Kendall Myers
Myers' FBI mugshot, c. 2009
Born
Walter Kendall Myers

(1937-04-15) April 15, 1937 (age 87)
Alma materJohns Hopkins University (PhD)
Occupationformer FSI official
Criminal charges
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment without possibility of parole
Criminal statusIncarcerated at MCFP Springfield
Spouse
Gwendolyn Myers
(m. 1982)
Espionage activity
Country USA
Allegiance Cuba
Service years1977–2009
CodenameAgent 202

Walter Kendall Myers (born April 15, 1937)[1] is a former U.S. State Department employee who, with his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, was arrested and indicted on June 4, 2009, on charges of spying for Cuba for nearly 30 years.[2][3][4] He was convicted of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment by a U.S. federal court in July 2010.

Background

Kendall Myers is the grandson of Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor and great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell.[5] He is also related to William Howard Taft through his father. He was educated at Mercersburg Academy,[6] a private preparatory boarding school in the borough of Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, followed by Brown University in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, from which he graduated, and earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in the city of Baltimore, Maryland.[5] In 1977 he began working for the U.S. State Department as a Contract Instructor at its Foreign Service Institute,[7] and for 20 years had been a part-time faculty member at Johns Hopkins' Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.[7] From 2000 until his retirement in October 2007, he worked as a European analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). Myers’ State Department service was primarily in domestic positions. His spouse, Gwendolyn Myers, was never employed by the U.S. Department of State.[4]

US–UK "special relationship" controversy

In November 2006, Myers created controversy by describing the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom as "one sided" and a "myth."[8][9] He said that he was "ashamed" of the treatment of Prime Minister Tony Blair by US President George W. Bush. Then UK MP Denis MacShane responded, "After the Republican defeat in the midterm election, every little rat who feasted during the Bush years is now leaving the ship. I would respect this gentleman, who I have never heard of, if he had had the guts to make any of these points two or five years ago."[9]

The US State Department distanced itself from Myers' comments, stating, "He was speaking as an academic, not as a representative of the State Department."[9]

Espionage charge

On June 4, 2009, Myers and his wife were arrested and charged with acting as an illegal agent of and providing classified information to the Cuban government for nearly 30 years, as well as wire fraud.[10][11] Authorities said the Myers' were caught by an FBI undercover operation and had been spying for Cuba for "nearly three decades."[12] Myers’ arrest was the culmination of a three-year joint FBI/Department of State Diplomatic Security Service investigation. Based on general information provided by the FBI, the Diplomatic Security Service conducted a comprehensive internal investigation that resulted in the identification of Myers as the probable Cuban agent, and ultimately led to his arrest.[4] The authorities also said that Myers usually relied on his memory or notes for information rather than stealing documents.[12] The couple allegedly used shortwave radio to communicate with Cuban intelligence and also were said to have met with Cuban agents in numerous locations both inside and outside the United States.[12] Myers told undercover agents that he had spent an evening with Fidel Castro in 1995.[12]

Alleged motive

It is alleged that the Myers' actions may not have been prompted by greed, but more by ideology.[11] According to a "law enforcement official," they were "true believers" in the Cuban system.[11] The United States federal affidavit quoted a diary entry by Kendall Myers as saying, "I can see nothing of value that has been lost by the revolution. The revolution has released enormous potential and liberated the Cuban spirit,"[11] and referred to Fidel Castro as "one of the great political leaders of our time."[13] Other entries reference a comparison of health care in the United States and healthcare in Cuba, and "complacency about the poor" in the United States.[11]

Court case

The Myers' pleaded guilty on November 20, 2009, at a hearing before Judge Reggie Walton in a U.S. District Court. Myers, 72, pled guilty to a three-count criminal investigation charging him with conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud. His wife pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging her with conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information. As part of his plea agreement, Kendall Myers agreed to serve a life prison sentence and to cooperate fully with the United States government regarding any criminal activity and intelligence activity by him or others. As part of her plea agreement, Gwendolyn agreed to serve a sentence of between six and seven and a half years in prison and to cooperate fully with the government.[14][15]

On July 16, 2010, Kendall Myers was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole,[16] and Gwendolyn was sentenced to a total of 81 months in prison.[17] Myers is currently incarcerated at MCFP Springfield in Missouri.

Reaction

United States

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a damage assessment be done to investigate the extent of harm done to US security.[13] In addition, Clinton directed the State Department to conduct a comprehensive damage assessment in coordination with the intelligence community in line with established damages protocols and regulations.[4]

Cuba

I can't help but admire their disinterested and courageous conduct on behalf of Cuba. Those who in one form or another have helped to protect the Cuban people from the terrorist plans and assassination plots organised by various U.S. administrations have done so at the initiative of their own conscience and are deserving, in my judgment, of all the honours in the world.

— Fidel Castro, days after the Myers couple's arrest [18]

Upon hearing the news of Myers' arrest, Castro stated that the case read like "an espionage comic strip."[18] The former Cuban dictator declined to say whether the Myers couple really had passed secrets to the Cuban government, but added that they deserved praise if they did.[18]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Treason from within"Archived 2014-12-17 at the Wayback Machine by Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive
  2. ^ "Couple indicted on charges of spying for Cuba". NBC News. June 5, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  3. ^ Cuban Spies Arrested "Arrest of Walter Kendall Myers". Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  4. ^ a b c d "Arrest of Walter Kendall Myers". Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  5. ^ a b Jason Ryan; Theresa Cook; Lisa Chinn (June 5, 2009). "Couple Accused of Spying for Cuba". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  6. ^ Mary Beth Sheridan and Del Quentin Wilber (June 7, 2009). "D.C. Couple's Disdain for U.S. Policies May Have Led to Alleged Spying for Cuba". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Del Quentin Wilber; Mary Beth Sheridan (June 6, 2009). "State Dept. Retiree Accused of Spying". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  8. ^ Toby Harnden (June 5, 2009). "Ex-US State official Kendall Myers and wife Gwendolyn charged with spying for Cuba". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  9. ^ a b c Tom Baldwin; Philip Webster (November 30, 2006). "US State Department official – relationship is one-sided". timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  10. ^ Myers' indictment
  11. ^ a b c d e "Ex-State official, wife accused of spying for Cuba". CNN.com. June 5, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d "D.C. Couple Is Indicted on Charges of Spying for Cuba". washingtonpost.com. June 5, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Retired U.S. State Official, Wife Indicted on Charges of Spying for Cuba". foxnews.com. June 5, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  14. ^ Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations for 2012: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2011. ISBN 978-0-16-088646-1.
  15. ^ "Former State Department Official and Wife Plead Guilty in 30-Year Espionage Conspiracy". U.S. Department of Justice. 20 November 2009.
  16. ^ "Former State Department Official Sentenced to Life in Prison for Nearly 30-year Espionage Conspiracy, Wife of Official Sentenced to Nearly Seven Years in Prison for Her Role". U.S. Department of Justice. 16 July 2010.
  17. ^ Yost, Pete (16 July 2010). "In Cuban spy case, man gets life, wife 5 years". MSNBC. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  18. ^ a b c Alleged Cuban Spies Given Praise From Castro by The Huffington Post, June 8, 2009