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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
July 14, 2010
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Publication Date: 
August 8, 1986
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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/14: CIA-RDP91-00587R000200880038-5 r.R ^X . BALTIMORE SUN S3NPACE 8 August 1986 Moscow says ex-CIA agent ven as lum. ~ Y American accused of spying vanished. from home last fall From Wire Reports MOSCOW - A fugitive former CIA agent suspected of passing dam. aging secrets that may have led to the execution of a top spy working for the United States in Moscow has defected to the Soviet Union, Tass reported yesterday. ~Tass, the Soviet news agency, said the Presidium of the Su- preme Soviet. or parliament, guided by "humanitarian considerations," from had granted 3a request for asylum 34-year-old Edward Lee How- ard. "He has stated that the motive for his request is that he has to hide from U.S. secret services which per- secute him without foundation," Tass said. No further details were immedi- ately available. and the U.S. Embas- sy said: "If Howard has anything to say, he can say it for himself." Defections to the Soviet Union are comparatively rare. British spies Kim Philby. Guy Burgess and Don- ald Maclean defected to the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1960, Bernon Mitchell and William Martin, code breakers with the Na- tional Security Agency, also switched sides and fled-to Moscow. Mr. Howard's defection - the first by a CIA agent - was reported the same day that two Soviet high- wire artists, a husband and wife. de- fected to the United States after flee- ing the Moscow Circus while it toured The Soviet ~Argentina. newspa- per Izvestia published a brief an. nouncement of Mr. Howard's defec. tion on its back page. It did not say Mr. Howard was accused of spying and described him only as "a U.S. citizen (and) a former CIA officer." The statement did not say when Mr. STATE entered the Soviet Union. ui Washington. CIA spokeswom- Kathy Pherson said she could not nfirm or deny izvestta's report. U.S. law enforcement authorities last year accused Mr. Howard of Passing the eSovi Union intelligence data might have led to the arrest of some Intel- ligence agents working for the Amer. icans in Moscow and to the execu- tion of at least one. Sources said Mr. Howard had worked for the CIA's clandestine ser- vice from 1981 to 1983 and may have provided details on how the United States gathered sensitive in- telligence information from the Sovi- et Union. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, vice chair- man of the Select Committee on in. telligence, said yesterday that Mr. Howard had, done "serious damage to the U.S. intelligence effort in the Soviet Union. tol, Speaking to reporters in the Capi- Capi- y, D-Vt., said: "Whenev- er the KGB (Soviet spy agency) has had someone defect to the United States, It has caused damage to the Soviet Union, so it's only logical to assume that when we have a defec- tor, it damages the United States." The CIA fired Mr. Howard in 1983 for misconduct, and he appar- ently began selling sensitivg infor- mation to Soviet agents, the sources said. His motives appeared to be money and a desire for revenge for his dismissal, they said On leaving the CIA. Mr. Howard moved to New Mexico and took a low-paying Job as an economic ana- lyst with the state legislature there. After he came under suspicion, he was followed and watched by FBI agents but managed to slip away from his home in Santa Fe one night last September and disappeared. Acquaintances of Mr. Howard said yesterday they were not sur- prised to learn he had sought asy- lum in the Soviet Union. "My first thought was, he was of- fered asylum," said Kate Gallegos. a family friend. She wondered wheth- er Mr. Howard's wife, Mary, would be able to meet with him. Authorities suspect Mrs. Howard knew of the alleged sale of CIA se- crets to the Soviet Union and helped her husband escape. She moved away May 31, apparently to Minne- sota. where her family lives. Phili R. er said, "We certainly give a lot of tor e New . e e ei Uve direc- of th Mexico Leslative M. credence to the Soviets' public re- nance Committee, whoogifoound Mr. marks. We have no reason to believe Howard's letter of resignation on his they are untrue." desk Sept. 23, said he was not sur- prised to learn of Mr. Howard's ap- parent defection. 1 haven't been surprised from the beginning, because I had been interviewed by the FBI," said Mr. Ba- ca. "I feel sorry for the family." U.S. Intelligence sources said Mr. Howard had been Identified as a Kremlin spy by Soviet defector Vita- ly Yurchenko, a KGB officer who re- quested sanctuary in the West last year but then re-defected to the Sovi- et Union. Mr. Yurchenko said he had been abducted by CIA agents and had never defected at all . The Los Angeles Times quoted Informed sources last month as say- dent Reagan classified report sent to P ize(j the CIA and FBI for 'mishandling- the case of Mr. Howard. The Paper said the report by the President's F Intelligence Ad- visory Board singled out the top CIA spymaster's office for overiooking re- peated blunders in Mr. Howard's hii~ screening and eventual dis- It said Mr. Howard's troubles went undetected until shortly before he was to be sent to Moscow, where he reportedly was to become a "case officer" for one of the CIA's most valuable informants. Moscow Although the CIA canceled the Times quoted~ the~report as saying both the agency and the FBI later failed to ensure that the disillusioned SPY did not sell secrets. Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/14: CIA-RDP91-00587R000200880038-5