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1991 - JEFFREY M. CARNEY, former intelligence specialist with the Air Force, was sentenced at a general court-martial December, 1991, to 38 years. He pleaded guilty to charges of espionage, conspiracy, and desertion. Carney entered the Air Force in December 1980. From April 1982 to April 1984 he was stationed at Tempelhof Central Airport in Berlin where he was a linguist. While at Tempelhof, he began copying classified documents which he then provided to the East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi). In 1984 he was transferred to Goodfellow AFB in Texas where he worked as an instructor while continuing to spy for East Germany. After defecting to East Germany in 1985 he continued to aid the Communists by intercepting and translating official telephone communications of US military commanders and embassy officials in Berlin.

Carney apparently became disillusioned with the Air Force. He originally intended to defect to East Germany, but allowed himself to be drawn into espionage by East German agents who expertly manipulated him and claimed his complete loyalty. He was apprehended in Berlin in April 1991 by Air Force OSI agents.

Cincinnati Post, 21 Dec 1991, "US Spy Gets 38 Years"
Air Force Times, 6 Jan 1992, "Ex-Intelligence Specialist Guilty of Spying"


1989 - RONALD CRAIG WOLF, a former pilot in the Air Force from 1974 to 1981, was arrested 5 May 1989 in Dallas, Texas, for selling classified information to an FBI undercover officer posing as a Soviet agent. During his career in the Air Force, Wolf was trained as a Russian voice-processing specialist and flew intelligence missions on reconnaissance aircraft in the Far East. He held a Top Secret clearance. Discharged from the military in 1981 because of his unsuitability for service "due to financial irresponsibility," he worked as an automobile salesman for a while, but was unemployed at the time of his arrest.

The FBI's investigation began in March, 1989, when information was obtained indicating Wolf's desire to sell sensitive information to the Soviet Union. Wolf talked with FBI undercover agent "Sergei Kitin" on a number of occasions thinking he was a representative of the Soviet Union assigned to the Soviet Embassy. During these conversations Wolf talked about his military experience, and his desire to defect and provide Air Force secrets "for monetary gain and to get revenge for his treatment by the United States government." He was directed to mail letters to a post office box in Maryland detailing the type of information he was capable of providing. Wolf passed along classified documents concerning Top Secret signals intelligence.

The FBI says they are "confident there was no exchange of information (with foreign agents) in this case." On 28 February 1990 Wolf pleaded guilty in federal court. In return for his guilty plea, the government reduced the severity of the charges from life imprisonment to up to 10 years in prison. In June, Wolf was sentenced to 10 years without parole.

Dallas Times Herald, 1 Mar 90, "Ex-Air Force Pilot Pleads Guilty to Espionage"
Washington Post, 16 Jun 90, "Ex-Airman Get 10 Years"


1989 - FRANK ARNOLD NESBITT - The former Marine and Air Force communications officer was arrested by the FBI on 14 October and charged with delivering unauthorized information to the Soviet government. Nesbitt, a Memphis resident, left behind family and bewildered colleagues in June, appending a terse note to his weed trimmer ("I'm gone. Don't look for me."), and flew to Belize in Central America. Plans to settle there did not work out, so he moved on to Guatemala City where he enrolled in Spanish classes.

In August while sightseeing in Sucre, Bolivia, he happened to board a bus full of Russian ballet dancers. He attended the ballet that evening and the next day bumped into a Soviet official traveling with the group. This meeting set in motion his trip to Moscow. From Sucre he went to La Paz where a Soviet Embassy official arranged for his flight to Moscow. Nesbitt claims he stayed 11 days in Moscow in a safe house, wrote from memory 32 pages detailing US defense communications, was polygraphed, toured the city, and met important KGB personnel. However, he grew upset over the Soviets' failure to grant him citizenship and provide him with an apartment and job.

Nesbitt returned, in a circuitous route, to Guatemala where he contacted US authorities who then accompanied him to Washington, DC He was met by the FBI and arrested 11 days later. He offered his services as a double agent to the FBI claiming he did not give the Soviets any useful information. The National Security Agency, however, determined that information Nesbitt said he provided is still classified. The former communications officer served in the military between 1963 and 1966, and 1969 to 1979.

On 8 November Nesbitt was indicted on a charge of conspiring with a Soviet agent to pass sensitive national defense information to the Soviet Union. Nesbitt initially pleaded innocent to espionage and conspiracy charges. If convicted, he faced a possible life sentence and fines up to $500,000. According to his lawyer, Nesbitt "wanted to have some excitement in his life." A Soviet foreign ministry spokesman has said that Nesbitt was denied Soviet citizenship because a check of the autobiography he gave the Soviet parliament "led to suspicion of his possible connections with the criminal underworld." On 1 February 1990 Nesbitt changed his plea to guilty in order to receive a substantially reduced sentence. On 27 April he was sentenced in US District Court to 10 years in a psychiatric treatment facility at a federal prison. His psychiatric evaluation states that he suffers from severe personality disorders.

Washington Post, 15 Oct 1989, "Odyssey of a Suspected Spy; FBI Arrests Man in Va. After Moscow Trip.
Washington Post,
17 Oct 1989, "No Bail for Alleged Spy"
Washington Post,
20 Oct 1989, "Suspected Spy Sought to Defect, FBI Says"
Washington Post,
2 Feb 1990, "Guilty Plea Entered in Secrets Case"
Washington Post,
27 Apr 1990, "Ex-Officer Given 10 Years in Mental Hospital for Spying"


1986 - BRUCE D. OTT, Airman 1st Class, assigned duties as an administrative clerk at Beale Air Force Base, was arrested 22 January by FBI and Air Force Security agents at a Davis, California, motel as he attempted to sell classified information to undercover agents posing as Soviet representatives. One of the documents cited is "The SAC Tactical Doctrine for SR-71 Crews." At that time, Beale AFB was the home base of SR-71 "blackbird" reconnaissance aircraft. It is reported that Ott tried to contact representatives at the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco during the month of January. His communication was intercepted and no classified information actually changed hands. Military prosecutors contended that Ott hoped to be paid up to $160,000 for his information. Following an eight-day court martial proceeding, Ott was found guilty and on 7 August was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

New York Times, 29 Jan 1986, "Airman in California Charged in New Spy Case"
New York Times, 1 Feb 1986, "Details are given on Spying Charge"


1986 - VLADIMIR M. ISMAYLOV, senior Soviet military attaché, was arrested on 19 June at a remote site in Prince George's County, Maryland, after retrieving Secret documents left by a US Air Force officer who was working undercover with counterespionage agents of the AFOSI and the FBI. Until his expulsion for activities incompatible with his diplomatic role, Col. Ismaylov was the highest ranking air force officer at the Soviet Embassy. Ismaylov, apprehended as he buried a milk carton with $41,100 for the US officer, scuffled briefly with FBI agents. According to an FBI spokesman, the Soviet attaché was after information about the Strategic Defense Initiative research program, and data on the cruise missile, stealth bomber, and a hypersonic passenger jet known as the Trans-Atmospheric Vehicle. The operation was run by the GRU. According to the US officer, the Soviets evaluated the USAF officer for nearly a year before asking him to photograph classified documents. All transactions and communications were to be carried out by the use of dead drops at remote locations.

Washington Post, 21 Jun 1986, "Soviet Attaché Arrested, Expelled for Receiving Document"


1986 - ALLEN JOHN DAVIES, former Air Force sergeant and, at the time of his arrest, a lab technician at a Silicon Valley defense contractor, was formally charged on 27 October with trying to pass classified information to the agents of the Soviet Union. Davies, a ten-year veteran who was separated from active service for poor job performance in 1984, had held a Secret clearance during his military service and worked as an avionic sensors system technician. According to the FBI, on 22 September Davies met with an FBI undercover agent posing as a Soviet official in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. During the meeting Davies provided detailed verbal information and a hand drawing concerning US reconnaissance technology. At a second meeting in October he provided additional classified information.

According to Davies's recorded statement, he was motivated "out of revenge because of the unfair way he was treated while in the Air Force." He is also quoted as saying that he wanted to do something to embarrass the United States and to interfere with the effectiveness of its reconnaissance activities. Asked why he waited two years before providing the information, Davies said he waited "just to make sure they couldn't link me with it if I told anybody, just sort of ... hide my trail."

Davies, born in Eastleigh, England in 1953, became a naturalized US citizen at the age of eleven. Since October 1984, he had been employed by Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation in Palo Alto. Federal officials stated that the former airman did not currently hold a clearance and that no information from the contractor facility was involved in the case. Davies was released on $200,000 bail with the condition that he undergo psychological evaluation. But on 27 May 1987 he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempting to communicate secrets to an unauthorized person. Davies was sentenced on 27 August 1987 to five years in prison.

Washington Post, 28 Oct 1986, "FBI Arrests Ex-Airman on Espionage Charges"
Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct 1986, "San Jose Man Angry at AF Is Arrested as Would-Be Spy"


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 which 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.


1983 - FRANCISCO DE ASSIS MIRA, an Air Force computer specialist stationed in Germany, was charged in April 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"


1981 - CHRISTOPHER M. COOKE, deputy commander of an Air Force Titan missile crew, was arrested on 21 May and charged with passing classified information to the Soviets which seriously compromised US strategic missile capabilities during the 1980-81 time frame. On his own volition, Cooke began to phone and visit the Soviet Embassy in late 1980 with offers to provide classified information. Cooke's motives were never fully established, but it is reported that he was attempting to establish his credentials with the Soviets for the purpose of academic research. It is also known that he sought employment with the CIA on at least two occasions. Believing that Cooke was part of a larger spy ring, Air Force prosecutors offered him immunity from prosecution for a full disclosure. After being given immunity, Cooke admitted to providing classified defense information to the Soviets. The US Court of Military Appeals ordered his release in February 1982 and Cooke resigned his commission.

Washington Post Magazine, 4 Dec 1983, "Spy Rings of One"




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