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State Retiree Spy for Cuba?


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9060503795.html

State Dept. Retiree Accused of Spying for Cuba

By Del Quentin Wilber and Mary Beth Sheridan

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A former State Department official with top-secret security clearance and his wife have been charged with spying for Cuba over the past three decades, passing information by shortwave radio and correspondence exchanged in local grocery stores, federal prosecutors said.

State Department officials said last night they were still assessing the potential damage to the government's security and intelligence operations and declined to comment further.

Within hours of the couple's appearance yesterday at U.S. District Court in the District, a novel-worthy tale began to emerge from court documents and law enforcement sources, depicting an elderly couple of famed lineage, living in a Northwest Washington neighborhood and traveling abroad under code names, motivated by ideology to pass information to Cuban agents.

The couple, Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, were charged with conspiring to act as illegal agents and to communicate classified information to the Cuban government. They pleaded not guilty and were ordered held in jail pending further court proceedings.

Myers is the scion of one of Washington's most storied families. His mother, Elsie Alexandra Carol Grosvenor Myers, was the granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

The allegations are "incredibly serious and should serve as a warning to any others in the U.S. government who would betray America's trust by serving as illegal agents of a foreign government," said David S. Kris, assistant attorney general for national security.

A spokesman for the State Department said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton "takes this matter, like any allegation of criminal wrongdoing, seriously."

A senior administration official said counterintelligence experts discovered three years ago that there was a Cuban spy at the State Department. The department's diplomatic security bureau looked at "a fairly large population" and began winnowing it down. By the time of Myers's retirement, authorities were reasonably confident he was the suspect, the official said.

"We have since built what we consider to be a strong case," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

In court papers, FBI agents said they recently sent an undercover agent, posing as a Cuban intelligence officer, to meet with the couple. The court papers describe several conversations in which Myers and his wife express their strong emotional ties to the communist country.

"So how is everybody at home?" Myers allegedly told the agent during their first encounter, asking the agent to pass on "our love" to a Cuban intelligence official.

Myers began working for the State Department as a contract instructor at its Foreign Service Institute in 1977, authorities said.

In late 1978, he traveled to Cuba after receiving an invitation from an official at the Cuban mission in New York. His guide in the communist country was an unidentified Cuban intelligence official, the FBI said in court papers.

In a diary obtained by the bureau, Myers wrote that he toured a museum and got a "lump in my throat" after learning about the "systematic and regular murdering of revolutionary leaders" by the United States, the FBI said.

"Cuba is so exciting!" he wrote in the diary.

About six months later, while Myers and his wife were living in South Dakota and he was no longer a State Department employee, the Cuban mission official visited them, and they agreed to become spies, the court papers allege. They were given code names for their correspondence and radio traffic with Cuba: Myers became "202" and his wife became "123."

They returned to Washington, and Myers resumed working at the State Department. He and his wife felt that joining the CIA would be too dangerous, the FBI said.

He later obtained a top-secret clearance and a high-level job at the department's sensitive bureau of intelligence and research before retiring in 2007. Two months ago, an undercover FBI agent approached Myers outside Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where he has been a part-time faculty member for 20 years. He told Myers he had been sent by an unnamed Cuban intelligence officer to get some information.

It was Myers's birthday, and the agent gave him a cigar, the court papers say. Later, Myers and his wife met the agent at a downtown hotel.

During the lengthy meeting and two others that month, Myers and his wife told the agent that they had been working for Cuba for years and that they had communicated using a shortwave radio given to them by the Cuban government, the court papers allege. The couple also changed shopping carts in a grocery store as a way to pass information. More recently, they sent encrypted e-mails to their handlers from cybercafes, according to the documents.

They had met regularly over the years with Cuban officials in third countries and made a secret trip, using fake names, to the Caribbean nation in 1995. They even spent an evening that year with Cuba's then-president, Fidel Castro, they told the agent. They received "lots of medals" from the Cuban government, apparently for passing along secret information, the court papers allege.

"Fidel is wonderful, just wonderful," Myers told the agent, according to the affidavit.

Myers said he removed information from the State Department by memory or by taking notes. "I was always pretty careful," he told the agent, according to the court papers. "I didn't usually take documents out."

FBI officials said they reviewed Myers's computer hard drive and found more than 200 sensitive or classified intelligence reports concerning Cuba. They said they also intercepted e-mails between the couple and a Cuban agent, "Peter Herrera," urging them to come to Mexico to pick up some "art pieces."

The Myerses wrote back, saying they were "delighted to hear from you and learn that your art gallery is open for us," the affidavit said.

The charges come as the Obama administration is reaching out to Cuba, lifting restrictions on visits there by Cuban Americans and offering to hold talks on immigration and regular mail service. However, the U.S. government says it will not lift the 47-year-old economic embargo until the island undertakes democratic reforms. Cuba's spy service is regarded as one of the best in the world, according to former U.S. intelligence officials.

Research editor Alice Crites and staff researchers Madonna Lebling, Meg Smith and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8087572.stm

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says US allegations that a Washington couple spied for Cuba are a "ridiculous tale".

In an editorial, he questioned the timing of their arrest - days after the Organisation of American States lifted Cuba's 1962 expulsion from the group.

The couple, retired state department official Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, are accused of having passed on information to Cuba for three decades.

The pair, both in their 70s, face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

In his article, Mr Castro described the case as an "espionage comic strip".

He admitted that he had meet the Myers in Mexico in 1995 - as the US alleges - but went on to say that he had met thousands of US citizens in his life for all sorts of reasons.

However on the question of whether the charges were true, the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana says Mr Castro was somewhat ambiguous.

Those who have helped to protect Cuba "from the terrorist plans and assassination plots organised by various US administrations", the former president wrote, deserve "all the honours in the world".

Washington DC residents Walter Myers, 72, and Gwendolyn Myers, 71, are accused of acting as illegal agents for Cuba and wire fraud.

Their arrest, announced on Friday, followed a sting operation by the FBI.

The US justice department says Mr Myers was first approached by the Cuban government in 1978, and that he and his wife agreed to provide information to Cuban intelligence.

Mrs Myers' preferred method of passing on secrets was to exchange shopping trolleys in a grocery store, it said.

Fidel Castro, 82, has not been seen in public since July 2006 and ceded power to his brother in February 2008.

However comments by him appear frequently in Cuba's state-run press.

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To be expected: the country involved will deny all knowledge, regardless of whether the accusations are true or not. The evidence presented at the couple's trial will be interesting; will it be convincing or not? But Peter has a good point: this incident, whether true or not, should not be allowed to derail the process of normalisation of relations between Cuba and the US. The sanctions have served their purpose and are now a anachronism.

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The timing 'smells'. Whatever the validity of the evidence, the intelligence agencies have obviously been watching them for a very long time, but as is often the case they can play politics by waiting for the right moment to apply political points.

This is clearly correct. The couple were retired. The FBI undercover contact with them was clearly acting as an agent provocateur. Is that legal in the US?

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At least the OAS has done the right thing. Now for the US.

I actually agree with Peter about this, the supposed motivation for the embargo and cutting of relations was the seizure of property owned by US nationals but America seized the property of Loyalists during and after their revolution, whose leaders are still revered as heroes. Another justification is the country is a dictatorship but the US maintains and maintained trade and relations with countries that are far worse and don’t provide education and medical care Cuba does. Some cite the low standard of living as evidence that regime change is needed and thus justify continuation of the embargo but the latter is obviously a major cause of the former.

The timing 'smells'. Whatever the validity of the evidence, the intelligence agencies have obviously been watching them for a very long time, but as is often the case they can play politics by waiting for the right moment to apply political points.

This is clearly correct. The couple were retired.

Even I wonder about the timing AP reported that “Myers had been under suspicion since 1995 and FBI investigation since 2006 “. However I haven’t seen any evidence this incident is being used to limit the easing of relations with Cuba or getting much press coverage. The NY Times website only lists 4 articles about the incident, the main one ran on page 11, the others were from AP or Reuters and it isn’t clear if they appeared in the print edition. Countries, especially hostile ones, spying on each other is to be expected, obviously the US is doing so in Cuba.

http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?frow...&year2=2009

The FBI undercover contact with them was clearly acting as an agent provocateur. Is that legal in the US?

In the US “A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.”* I imagine there could be cases where the agent/informer could be held criminally liable. I don’t see any basis for your belief the agent acted as a “provocateur”, he seems to only have been in contact with them for the last 2 months and induced them to talk about their acts rather than commit new ones. Do you have any information we don’t?

* http://www.lectlaw.com/def/e024.htm

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In the US “A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.”* I imagine there could be cases where the agent/informer could be held criminally liable. I don’t see any basis for your belief the agent acted as a “provocateur”, he seems to only have been in contact with them for the last 2 months and induced them to talk about their acts rather than commit new ones. Do you have any information we don’t?

It is highly unlikely that Walter Myers would approach an undercover FBI agent and offer state secrets. Therefore, I assume that the FBI agent approached Myers and asked him for classified information. This seems to me to be entrapment. According to the law quoted in your posting: “A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.”

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It would be interesting to know the details of what's suggested as being passed on to Cuba.

(BTW, if any one anywhere out there has something to pass on to Cuba I'll be happy to act as a go between. US law is US law. The CIA supposedly deals with foreign issues, and the FBI with domestic, and no doubt walk in step. To remove their destructiveness from the world scene it must be a global concert.)

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In the US “A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.”* I imagine there could be cases where the agent/informer could be held criminally liable. I don’t see any basis for your belief the agent acted as a “provocateur”, he seems to only have been in contact with them for the last 2 months and induced them to talk about their acts rather than commit new ones. Do you have any information we don’t?

It is highly unlikely that Walter Myers would approach an undercover FBI agent and offer state secrets. Therefore, I assume that the FBI agent approached Myers and asked him for classified information. This seems to me to be entrapment. According to the law quoted in your posting: “A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.”

Since he supposedly started passing secrets to Cuba 28 years before he was approached by the agent, the part about “a crime that he had no previous intent to commit” obviously would not apply. This would be no different than an undercover narcotics agent approaching a drug dealer and asking to make a purchase. The cited source continued:

“However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the Government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a Government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that Government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity”

However based on articles in the Washington Post and NY Times not even that happened. The Myerses seems to have merely told the agent about what they had already done.

From the Post (quoted in full at the begining of this thread

“In court papers, FBI agents said they recently sent an undercover agent, posing as a Cuban intelligence officer, to meet with the couple. The court papers describe several conversations in which Myers and his wife express their strong emotional ties to the communist country.”

From the Times:

“The case had been under investigation for three years but intensified two months ago, when an undercover agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, posing as a Cuban agent, approached Mr. Myers. That led to a series of meetings in which the Justice Department said that Mr. Myers and his wife made incriminating admissions about their decades-long work for Cuba.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/06/us/06spy...yers&st=nyt

I doubt any legal scholar in the world would define an undercover agent getting someone who’d been engaging in the same criminal activity for decades to do so once again, let alone getting them to talk about it, as entrapment.

Edited by Len Colby
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I doubt any legal scholar in the world would define an undercover agent getting someone who’d been engaging in the same criminal activity for decades to do so once again, let alone getting them to talk about it, as entrapment.

I disagree with this flawed logic. If the FBI had been aware that he has been passing secrets over many years, why was he not arrested before? Walter Myers is 73 years old and has not had access to state secrets for many years. Why have the FBI left it to now before trying to entrap him? The only answer is that it is linked to the attempt by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

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I doubt any legal scholar in the world would define an undercover agent getting someone who’d been engaging in the same criminal activity for decades to do so once again, let alone getting them to talk about it, as entrapment.

I disagree with this flawed logic. If the FBI had been aware that he has been passing secrets over many years, why was he not arrested before? Walter Myers is 73 years old and has not had access to state secrets for many years. Why have the FBI left it to now before trying to entrap him? The only answer is that it is linked to the attempt by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

Hate to say it John but the “flawed logic” is yours. You are conflating two unrelated issues

-Was the timing of the arrest politically motivated?

AND

- Was Myers entrapped?

I already said I suspect the former, in fact I was the person who pointed out the fact he been under suspicion since 1995.

As to the latter, based on the articles I’ve read he wasn’t by any reasonable or legal definition because he wasn’t, as you incorrectly surmised charged with passing secrets to the FBI agent. See if you can find a legal scholar who defines an undercover agent getting a target to TALK about his past criminal activity as entrapment, I doubt even William Kunstler would have.

Even if he had passed secrets to the agent it wouldn’t have been entrapment because if what they say is true he’d been giving the Cuban’s classified info for decades.

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I doubt any legal scholar in the world would define an undercover agent getting someone who’d been engaging in the same criminal activity for decades to do so once again, let alone getting them to talk about it, as entrapment.

I disagree with this flawed logic. If the FBI had been aware that he has been passing secrets over many years, why was he not arrested before? Walter Myers is 73 years old and has not had access to state secrets for many years. Why have the FBI left it to now before trying to entrap him? The only answer is that it is linked to the attempt by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

Hate to say it John but the “flawed logic” is yours. You are conflating two unrelated issues

-Was the timing of the arrest politically motivated?

AND

- Was Myers entrapped?

I already said I suspect the former, in fact I was the person who pointed out the fact he been under suspicion since 1995.

As to the latter, based on the articles I’ve read he wasn’t by any reasonable or legal definition because he wasn’t, as you incorrectly surmised charged with passing secrets to the FBI agent. See if you can find a legal scholar who defines an undercover agent getting a target to TALK about his past criminal activity as entrapment, I doubt even William Kunstler would have.

Even if he had passed secrets to the agent it wouldn’t have been entrapment because if what they say is true he’d been giving the Cuban’s classified info for decades.

Why would the FBI all of a sudden become interested in a retired state official who was past the stage where he could pass important secret information to the Cubans? Why would he freely confess to past spying activities? What kind of spy would do that? I suspect what really happened was the FBI became aware of him passing unimportant information to the Cubans many years ago. The FBI considered it was in their best interests to monitor events and arrest him when it would provide the maximum political advantage. The problem for them is that Obama's election took place when their monitored spy had retired.

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Will this become another "Rosenberg" type spy case, with a big trial and whip up public opinion, that even got Oswald's attention?

Will they trade them, like Powers?

Dr. Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn are old money, related to Bell, and that high brow social circle.

The indictment:

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06....indictment.pdf

"The couple allegedly used shortwave radio to communicate with Cuban intelligence and also met with Cuban agents in numerous locations both inside and outside the United States."

The Paul H. Nitze School of AIS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_H._Nitze...ational_Studies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendall_Myers

US - UK "special relationship" controversy

In November 2006, Myers created controversy by describing the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom as "one sided" and a "myth." He said that he was "ashamed" of the treatment by US President George W. Bush toward Prime Minister Tony Blair.....

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IMO - FWIW - They are hardly "trade" material, and I don't think the material they allegedly passed was of sufficient value to warrant the spotlight.

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I doubt any legal scholar in the world would define an undercover agent getting someone who’d been engaging in the same criminal activity for decades to do so once again, let alone getting them to talk about it, as entrapment.

I disagree with this flawed logic. If the FBI had been aware that he has been passing secrets over many years, why was he not arrested before? Walter Myers is 73 years old and has not had access to state secrets for many years. Why have the FBI left it to now before trying to entrap him? The only answer is that it is linked to the attempt by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

Hate to say it John but the “flawed logic” is yours. You are conflating two unrelated issues

-Was the timing of the arrest politically motivated?

AND

- Was Myers entrapped?

I already said I suspect the former, in fact I was the person who pointed out the fact he been under suspicion since 1995.

As to the latter, based on the articles I’ve read he wasn’t by any reasonable or legal definition because he wasn’t, as you incorrectly surmised charged with passing secrets to the FBI agent. See if you can find a legal scholar who defines an undercover agent getting a target to TALK about his past criminal activity as entrapment, I doubt even William Kunstler would have.

Even if he had passed secrets to the agent it wouldn’t have been entrapment because if what they say is true he’d been giving the Cuban’s classified info for decades.

Why would the FBI all of a sudden become interested in a retired state official who was past the stage where he could pass important secret information to the Cubans? Why would he freely confess to past spying activities? What kind of spy would do that? I suspect what really happened was the FBI became aware of him passing unimportant information to the Cubans many years ago. The FBI considered it was in their best interests to monitor events and arrest him when it would provide the maximum political advantage. The problem for them is that Obama's election took place when their monitored spy had retired.

I agree the time of the arrest might well have been politically motivated, he wasn't entraped however.

Evan wrote:

IMO - FWIW - They are hardly "trade" material

The more relevant question is, do the Cubans hold any Americans the US would be willing to trade for?

, and I don't think the material they allegedly passed was of sufficient value to warrant the spotlight.

Where did you get your info on what intel they passed?

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...

IF the material they allegedly passed was important and they weren't arrested long ago, it is the FBI [or whomever was watching them] who should be brought to justice! As I said, when someone is found passing information to an 'unfriendly' government, they are very often 'fed' bad information (without their knowledge) to pass on. Anything important would be [and certainly SHOULD BE] stopped immediately. This is just a political act and entrapment - both. Typical Deep Political machinations, complete with circus and misdirection.

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 17:48:11 +1000

From: magda <email address deleted>

User-Agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

To: Peter Lemkin & the spirit of Magic Crazy Bear <email address deleted>

Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: is this true?

<email header information deleted>

Really!!!! But he is such a decent sort of person?! What could have happened? He will be very welcome at the DPF. We tried to contact him at the time we set up be he was unreachable at the time. No one had heard from him on the EF either for a long time. tell him (if you want to and don't mind :-) ) that we have already set up a membership for him from that time User name: John Dolva and the password is password . Well, I am shocked at this. I will have to go and see what's happening.

John Dolva has left the EF and asked all his posts be removed. The ship is sinking over there..... Peter

I would second you as a moderator. I think you would be great. :-)

________________

Well, Peter, ''over there'' the ship is not sinking.

Further, you can tell you friends over there that the unsolicited account be removed. (In the meantime anyone feel free to use the password account.)

re mod status:

-my political stance would be a controversial issue and i would ONLY consider such a thing if there were NO objections AT ALL from ANYONE!

-I would only accept if the moderating team shows a committment to Affirmative Action! and people such as Cigdem, who seems to have dropped out, Bernice, Sherry, Pamela and others became mods to level the gender playing field with Womans Wisdom, to empower Woman in general to participate without the restraints that a rather perverted patriarchial world imposes, directly and subtly.

-I would recuse myself (rather than resign, recuse in hindsight is better) should i relapse!

-I reserve the right to abstain!

-I will not vote for any moderating actions except in extreme circumstances.!

So, AFA being mod, I dont think so.

John

Edited by Evan Burton
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