U.S. indicts ex-clerk on spy charge Former NSA worker accused of aiding Soviets

February 28, 1996|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- A former U.S. Army clerk at the National Security Agency was indicted yesterday on a charge of passing secret documents to the Soviet Union during a 10-year period in the 1960s and 1970s.

Robert S. Lipka, 50, of Millersville, Pa., was indicted by a grand jury on one count of conspiracy to commit espionage.

Although spying is a capital crime, prosecutors will not seek the death penalty, said Fred Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Mr. Lipka's attorney, Ronald Kidd Sr. of Philadelphia, would not comment on the indictment.

Mr. Lipka, who was arrested Friday at his home, worked at the Fort Meade-based eavesdropping agency from 1964 to 1967, removing classified reports from teleprinters and distributing them to the White House and government agencies.

The former enlisted man is accused of taking documents from the agency by hiding them inside his clothing.

He provided the Soviets with information concerning U.S. troop movements throughout the world and communications with NATO allies in exchange for payments of $500 or $1,000, according to an affidavit accompanying his arrest warrant.

Mr. Lipka saved some documents and continued passing on information after he left NSA, until 1974, federal agents said.

It was not until three years ago that the FBI targeted Mr. Lipka, after a tip, reportedly from his first wife, the former Patricia Davis of Baltimore.

An FBI agent then contacted Mr. Lipka posing as a Russian military intelligence official. Mr. Lipka confirmed his past spying and said he still had NSA documents, federal agents said.

FBI agents removed boxes of material from Mr. Lipka's home last week and from his safe deposit box at Fulton Bank.

Among the items agents were searching for were classified documents, cameras to copy them, radios to contact his Soviet handlers and a small bound diary used to record payments from the Soviets, according to court papers.

Federal agents have yet to provide details of what they found.

Mr. Lipka is being held at a federal corrections facility in Fairton, N.J.

A pretrial detention hearing is scheduled for March 6, and prosecutors expect Mr. Lipka will be arraigned the same day before U.S. District Judge C. R. Weiner.

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