to blame a rough childhood for his crime:
Pitts always regarded himself as a “patriot,” and still does.
The real reasons he spied, he believes, are more complex, rooted in a rigorous childhood that gave him a streak of perfectionism and an enduring fear of failure.
In some ways, he is like two other recently convicted spies, Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson of the CIA — self-hating malcontents who worked out their anger by betraying their own spymasters.
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.
Julius (“Liberal” in this cable) was heading up a sizeable group of spies working for the Soviets. As the cable suggests, Julius set about recruiting Ruth to join his group, with an eye to eventually pulling in her husband (see also November 14, 1944 cable). In this cable, Ruth’s name is in clear text, because she’s just being introduced to the Soviets; soon she would be given the cover name Osa (“Wasp”). In November, David wrote a letter to his wife saying he “most certainly will be glad to be part of the community that Julius and his friends have in mind.” And so he was, under the cover name Kalibr (“Caliber”).
Just as Klaus Fuchs’ confession led the FBI to Harry Gold, so did Gold’s confession guide them straight to David Greenglass. Gold told the FBI that while most of his trips to Los Alamos were to pick up goods from Fuchs, he once received materials from someone he described, according to his FBI interrogators, as “a soldier, non-commissioned, married, no children (name not recalled).”
When the FBI confronted David Greenglass, he confessed. Not one to bear up well, he also implicated not only Julius Rosenberg but also his own wife. Ruth, when questioned, corroborated her husband’s statements about Julius’ recruiting. Later, the Greenglasses also implicated Ethel, claiming she knew all about Julius’ spying activities and even typed up espionage-related documents for him.
They penetrated the nuclear research project from the beginning, allowing the Soviets to develop the bomb far earlier:
By 1945, he had assembled an espionage ring of engineers, scientists and machinists that included his old City College classmate Morton Sobell. It also included his brother-in-law David Greenglass, who was then involved with the Manhattan Project – the creation of the atomic bomb – at a facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Federal prosecutors said East Germany recruited the three during their college days and, at the behest of their Communist spymasters, they sought jobs in and around government and stole and smuggled classified documents.
A 200-page FBI report on their alleged spy cell said that Stand was indoctrinated into Marxism as a child. Stand never held a government job but recruited others into spying during more than 20 years, according to prosecutors.
Clark, a former civilian Army employee, pleaded guilty during the summer and was a key prosecution witness. He testified that Squillacote and Stand told him that they were working with an East German spy named Lothar Ziemer. Clark said he had passed secret documents to the same man in the 1970s and ’80s.
George Trofimoff, a naturalized American citizen of Russian parentage, works as a civilian for the US Army at the Joint Interrogation Center in Nuremberg, Germany. He also attains the rank of colonel in the Army reserve.
US Attorney Donna Bucella describes him as “the highest-ranking US military officer ever charged with espionage. He is accused of passing classified information on Soviet and Warsaw Pact military capabilities from 1969-1994. Allegedly, he received payment of over $250,000 during that time.
Walker’s espionage began in 1967 when he walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., with material that would allow the Soviets to read encrypted naval messages.
During Walker’s time as an active spy, the Soviets went as far as to give him a device that, when placed on top of a cryptographic machine, would record the rotor settings, thus allowing the Soviets to decipher all communication sent using the machines. Among the information Walker provided the Soviets was naval cryptographic technology.
One of his accomplices was a Libertarian:
It was the zenith of anti-Communist fever in America, the heyday of the McCarthy-Era witch hunts, but no one recalls Whitworth–who would later become an Ayn Rand-quoting Libertarian–as a budding ideologue.
A theme emerges that we see in many convicted of espionage:
“He walked in there and said, ‘Hi, I’m your son, Jerry,’ and his father just kept right on working. Jerry was really hurt,” recalled Dave Olson, Roger’s father. “His childhood . . . maybe there’s an answer in there somewhere,” Olson said.
We see the same pattern of dad-hate with Walker himself:
Walker grew up in Pennsylvania, the middle son of a hard-times family with an alcoholic, abusive father.
Whitworth may have received the most hilarious middle finger jail sentence of any American spy:
Whitworth, who refused to plead guilty, insisting that he did not know that the stolen documents were being sold to the Soviet Union, received the stiffest penalty of all, a $410,000 fine and 365 years in prison. Michael Walker was released from prison in 2000.
Tags: aldrich ames, anthony blunt, bill haydon, chi mak, david sheldon boone, donald maclean, earl edwin pitts, edward lee howard, espionage, george trofimoff, greg chung, guy burgess, howard james nicholson, james hall iii, john anthony walker, john cairncross, jonathan jay pollard, julius rosenberg, kazuo iimura, kim philby, larry wu-tai chin, noshir gowadia, robert hanssen, ronald w. pelton, theresa squillacote, wen ho lee