Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Original Classification: 
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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 7, 2011
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Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
August 8, 1986
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PDF icon CIA-RDP90-00965R000706630009-4.pdf89.93 KB
Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/07: CIA-RDP90-00965R000706630009-4 /1R I I1.1..G nr , ON PAGE SOVIET ANNOUNCES A GRANT OF ASYLUM TO EX-C.I.A. AGENT He Vanished in September - Concern Over U.S. Security Voiced in Washington BY PIUUP TAUIMAN SpeWto no MW yak man MOSCOW, Aug. 7 - The Soviet Union said today that it had granted asylum to a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency who disap. peared last September under suspicion of selling secrets to Moscow. According to the Government press agency Tass, the former C.I.A. man, Edward L. Howard, told the Soviet au- thorities in seeking asylum that he had "to hide from the U.S. secret services, which were persecuting him without foundation." In Washington, officials said Mr. Howard's defection and his disclosures about what he knows about American intelligence had done. immeasurable damage to national security. U.S. Feared Defection to Soviet Since the night in September when he abandoned his family and fled into the New Mexico desert, American intelli- gence officials have feared that Mr. Howard would reappear in the Soviet Union and reveal intelligence tech- niques. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Ver- mont Democrat who is vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelli- gence, said: "Certainly if a C.I.A. agent defects to the Soviet union, it damages us. It is a matter of concern to all of us." Mr. Howard is believed to be the first C.I.A. employee to defect to the Soviet Union. In 1980, two employees of the National Security Agency, Bernon F. Mitchell and William H. Martin, turned up here. Another employee of the Na- tional Security Agency, Victor Norris Hamilton, defected in 1983. 'Humanitarisa C.oaWWatIs ' In the Howard can, a brief Tan an- nouncement said, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was "guided by las. manitarian considerations" in grant- ing asylum. The Presidium is the Soviet Union's collective presidency, headed by Andrei A. Gromyko. The re- port gave no other details. The whereabouts of Mr. Howard has NEW YORK TIMES 8 August 1986 been unknown since last September, when he disappeared from his home outside Santa Fe, N. M. He was working as a budget analyst for the New Mexico Legislature at the time. His disappearance was an embar- rassment for the C.I.A. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had been investigating his links to the Soviet Union at the time. F.B.I. agents had his home under surveillance when he eluded them on a moonless night. Mr. Howard was suspected of giving the Soviet Union information about C.I.A. activities in Moscow that he had acquired while training for an assign. ment here. He was never sent to Mos- cow, and he left the C.I.A. In June 1983. American intelligence officials have described his links with the Soviet Union, which are believed to have begun after he left the agency, as dam- aging to C.I.A. operations here, includ. ing the work of agents and their han. dling of Soviet informants. Mr. Howard's move to the Soviet Union brings full circle a Byzantine spy case that began last year with the ap- parent defection to the West of Vitaly S. Yurchenko, identified by the C.I.A. as a senior officer of the K.G.B., the Soviet intelligence agency. Named by Yurchenko American officials said last year that Mr. Yurchenko had identified Mr. Howard as a Soviet double agent. Mr. Yurchenko made a dramatic return to the Soviet Union in November, can. tending that he had been kidnapped and tortured by the C.I.A. Mr. Yurchenko also told the Amer. icans that Ronald W. Pelton, a former employee of the National Security l Agency, had provided the Soviet Union with secret information. Mr. Pelton was convicted in June of having sold se- crets to Moscow. There is continuing dispute whether Mr. Yurchenko was a genuine defector who later changed his mind, or an agent sent to the West to disrupt intelli- gence operations. American officials said in October that Mr. Howard might have helped the Soviet authorities apprehend a Soviet citizen who was providing military in- formation to the United States. Mr. Howard, according to the officials, pro- vided information that led to the arrest of the Russian, A G. Tolkachev. Mr. Howard, after disappearing in September, was variously reported in Central and South america and in Eu- rope. One report traced him to Finland, but there was no confirmation. He had worked for the C.I.A. from January 1981 to June 1983. The Washington Post said recently that while Mr. Howard was training for an assignment in Moscow, he was given Information about how agents op. erate, but not the names of agents. The Post said his assign ment had been canceled after he failed to pass a lie detector test and was found to have a drinking problem. After he was dismissed in 1983, he moved to Santa Fe with his wife and son, taking a job in the New Mexico Legislature. American officials have said they be.. lieve he began selling information to the Soviet Union in 1984 and made sev- eral trips to Europe to meet with Soviet agents. Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/07: CIA-RDP90-00965R000706630009-4