Navy order harms client, attorney says

Lawyer for ex-NSA staffer accused of espionage can't meet client alone

March 11, 2000|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

An attorney for a Navy cryptography expert arrested in October on charges of providing Russia with classified information, filed a motion yesterday arguing that the Navy has prevented him from meeting alone with his client and has carried out a "media campaign" meant to destroy his client's character.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel M. King, 40, an 18-year veteran formerly based at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, was charged in November with espionage after Navy officials said he provided Russian officials at the Washington embassy a computer disk in 1994.

The disk allegedly contained information about U.S. eavesdropping.

In the motion filed in the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals in Washington, King's attorney took the Navy to task for leaking certain details of the case, calling their version "misleading" and "misinformation."

He also disputed widely reported Defense Department statements that King confessed to the crime after he failed a routine polygraph test.

Jonathan Turley, King's attorney, argues in the 24-page brief that his client signed a written statement apparently agreeing to some of the charges only after he was interrogated 15 hours a day and "subjected to weeks of abusive and unlawful confinement" without an attorney.

Turley writes that King told investigators that he did not believe what he was signing was true.

Larry Jackson, spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Navy's investigative arm, said yesterday that they had not seen the filing and could not comment on an open investigation.

King has been held at the brig at Quantico, Va. An Article 32 hearing, the Navy's equivalent of a grand jury hearing, is scheduled for Friday.

Turley's motion is in response to a March 2 order from Vice Admiral J. S. Mobley of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet that imposes a ban on any meetings between Turley and King that are not supervised by a security officer.

"The protective order in this case is tantamount to a denial of effective counsel," Turley said yesterday.

He said there is nothing in case law that would prohibit the security officer supervising his visits from then testifying about what he overheard.

Turley said that his efforts to provide a defense have been further hampered by the Navy's refusal to release routine documents, saying that they are classified.

King is accused of spying while he worked for the Naval Security Group at NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, helping the agency intercept electronic messages of foreign nations.

Since then, he has held sensitive positions with the Navy's Atlantic Command in Norfolk, Va., and at the Naval Communications Station in Guam.

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