'70 college radicals charged as spies East German files tip U.S. to Wis. students

October 07, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Three one-time student radicals at the University of Wisconsin were charged yesterday with spying for Communist intelligence services since the 1970s.

The FBI said in a 200-page affidavit that the three had been trying to penetrate the upper echelons of the U.S. government, with decidedly mixed results, since meeting on campus as self-styled hard-core Communists in the days of student protests.

The FBI said it had identified the three by analyzing the files of the former East German intelligence service. They are Theresa Marie Squillacote, 39, a Defense Department lawyer from October 1991 until January; her husband, Kurt Alan Stand, 42, a regional representative of an international workers union; and James M. Clark, 49, a Pentagon paralegal turned private detective.

The three defendants were arraigned yesterday before a federal magistrate in Arlington, Va., who ordered them held without bail until a preliminary hearing Thursday. They could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

The FBI affidavit said the three had been paid tens of thousands of dollars over the decades. It said they communicated with their East German contacts in the language of Christian missionaries spreading the faith in a heathen nation, addressing one another as "Brothers in Faith" and referring to coded signals as "the Voice of God." And it said that they traveled to Europe, Mexico and Canada to deliver information to their handlers.

Clark persuaded an unidentified State Department official to give him secret documents on the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the affidavit said. Both he and Squillacote also had access to highly classified materials in their jobs. None of the information the three are accused of stealing as spies altered the course of the Cold War in the slightest, the affidavit suggests.

The case is highly unusual in the recent annals of American espionage, in that the defendants appear to have been motivated more by ideology than by money.

"I was a sympathizer," Clark told an undercover FBI agent in April, according to the affidavit. "Of course, the money has to come in there once in a while."

After East Germany ceased to exist in 1990, it said, the three tried without much luck to work for the Soviet Union, which ultimately controlled the East German spy service.

In June 1995, Squillacote tried once more to get back into the game of espionage, the affidavit said. It depicts that effort as desperate and doomed.

It said that while working at the Pentagon, she sent a letter to a South African official and Communist Party leader bemoaning the "horrors" of "bourgeois parliamentary democracy" and obliquely suggesting a working relationship.

The affidavit said Squillacote wept with joy when she received a reply. But the South African official had turned her letter over to his government, which passed it on to the United States, which set the FBI off on an undercover sting operation against Squillacote, her husband and Clark.

In 1996, an FBI agent wearing a hidden tape recorder and posing as a politically sympathetic South African official met with Squillacote. The affidavit said the Pentagon lawyer discussed how she hated her job -- "the weight of the whole five-sided building is on me."

Squillacote also implied that she wanted something useful to come of their work. "I kind of want them to know that their life wasn't worthless," she said, referring to her ideological ancestors, according to the affidavit.

She later gave the undercover agent four sensitive CIA and Pentagon documents, the affidavit said. And, it said, she made damning remarks, saying she had "violated Federal 18, lots and lots" in her past work with the East German service. Title 18 is the federal criminal code.

The FBI's affidavit described the defendants as Communist Party sympathizers who met at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee during their student days in the 1970s.

Stand spent his life trying to recruit agents, including his wife, for the East German intelligence service, the affidavit said. In 1973, during his freshman year, he was campus chairman of the Young Workers Liberation League, the youth arm of the Communist Party USA. Clark became chairman in 1974, the FBI's files say.

In 1980, Clark, armed with a graduate degree in Slavic languages from Ohio State University, applied and was rejected for work at the CIA and the Library of Congress. He finally got a government job as a paralegal for the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1996, where he held a security clearance to see information classified "secret."

The FBI ran a sting operation against Clark in April, the affidavit said, sending an agent disguised as a Russian intelligence officer to meet him five times, recording his musings about throwing a microfilm camera into the Potomac River after East Germany dissolved, handing over secret documents in Berlin and trying to recruit a Commerce Department official with whom he smoked marijuana.

Pub Date: 10/07/97

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