Navy Analyst Leaked Spy Photos To Educate Americans On Soviet Activity
BALTIMORE (AP) _ A Navy intelligence specialist testified today that information a Navy analyst is accused of leaking to a military magazine could have given the Soviet Union an idea of how good U.S. intelligence was.
Capt. Robert Chapin Jr., a former analyst with the Naval Intelligence Support Center, said information from the agency’s classified internal report, called the ″weekly wires,″ could help the Soviets learn what information the United States receives through its spy networks.
Information from those reports allegedly was given by Samuel Loring Morison to Jane’s Defence Weekly, a British military journal.
″Given that information, a Soviet agent can identify the window we are looking out and hold things before that window and control what we see,″ Chapin said.
Morison, on trial on espionage charges, is accused of leaking information about an explosion at a Soviet ammunition depot and giving three classified photographs to Jane’s. Chapin was the eighth prosecution witness called in the trial, which went into its third day today.
On Wednesday, the jury received a statement by Morison in which he said he sent the pictures to the magazine because he wanted the American people to know what the Soviets were doing.
Morison admitted in the statement, made several hours after his arrest Oct. 1, 1984, that he mailed three U.S. satellite photographs of Soviet ship construction to Jane’s in July of that year, Navy intelligence investigator David Swindle testified Wednesday.
Swindle and two FBI agents questioned Morison, 40, of Crofton, the night of his arrest.
The confession was ruled inadmissible as evidence last March by U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Young on grounds that FBI agents should have halted talks with Morison when he requested an attorney.
But in a surprise move Wednesday, Morison’s attorneys withdrew their objection to use of his confession as evidence.
Questioned by reporters, defense attorney Mark Lynch would not say why the defense team decided to allow prosecutors to use the confession. ″It will come out,″ Lynch said.
Swindle said Morison made the admission after investigators confronted him with a transcript of a letter he wrote to a Jane’s editor.
The letter, according to the copy gleaned from Morison’s typewriter ribbon, said, ″If the American people knew what the Soviets were doing, they would increase the defense budget,″ Swindle said.
″I suggested (to him) this was his way of educating the American people,″ Swindle said. ″Sam (Morison) looked up and said, ’You hit it.‴
Morison is also accused of giving Jane’s information about an explosion at a Soviet ammunitions depot in Severomorsk from the agency’s classified ″weekly wires.″ If convicted, he faces four years in prison and a $40,000.
Earlier Wednesday, deputy CIA director Richard E. Hineman testified that publication of three satellite photographs allegedly leaked by Morison helped inform the Soviet Union of the U.S. satellite’s capabilities.
Hineman said the photographs could tell the Soviets the location of the satellite, its photographic capabilities and the status of U.S. intelligence about the aircraft carrier. The photos were taken in July 1984 and published by Jane’s later that month.
But on cross-examination, he said the Soviets could have gained the same type of information from photographs taken by the same satellite and published by Aviation Week in Dec. 12, 1981, or from the satellite’s manual, which was leaked to the Soviets in 1978.
The manual was published before the satellite began operating in December 1976, so the Soviets would not know how the satellite actually worked, Hineman said. But the satellite did operate the way it was supposed to, he said.
Defense attorneys, including officials of the American Civil Liberties Union, have contended that prosecuting Morison for espionage undermines First Amendment rights by threatening espionage prosecution against government officials who leak documents or news reporters who use leaked information.
Morison worked full time at the Naval Intelligence Support Center in Suitland and part time as U.S. editor of Jane’s annual publications and as a contributor to Jane’s Defence Weekly.