Former US official sentenced to life in prison for espionage
Jul 16, 2010, 18:29 GMT
Washington - A former US State Department official has been sentenced to life in prison for spying, while his wife was ordered to spend nearly seven years behind bars for helping to pass highly classified information to Cuba, the Justice Department said Friday.
Walter Kendall Myers, 73, and wife Gwendolyn, 71, pleaded guilty in November to espionage charges and acting as agents for the Cuban government. Myers had also admitted to passing top secret information in a conversation with an undercover FBI agent, the Justice Department said.
A judge announced the sentences in a federal court in Washington.
'For nearly 30 years, this couple proudly committed espionage on behalf of a long-standing foreign adversary,' said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. 'Today, they are being held accountable for their actions.'
Before retiring in October 2007, Myers worked for more than two decades as a Europe analyst in the State Department's intelligence agency, known as the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
The arrests followed a three-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department's security outfit. In April an undercover FBI agent posing as a Cuban intelligence officer persuaded the couple to meet with him.
Upon request, the couple agreed to provide information on US officials responsible for Latin America. They also acknowledged receiving encrypted messages via shortwave radio from Cuban intelligence agencies, and travelling abroad to meet with Cuban officials.
They were arrested in June 2009.