Couple Sentenced to Life in Prison for Providing Classified Data to Cuba

Former U.S. State Department official Walter Kendall Myers, known as “Agent 202,” was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for his role in providing classified data to Cuba. The 73-year-old will not be granted an opportunity for parole. His wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, known as “Agent 123” and “Agent E-634,” was sentenced to 81 months in prison. In his nearly 30 years as a State Department intelligence analyst, Myers, was privy to top-secret information about Cuba.

According to PBS, friends and colleagues described him and his wife as “very good people, very humane, humanitarian people,” but now they have been found guilty of spying for the Cuban government. The couple pleaded guilty last year after their June 2009 arrest to charges in connected with “a nearly 30-year conspiracy to provide highly classified US national defense information to the Republic of Cuba.” Myers pleaded guilty last November to a three-count complaint charging him with conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud. His wife, 72, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information. The Justice Department says the Myers received coded instructions by short-wave radio in their apartment in Washington, D.C. then met Cuban spies in supermarkets, handing off secrets by switching shopping carts.

According to US officials Myers began working at the State Department in 1977 as a contract instructor at the agency’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Arlington, Virginia. From 1988 to 1999, he performed work for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in addition to his FSI duties. He later worked as an intelligence analyst specializing on European matters and had daily access to classified information. He received a Top Secret security clearance in 1985 and, in 1999, received access to “sensitive compartmental information.”

Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris said that “this couple proudly committed espionage on behalf of a long-standing foreign adversary” and that now “they are being held accountable for their actions.” He added that “Their sentences should serve as a clear warning to others who would willingly compromise our nation’s most sensitive classified information.”

For articles and video, see http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/video/blog/2009/06/agent_202_charged_with_spying.html and http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-23974–5-5–.html

Photo from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/praise-from-castro-for-couple-who-passed-on-us-secrets-for-30-years-1699224.html?action=Popup

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