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American Spies

American Spies: Espionage against the United States from the Cold War to the Present

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    American Spies
    Book Description:

    What's your secret?American Spiespresents the stunning histories of more than forty Americans who spied against their country during the past six decades. Michael Sulick, former head of the CIA's clandestine service, illustrates through these stories-some familiar, others much less well known-the common threads in the spy cases and the evolution of American attitudes toward espionage since the onset of the Cold War. After highlighting the accounts of many who have spied for traditional adversaries such as Russian and Chinese intelligence services, Sulick shows how spy hunters today confront a far broader spectrum of threats not only from hostile states but also substate groups, including those conducting cyberespionage.Sulick reveals six fundamental elements of espionage in these stories: the motivations that drove them to spy; their access and the secrets they betrayed; their tradecraft, i.e., the techniques of concealing their espionage; their exposure; their punishment; and, finally, the damage they inflicted on America's national security.The book is the sequel to Sulick's popularSpying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War.Together they serve as a basic introduction to understanding America's vulnerability to espionage, which has oscillated between peacetime complacency and wartime vigilance, and continues to be shaped by the inherent conflict between our nation's security needs and our commitment to the preservation of civil liberties.

    eISBN: 978-1-62616-009-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. XI-XIV)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The first major spy against America, Benjamin Church, was one of the leading patriots in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. Church, a physician by profession, tended to wounded colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill. George Washington later appointed him chief surgeon of the army, and his compatriots elected him to the Massachusetts Continental Congress, where he was chosen to represent it in relations with the other colonies.

    Church also kept a mistress and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle beyond his meager salary as a doctor. To maintain this standard of living, he was paid by the British to provide information...

  6. Part I: The Cold War:: 1950–70

    • 1 The KGB Rebuilds
      (pp. 19-24)

      During the 1950s, hostility toward Soviet communism was ingrained in the everyday lives of Americans. Communist aggression and subterfuge dominated the news, and fallout shelters and air raid drills became routine precautions against the threat of a Soviet attack. At the end of the 1940s, such Hollywood films asThe Red Menace, I Married a Communist, andThe Iron Curtainepitomized the anticommunist mood of the next ten years. Nightly television fare included weekly series likeI Led Three Lives, the exploits of Herbert Philbrick, an FBI infiltrator in a network of the CPUSA. Science fiction films also proliferated in...

    • 2 Spies in the Enlisted Ranks
      (pp. 25-34)

      Both Soviet intelligence agencies, the KGB and GRU, moved quickly to find a new generation of American spies. Prospects of recruiting the bonanza of well-placed spies in policy circles from the previous two decades were dim, but American policy toward the Soviet Union was hardly a secret. The policy was openly adversarial, and the key question for the Soviets was when and if tensions would flare up in a military clash. As a result, the Soviet intelligence services shifted their emphasis to stealing American military secrets to give the Red Army an advantage in the event that an armed conflict...

    • 3 Vietnam and the 1960s
      (pp. 35-44)

      NSA defectors Mitchell and Martin made headlines with their denunciation of the United States, but their story quickly disappeared from the front pages. When they appeared at their Moscow press conference in September 1960, America was in the throes of a heated presidential campaign that would mark the transition between the 1950s and 1960s. By a razor-thin margin, voters rejected the candidate of the past decade, Eisenhower’s vice president, Richard Nixon, in favor of John F. Kennedy, a youthful war hero and senator bred in the rough-and-tumble schoolyard of Boston politics. Kennedy epitomized the shifting American population of the 1960s,...

  7. Part II: Decade of Turmoil:: The 1970s

    • 4 Espionage and the 1970s
      (pp. 47-52)

      As Huntington’s comments illustrate, loyalty to the US government plummeted in America in the 1970s, and the Soviet intelligence services found more fertile ground to find American spies in a decade marked by heightened disenchantment with the US government and a sluggish economy. A Harris poll in July 1975 showed that in the decade from 1966 to 1975, public confidence in the presidency and Congress fell from 42 percent to 13 percent.¹ A series of scandals rocked America’s faith in its democratic institutions and created a national malaise that affected the country throughout the decade.

      The Vietnam War seemed increasingly...

    • 5 Soviet Science and Technology Espionage
      (pp. 53-70)

      Soviet theft of American technology had been a priority of the KGB and GRU since both services began stealing industrial secrets in the 1920s, and it reached its height with the concerted espionage effort against the atomic bomb in the 1940s. In the 1970s, the Soviet bloc’s intelligence services significantly expanded their spying efforts to steal military technology in order to whittle away the US edge over the Warsaw Pact. Among their primary targets were the aerospace industry in southern California and Silicon Valley, the corridor of high-technology firms in northern California working on multimillion-dollar defense contracts.

      An engineer at...

    • 6 James Angleton and the Spy Hunt in the CIA
      (pp. 71-84)

      One of the most notorious “bastards” in American counterespionage history, some would say, was James Jesus Angleton, the longest-serving chief of CIA counterintelligence. During his twenty-year stewardship, he was suspicious of almost every Soviet agent, volunteer, and defector except one. He was equally suspicious of his colleagues, some of whom undoubtedly thought him to be petty, inhuman, sadistic, and double-crossing. The Angleton legacy would haunt the CIA and provoke a backlash that would irreparably damage the spy agency. Angleton was discredited, and his warnings were ignored. Twenty years later, this repudiation of Angleton would blind the CIA to a spy...

  8. Part III: The Decade of the Spy:: Soviet Spies of the 1980s

    • 7 Espionage in the 1980s
      (pp. 87-92)

      In the 1980s, America turned away from the liberal idealism and social consciousness of the previous two decades and toward self-centered materialism and conservatism. After the economic downturn of the 1970s, national income rose 20 percent and Americans spent their newfound wealth on clothing, cars, and gadgets that proclaimed their social status. A study by the University of California and the American Council on Education in 1980 epitomized the goals of the Me Generation. According to the survey, college freshmen in America were more interested in status, power, and money than at any time during the past fifteen years, and...

    • 8 Evil Spy for the Evil Empire: JOHN WALKER
      (pp. 93-108)

      The unhappy family of John Walker was unhappy because he was evil incarnate. He was an abusive, philandering husband; a neglectful father; a cold, manipulative son; and an exploiting brother. He had no redeeming qualities except one. John Walker was an exceptional spy.

      During eighteen years of spying for the Soviet Union, Walker betrayed secrets so vital that they cost American lives in Vietnam and would have jeopardized national defense in the event of war with the USSR. During those eighteen years, he also ruined his dysfunctional family. His wife became an alcoholic and carried on a ten-year romance with...

    • 9 The Spy in the National Security Agency: RONALD PELTON
      (pp. 109-114)

      One of the most mystifying stories in the history of Cold War espionage began on August 1, 1985, when Vitaliy Yurchenko, a high-ranking KGB officer, ambled into the US Embassy in Rome and requested asylum. CIA headquarters was elated at the initial news. Yurchenko offered a potential counterespionage gold mine because he claimed he was deputy chief of the First Department of the KGB’s First Chief Directorate, which was responsible for overseeing espionage operations in the United States and Canada. Besides, Yurchenko was already known to the CIA and FBI. He had served as the security officer in the Soviet...

    • 10 The Spy in the CIA: EDWARD LEE HOWARD
      (pp. 115-124)

      No one had to burrow through voice tapes or mug shots to identify the second spy Yurchenko fingered. In his first debriefing in Rome, Yurchenko revealed that another Soviet spy was a CIA officer who had been destined for an assignment in Moscow until he was fired for drug and alcohol abuse. According to Yurchenko, the spy had passed secrets to the KGB in Vienna in September 1984.

      The CIA quickly realized who the spy was: Edward Lee Howard, who had been fired in 1983 after admitting to petty theft and drug and alcohol abuse during a polygraph test before...

    • 11 The Spy in the US Marine Corps: CLAYTON LONETREE
      (pp. 125-132)

      As the last partygoers filed out of the Vienna Embassy’s 1986 Christmas party, Sergeant Clayton Lonetree of the US Marine Corps pulled aside Jim Olson, a veteran in Soviet operations at the CIA. “I served in the embassy in Moscow as a marine security guard,” he told Olson, “and got into something with the KGB. I’m over my head.”¹

      Lonetree’s admission set off an espionage investigation that would spread throughout the US Marine Corps, ignite more interagency feuds, and launch a massive hunt through CIA files to stanch the hemorrhage in its Soviet spy network.

      Lonetree had been recruited by...

  9. Part IV: The Decade of the Spy:: Other Spies of the 1980s

    • 12 The Illegal in the CIA: KARL KOECHER
      (pp. 135-140)

      Almost one-third of the American spies arrested in the 1980s committed espionage for countries other than the Soviet Union, a trend that increased in subsequent years. The Soviets’ Eastern European partners continued to achieve successes as they had in the previous decade, but those were their last. By the end of the 1980s, the Soviets had lost their grip over Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact had been dissolved, and their intelligence services had disappeared or been dramatically reformed.

      Among the Warsaw Pact intelligence services that disappeared was the Czechoslovak State Security Service (STB in Czech, the acronym for Statni Bezpecnost),...

    • 13 The Army’s John Walker: CLYDE CONRAD
      (pp. 141-148)

      Clyde Conrad is perhaps one of the most unheralded spies in American history. A slew of books are devoted to Benedict Arnold, Julius Rosenberg, John Walker, Aldrich Ames, and Robert Hanssen, but not a single one to Clyde Conrad.¹ Yet, as the judge’s comments quoted above indicate, Conrad was one of the most damaging spies of the Cold War. For fourteen years, he directed the largest spy ring since the heyday of Soviet espionage in the 1930s and 1940s. Unlike the networks of those years, almost all the spies in his network were US military personnel with direct access to...

    • 14 Spies for East Germany: JAMES MICHAEL HALL AND JEFFREY CARNEY
      (pp. 149-158)

      Army counterintelligence had little time to rest on its laurels from the Conrad case. On the very day of Conrad’s arrest, the US Army’s Field Counterintelligence Activity (FCA) received its first hint of another well-placed spy in army ranks. This time, however, the spy was working for the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA; Main Reconnaissance Administration), the foreign intelligence arm of East Germany’s notorious security service, the Ministry of State Security, better known by its abbreviated name, Stasi.

      The Stasi was well known for its massive monitoring and repression of East German citizens to snuff out antiregime sentiment. The HVA was considered...

    • 15 The Spy for China: LARRY WU-TAI CHIN
      (pp. 159-164)

      For millennia, Sun Tsu’s emphasis on the importance of espionage has been a pillar of Chinese military and political strategy. His advice about using spies everywhere would be applied relentlessly in the United States in the last quarter of the twentieth century. During that period, Chinese intelligence flooded the United States with students, scientists, businessmen, and émigrés from all walks of life to harvest America’s political, economic, and scientific secrets. The Chinese espionage tradition in the United States had its roots in the spying of a Chinese-born American who worked in the most overt part of the CIA and who...

    • 16 The Spy for Israel: JONATHAN POLLARD
      (pp. 165-180)

      Nothing symbolized the “Year of the Spy” as much as the week before Thanksgiving 1985. As Americans prepared for their annual late-November feast, three spies were arrested within a period of five days and paraded through federal courts to be charged with espionage. Ronald Pelton had spied for the Soviet Union and was sentenced to life in prison. Larry Wu-tai Chin spied for the PRC and committed suicide before his sentencing.

      The third spy was Jonathan Pollard. Unlike his fellow spies in the dock that week, Pollard had betrayed his country for the relatively short period of eighteen months. Unlike...

  10. Part V: Espionage and the New World Order:: The 1990s

    • 17 The End of the Cold War and US Counterespionage
      (pp. 183-188)

      On the eve of the 1990s, hundreds of East and West German citizens chipped away at the Berlin Wall until they opened a gaping hole in the most visible symbol of the Cold War division of Europe. Within two years after the Berlin Wall fell, the communist regimes in Eastern Europe were toppled, Germany was reunified, and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The superpower conflict that defined the world order for almost half a century was over.

      Still, peace had not come. The “snakes” referred to by Woolsey had crawled out of the jungle in hot spots around the...

    • 18 Aldrich Ames and His Impact on the CIA
      (pp. 189-204)

      On February 21, 1994, the vast majority of CIA employees were shocked to see one of their colleagues, Aldrich Ames, on the television news, in handcuffs, flanked by men in FBI blue jackets who pushed him into an unmarked car. The headline emblazoned on the screen read SOVIET SPY ARRESTED. Spies in the US government abounded in the 1980s. But a CIA veteran at the center of Soviet operations? Inconceivable. Yet the inconceivable had now happened.

      A small circle of CIA officers knew that Ames would be arrested.¹ For almost a decade, they had wrestled with a gnawing problem: America’s...

    • 19 The Spy in the FBI: ROBERT HANSSEN
      (pp. 205-220)

      Throughout the Cold War, the FBI had proven less vulnerable to penetration than its sister agencies, but it too had suffered damage from Soviet espionage. In 1984, Richard Miller—an overweight, slovenly, and bumbling FBI agent in Los Angeles—had an affair with Svetlana Ogorodnikova, a Soviet émigré who recruited him for the KGB.¹ Miller was lured by the dual thrills of spying and romance, but he was also motivated by the extra money that would come in handy to support his family of eight children. Financially strapped, he initially sold Amway products from his car before he discovered the...

    • 20 The Last Vestiges of Cold War Espionage
      (pp. 221-232)

      In 1997 CIA officer Jim Nicholson failed to heed the lessons of the past. At a time when CIA sensitivities were heightened to espionage after the Ames arrest, Nicholson decided to cure his ailing finances by approaching the SVR.

      Rick Ames had only been arrested a few months before Nicholson volunteered to the Russians while he was stationed in Kuala Lumpur.¹ Up to that time, Nicholson had steadily progressed through the CIA operations officer ranks after overseas tours in Manila, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Bucharest. After fourteen years in the CIA, he had risen to the GS-15 level, just one step...

  11. Part VI: Espionage in the New Millennium

    • 21 New Threats, Old Threats
      (pp. 235-240)

      Because of the actions of American spies during the Cold War, the US Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet was vulnerable, America’s secret military communications had been read, and NATO’s defense plans for Europe and the US government’s plan to survive a nuclear attack were in enemy hands. Yet fortunately, because the Cold War never erupted into an armed conflict, the United States always had time to take countermeasures and recover from the damage done by those spies.

      But after September 11, 2001, America no longer had that time. Throughout the Cold War, neither side had attacked the other’s homeland. But in...

    • 22 Chinese Nuclear Espionage and the Wen Ho Lee Case
      (pp. 241-250)

      Paul Redmond’s comments were echoed by others shocked to read in theNew York Timeson March 6, 1999, that China had stolen America’s nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a pillar of weapons research in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) nationwide research-and-development network. Over the next eighteen months, the investigation of the main suspect in the case of Chinese nuclear theft would be muddled by bitter political partisanship, interagency squabbles, tangled legal arguments, and the ugly specter of racial prejudice.

      At the center of this maelstrom was Wen Ho Lee, a slight, gray-haired Chinese American scientist at...

    • 23 Spies for China
      (pp. 251-266)

      Another Chinese spy case caused the FBI even more embarrassment than Wen Ho Lee. The Wen Ho Lee imbroglio resulted from interagency blunders by the US Department of Energy (DOE), DOJ, and the FBI, but the case of Katrina Leung, code-named “Parlor Maid,” rested solely on the FBI’s doorstep. Leung had been the FBI’s prize Chinese source for eighteen years, until her role as a double agent working for the PRC was exposed. She had not only spied for the Chinese but also carried on longtime romances with not one but two FBI agents.

      Espionage mixed with romance is a...

    • 24 Spies for Cuba I: ANA BELEN MONTES
      (pp. 267-274)

      With rare exceptions, the end of the Golden Age of Soviet espionage marked the end of the era of the purely ideological spy in America. Even those who later professed to spy for lofty motives—like Larry Wu-tai Chin, who wanted to build trust between America and China, and Jonathan Pollard, who wanted to help Israel—were handsomely paid for stolen secrets.

      There were, however, a few exceptions. A few of the Chinese Americans who passed secrets to China were never paid and gave away information to help the land of their birth. Other exceptions were Kurt Stand, Theresa Squillacote,...

      (pp. 275-282)

      Walter Kendall Myers would have looked more appropriately dressed in a tweed coat and khaki trousers than in the blue prison jumpsuit he wore to his indictment on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage. His wife, Gwendolyn, likewise would have been more suitably attired in a sunflower dress than the matching prison suit she wore as she sat next to her husband in the courtroom. Kendall—seventy-two years old; tall at six feet, six inches; bespectacled; white-haired; and mustachioed—resembled the Donald Sutherland of his later movie career and appeared more like an elderly blueblood or distinguished professor than an...

    • 26 Espionage and the War on Terrorism
      (pp. 283-290)

      The thought of a spy or saboteur working for terrorists inside the US military or anywhere in the US government is chilling. Ryan Anderson, fortunately, offered his services not to terrorists but to FBI agents engaged in a sting operation against the young guardsman.

      Anderson seemed like the baby-faced boy next door. He was raised in Everett, Washington, a city about twenty-five miles north of Seattle whose official website boasts that it is “an All-American city” with the second largest marina on the West Coast and “some of the best salmon and steel head fishing in the world.”¹ The son...

    • 27 Cyberespionage
      (pp. 291-300)

      According to a report from the NCIX on cyberespionage, when FBI agents arrested Boeing engineer Dongfan Chung in 2008, they discovered 250,000 pages of US government documents squirreled away in his home, roughly the equivalent of four, four-drawer filing cabinets.¹ Jonathan Pollard, who provided Israel with an estimated 1 million pages of documents during his spying career, packed satchels full of materials, smuggled them out of his office, and stuffed them into a suitcase for delivery to his handlers. Pollard first came under suspicion when a fellow employee noticed him lugging batches of documents from his office building and reported...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 301-304)

    In 2001, the National Counterintelligence Executive replaced the National Counterintelligence Center, which had been established in 1994 after the Amesspy case to improve coordination and collaboration in the US government on a range of counterintelligence activities, including the insider threat from spies. After more than two centuries, the hundreds of American spies, especially in the Cold War, had gradually made some believers of those traditionally skeptical and suspicious of the threat of espionage against the nation.

    The establishment of NCIX also represented progress in overcoming the turf battles and institutional rivalries that have plagued America’s counterespionage efforts since the nation’s...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 305-330)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 331-350)
  15. About the Author
    (pp. 351-352)
  16. Index
    (pp. 353-370)