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History of Subversion, Espionage, and Spying Against the United States: Year 1997

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By Edited Aug 6, 2016 0 0

This series of articles Subversion, Espionage, and Spying against the United States continues with the year 1997. The goal is to provide some general information and references on cases already concluded. The verdict has been given and the case closed. This is not to glamorize anyone’s actions; far from it the emphasis is on the damage caused and the rationale for the act(s). 

Stop Spying

Note to Readers: As repeated before, you will not find stories on any pending cases and unsubstantiated news headlines accusing one politician or another, or maybe a military General Officer or two, of inappropriately divulging or mishandling classified information. There are no movie-of-the-week stories printed here of U.S. spy assets operating in other nations on behalf of the U.S. intelligence collection effort. This will simply be a summary of the major cases and some minor ones that are available through open source materials such as those stories covered by major news outlets, newspapers, properly released governmental reports and information made available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Clyde Lee Conrad Spy Ring

The year 1997 was a busy time for investigators and the courts. The last of the known members of the Clyde Lee Conrad Spy Ring, were arrested and or convicted. However, the true number of persons involved in the spy-ring may never be known because Conrad himself was also recruited by a U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) by the name of Sergeant First Class Zoltan Szabo.  Szabo was convicted of espionage in Austria in 1989. The Szabo-Conrad Spy Operation may have been in operation for decades. Conrad’s activities alone ran from 1974 through 1988. And, Szabo was spying for Hungry prior to his recruitment of Conrad. [1][2]

In June of 1997, a former U.S. Army clerk named Kelly Therese Warren was arrested for her alleged role and involvement in passing sensitive information to Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s. She was reportedly a part of a larger spy ring known as the Clyde Lee Conrad Spy Ring. Kelley was recruited into the ring in 1987 by a co-worker Roderick James Ramsey.[1]

Spy Ring

The Conrad Ring was already in operation before Warren’s initial involvement; thus, her involvement was limited to 1987-1989 while she was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division headquarters in Germany. Warren met with Conrad at various times and places on base to make the exchanges of cash for classified documents regarding U.S. and NATO defense plans for Europe. Her motivation was for money to pay-off debts. She received a total of $7,000. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. In 1998 she was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In 1997 The Raleigh News and Observer published an article titled Federal Agents Still Tracking Members of the Eighties Army Spy RingThe Florida Times Union in 1997 published an article titled A Former Soldier Arrested: Warner Robins Woman Charged in Espionage Case


Spies For East Germany

In 1997 Kurt Alan Stand, a regional labor union representative along with his wife, Therese Marie Squillacote, a former senior staff lawyer and the office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, and a friend James Michael Clarke, a private investigator, were arrested in October 1997 on charges of spying for East Germany and Russia. According to Kurt Stand’s testimony, he began spying in 1972 after being recruited by East Germany to cultivate and recruit other spies in the Washington, DC area.  Kirk recruited his wife, Therese, who had access to information, files and photos from the House Armed Services Committee.  As a result of her connections to that committee, she acquired numerous classified copies and photographs and forwarded them to her German handlers.  Her justification for spying was to “support the progressive anti-imperialist movement.” Her husband Kurt was reportedly paid nearly $25,000 for his recruiting and coordination efforts.

In 1998, both Kurt and his wife were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage attempted espionage and illegally obtaining national defense documents. Therese was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison and her husband Kurt was sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison. 

The Washington Post for two articles on this topic one in 1997 called Humorously Cloak and Blabber; the second in 1998 called Jury Rejects Entrapment DefenseThe New York Times published an article in 1997 titled Three Onetime Radicals Held in Spy Case.

In 1997 James Michael Clarke, a private investigator, was arrested in October along with Kurt Stand and Therese Squillacote. Clark was also charged with spying for East Germany. He was recruited by his friend (Kurt Stand) in 1976 while attending the University of Wisconsin. In 1986, Clark received a security clearance in order to do work for a private firm that was contracted for government work in 1992. He continued to work for the government as a civilian analyst at Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Boulder, Colorado.  It was at this last job Clark had access to classified chemical warfare information. He used his position to steal information and provide it to East Germany; who in turn provide to the Soviet Union for their chemical warfare research.  Clark admitted that he did pass the information to his East German handlers in the form of microfilm.

Dollar Bill

Clark’s motivation, based on his interviews, was a result of his support for Marxist ideology.  But then you also have to factor in the $17,500 he received for East Germany and the multiple trips he made to Germany Mexico and Canada. Thus his convictions were only as strong as the dollar amount would support. 

In 1998 he was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison however, the sentence was later reduced in trade for his testimony against Kurt Stand and Therese Squillacote.

News Media

The Washington Post published two articles on this particular case, one in 1998 titled Falls Church Man Pleads Guilty to Passing Secrets to East Germany. In 1997 the WP published an article on this subject title Three Former Campus Leftists Held in VA on Espionage ChargesThe New York Times also published an article in 1998 titled Spy in Plea Agreement is Given 12- Year Sentence.

Next in the Series is History of Subversion, Espionage, and Spying Against the United States: Years 1996



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  1. "Clyde Lee Conrad." Wikipedia. 25/03/2015 <Web >
  2. "SZABO, ZOLTAN." Intelligence Reference. 25/03/2015 <Web >

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