Russian intelligence officials yesterday criticized the FBI for what they said were “provocative methods” used by the U.S. counterintelligence agency to secure the arrest of David Boone, a 46-year-old former employee of the U.S. National Security Agency. Boone was charged earlier this week with selling top defense secrets to the Soviet Union. Boone’s espionage activities reportedly lasted from 1988-1991 and earned him US$60,000. U.S. authorities say that the information Boone delivered to a Soviet KGB agent included details of U.S. targeting of tactical nuclear weapons in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. He faces a sentence of life imprisonment or–if certain conditions are met–the death penalty.
Boone, a career intelligence officer who retired from the army in 1991, had been living in Germany. He was lured back to the United States in a sting operation that employed a Russian-speaking former FBI agent posing as an operative from Moscow. The agent contacted Boone in Germany on September 5 and offered him the opportunity to resume his espionage activities. At a meeting in a London hotel on September 12 Boone reportedly put himself at the agent’s disposal, accepted US$9,000 and agreed to move back to the United States. He was arrested on October 10 at a Washington hotel (Reuters, AP, October 14).
In Moscow, two spokespersons for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service suggested that the FBI had broken an unwritten code of conduct among intelligence agencies by having one of its agents pose as a Russian operative. Yuri Kobaladze said that the FBI had “used provocative methods” in the arrest, and said it “would be interesting to see how Washington would react if similar methods were adopted by Russia’s counterintelligence.” Another spokesperson, Tatyana Samolis, suggested that Russia’s counterintelligence establishment would never resort to such measures in order to arrest a suspected agent (Russian agencies, October 14).
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