Protecting America's Secrets

September 20, 1985

Report Outline
Big Year for Spy Cases
Security vs. Rights
Penalties and Prevention
Special Focus

Big Year for Spy Cases

The Walker Case and the Spy Trial Surge

Americans May look back on 1985 as the “Year of the Spy.” Federal investigators believe they have broken up one of the most damaging spy rings to be uncovered in decades. John Anthony Walker Jr., the alleged mastermind of a plot to sell U.S. military secrets to the Soviet Union, is scheduled to stand trial in Baltimore beginning Oct. 28. The trials of his son and a close Navy friend will follow. His brother, Arthur James Walker, who has already been convicted of espionage.

Others, including an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), are under indictment for espionage. Over the past 10 years, 41 people have been arrested for spying against the United States, and all who have faced trial have been convicted.

The year's spy scandals have not been restricted to the United States. In August, a top West German intelligence officer defected to East Germany. And while it is not espionage in the strict sense of the word, the alleged bombing of the Greenpeace ship by French intelligence agents has seriously embarrassed the government of President François Mitterrand. The Soviet Union's spy operations in Britain were compromised in mid-September when its top intelligence officer in London defected, and it was revealed that he had been a double agent for more than a decade.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Government Secrecy
Feb. 11, 2011  Government Secrecy
Oct. 23, 2009  Conspiracy Theories
Dec. 02, 2005  Government Secrecy
Jan. 16, 1987  National Security Council
Sep. 20, 1985  Protecting America's Secrets
Feb. 16, 1979  Freedom of Information Act: A Reappraisal
Aug. 18, 1971  Secrecy in Government
Aug. 18, 1971  Secrecy in Government
Feb. 07, 1968  Credibility Gaps and the Presidency
Aug. 07, 1957  Secrecy and Security
Dec. 21, 1955  Secrecy in Government
Feb. 23, 1955  Security Risks and the Public Safety
Jun. 24, 1953  Access to Official Information
Feb. 25, 1948  Protection of Official Secrets
Jan. 29, 1929  Secret Sessions of the Senate
Death Penalty
Freedom of Speech and Press
Military Intelligence