Quantico Board Gives Williams Administrative Discharge
QUANTICO, Va. (AP) _ Marine Cpl. Robert J. Williams, who was accused of lying to military investigators about spying at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, has received a general discharge from the Marines, a spokesman said Saturday.
″My life’s a wreck, but I just wanted everyone to know the Marines didn’t betray their country,″ said Williams, 24, of New York City, who received the discharge notice a few days before his six-year term of enlistment was to expire.
A three-member administrative discharge board, which could have decided to retain Williams in the Marine Corps, announced its decision Wednesday, said Warrant Officer Randy Gaddo, spokesman at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in northern Virginia.
Williams received a general discharge ″under honorable conditions,″ Gaddo said.
Williams claims the Marine Corps is punishing him because he accused Naval Investigative Service agents of pressuring Marines to falsely confess to spying.
″They wanted to frame somebody, and I wouldn’t go with it,″ he said.
Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, commander of the base, decided in September not to court-martial Williams for allegedly lying to the NIS. The issue is now moot.
Petersen referred the case to the discharge board on Sept. 18, Gaddo said.
The Marine Corps alleged that Williams lied to investigators either when he gave statements that incriminated fellow Marine guards in espionage or when he later recanted those statements.
Williams, who served at the Moscow Embassy from March to September of 1986, was charged with nine counts of making false statements to NIS agents and two counts of perjury.
Once Williams returned to the United States, he reversed his earlier testimony and said he had been pressured into making the statements.
Williams told NIS agents about cooperation between Soviets and Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, Sgt. Robert Stufflebeam, Cpl. Arnold Bracy and others in the Marine detachment during the summer of 1986.
Lonetree was convicted in August of espionage and other charges that involved the trading of sexual favors for state secrets. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Stufflebeam was convicted Sept. 10 on two misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty. He was reduced in rank but received no prison sentence.
Spying charges against Bracy eventually were dropped.