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Notable US Spies Fast Facts

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CNN —  

Here is a look at some US citizens who have been convicted of spying against the United States.

Aldrich Ames

1962 - Aldrich Ames, son of a CIA analyst, joins the agency as a low-level documents analyst.

1967-1968 - Enters the Career Trainee Program at the CIA and becomes an operations officer.

1970s - Specializes in Soviet/Russian intelligence services.

April 16, 1985 - Volunteers to spy against the United States to KGB agents at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC. He receives a payment of $50,000.

1986-1989 - Ames is stationed in Rome and continues to pass information to Soviet agents. He is paid approximately $1.8 million during this period.

Late 1980s - The CIA and FBI learn that a number of Russian double agents have been arrested and some executed.

May 1993 - The FBI begins investigating Ames, with both physical and electronic surveillance.

February 21, 1994 - Ames and his wife, Rosario, are arrested in Arlington, Virginia, by the FBI, accused of spying for the Soviet Union and later, Russia. It is estimated that Ames has received approximately $2.5 million from Russia and the Soviet Union for his years of spying.

April 28, 1994 - Ames pleads guilty and is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In October 1994, Ames’ wife receives 63 months in prison.

October 31, 1995 - CIA Director John Deutch testifies before Congress about the scope of Ames’ espionage. He states that more than 100 US spies were compromised and that tainted intelligence was given to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

David Boone

1970-1991 - David Boone serves in the US Army as a signals intelligence analyst. During the late 1980s, he is assigned to the National Security Agency as a senior cryptologic traffic analyst.

October 1988 - In the midst of a divorce and financial problems, Boone goes to the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC, and offers to spy on the United States. He is paid about $20,000 a year for his work over the next three years. He continues spying after being transferred to a post in Germany.

1991 - Boone loses his security clearance and retires from the Army, remaining in Germany.

1998 - He is contacted by a retired FBI agent posing as a Russian agent. The agent meets with Boone in London and the United States and pays him $9,000 to return to spying for Russia.

October 14, 1998 - Boone is charged with passing defense documents to the Soviet Union. He pleads guilty in December 1998.

February 26, 1999 - He is sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins

1996 - Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins makes visits to Russia to meet with their intelligence agents. He is given a code name and signs a settlement “attesting that he wanted to serve” them.

1998-2005 - Debbins joins the Army, where he serves in chemical units before being selected for the US Army Special Forces.

August 21, 2020 - The Department of Justice announces that Debbins has been charged with providing information about US national defenses to Russian agents.

May 14, 2021 - The DOJ announces that Debbins is sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for conspiring with Russian agents to provide them with US defense intelligence.

Noshir Gowadia

1968-1986 - Noshir Gowadia is employed by Northrop Grumman where he works on technology relating to the B-2 Spirit Bomber, aka the “Stealth” bomber.

July 2003-June 2005 - Travels to China six times to “provide defense services in the form of design, test support and test data analysis of technologies to assist the PRC with a cruise missile system by developing a stealthy exhaust nozzle.” He is paid over $100,000 during this period.

October 2005 - Arrested and charged with passing national defense information to China. Superseding indictments are issued in 2006 and 2007.

August 9, 2010 - Gowadia is found guilty.

January 24, 2011 - He is sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Robert Hanssen

January 12, 1976 - Robert Hanssen joins the FBI.

1979 - Begins spying for the Soviet Union.

1980 - Begins working for the counterintelligence unit, focusing on the Soviet Union.

1981 - Transfers to FBI headquarters, initially tracking white-collar crime and monitoring foreign officials assigned to the United States. He is later assigned to the Soviet Analytical Unit.

1981 - Hanssen’s wife catches him with classified documents and convinces him to stop spying.

October 4, 1985 - Resumes spying.

1991 - Breaks off relations with the KGB.

1999 - Resumes spying, this time for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

2000 - The FBI identifies Hanssen from a fingerprint and from a tape recording supplied by a disgruntled Russian intelligence operative. The FBI also obtains the complete original KGB dossier on Hanssen.

December 2000 - The FBI begins surveillance of Hanssen.

February 18, 2001 - Hanssen is arrested in a Virginia park after making a drop of classified documents. Agents find a bag nearby containing $50,000 that they believe is Hanssen’s payment for the documents.

July 6, 2001 - Pleads guilty to 15 counts of espionage and conspiracy in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.

May 10, 2002 - He is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ana Montes

1984 - Ana Montes is recruited to spy for Cuba. She is never paid for her spying.

1985-2001 - She is employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency as an analyst. She is promoted several times, eventually becoming the DIA’s top Cuba analyst.

Fall 2000 - The FBI and DIA begin investigating Montes.

September 11, 2001 - In response to attacks on the United States, Montes is named acting division chief, which gives her access to the plans to attack Afghanistan and the Taliban.

September 21, 2001 - Montes is arrested in Washington, DC, and is charged with conspiracy to deliver defense information to Cuba.

March 20, 2002 - Pleads guilty to espionage and is sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Walter Kendall Myers

1977 - Walter Kendall Myers begins working for the US State Department on contract, as an instructor.

1978 - Myers travels to Cuba and is recruited by Cuban intelligence.

1979 - Myers and his girlfriend [later his wife], Gwendolyn, begin spying for Cuba. It is believed they receive little to no payment for their services.

1985 - He is hired by the State Dept. as a senior analyst.

October 31, 2007 - Myers retires from the State Dept.

June 4, 2009 - The Myers are arrested.

November 20, 2009 - He pleads guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit espionage. Gwendolyn Myers pleads guilty to conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information.

July 16, 2010 - Myers is sentenced to life in prison. His wife is sentenced to 81 months.

Harold James Nicholson

1980 - Harold Nicholson joins the CIA after serving in the United States Army.

1982-1989 - Nicholson works for the CIA in the Philippines, Thailand and Japan.

1992-1994 - Deputy Chief of Station/Operations Officer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

June 1994-November 1996 - Provides Russian Intelligence with sensitive information.

November 16, 1996 - Arrested at Dulles International Airport carrying classified CIA information.