State Dept. Retiree Accused of Spying
Whatever their motivations were, the Myers seemed pretty committed to screwing the United States over, regardless of who was in the White House.
Official, Wife Passed Secrets to Cuba For Decades, Federal Prosecutors Say
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.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Former State Department Official and Wife Arrested for Serving as Illegal Agents of Cuba for Nearly 30 Years Couple Allegedly Conspired to Provide Classified Information to Cuban Government
A former State Department official and his wife have been arrested on charges of serving as illegal agents of the Cuban government for nearly 30 years and conspiring to provide classified U.S. information to the Cuban government.
The arrests were announced today by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Ambassador Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.
An indictment and criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia charge Walter Kendall Myers, 72, a.k.a. "Agent 202," and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, a.k.a. "Agent 123," and "Agent E-634," with conspiracy to act as illegal agents of the Cuban government and to communicate classified information to the Cuban government. Each of the defendants is also charged with acting as an illegal agent of the Cuban government and with wire fraud.
The Myers, both residents of Washington, D.C., were arrested yesterday afternoon by FBI agents. They made their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while serving as an illegal agent of a foreign government carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
"The clandestine activity alleged in the charging documents, which spanned nearly three decades, is 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. We remain vigilant in protecting our nation's secrets and in bringing to justice those who compromise them," said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. "These arrests are the culmination of an outstanding counterespionage effort by many agents, analysts and prosecutors who deserve special thanks for their extraordinary work."
"This case demonstrates the care we must take in protecting our nation’s valuable secrets, and shows the dedication and perseverance of the men and women investigating this crime who never tired in finding those now charged with betraying our country," said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.
"Intelligence services from around the globe continue to steal what information they can from the United States," said Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI's Washington Field Office. "Vigilance must be matched with patience to successfully bring their agents to trial. I would particularly like to thank the men and women in my office who worked on this case and who work on other espionage investigations. They work without accolades; silently protecting the safety and security of the United States and its citizens."
Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell stated, "The U.S. Department of State is jointly investigating this matter with the FBI, and will continue to aggressively pursue any and all breaches of national security. The Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security works closely with its law enforcement colleagues in the FBI and other agencies to uncover and prosecute any breath of security within its ranks. Any compromise of classified information is a serious threat to the security of our nation, and the State Department will aggressively investigate any such activity to the fullest extent possible."