Related topics

Miller Gave Lover Document ‘Of Interest to Soviets,’ FBI Testifies

September 4, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The FBI’s top polygraph expert told jurors at the espionage trial of Richard W. Miller that when the ex-FBI agent was asked how he got into so much trouble, he replied only, ″Svetlana Ogorodnikov.″

Paul K. Minor, chief of the FBI’s lie detector squad, also testified Tuesday that Miller admitted giving Mrs. Ogorodnikov, his lover, a classified document chosen because ″he thought that would be an item of interest to the Soviets.″

Minor said he was one of several FBI officials from Washington who grilled Miller, the only FBI agent ever tried for espionage, in the five days before his arrest Oct. 2, 1984.

Miller, 48, is charged with passing classified documents to the Soviets in exchange for $65,000 in cash and gold. He faces life imprisonment.

Mrs. Ogorodnikov has confessed she was a Soviet spy during her four-month relationship with Miller. She and her husband, Nikolay, who pleaded guilty during their earlier trial, were sentenced to prison.

Minor, corroborating the previous testimony of other FBI interrogators, said Miller made a series of admissions which culminated in his statement that he carefully had selected a document to give Mrs. Ogorodnikov - a 53-page FBI reporting guide on foreign intelligence information.

Minor said his own series of interviews began in a straightforward manner.

″I believe my exact question to Mr. Miller was, ’How did you end up here today? How did you end up in this predicament?‴

″And what was his response?″ asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Hayman.

″Svetlana Ogorodnikov,″ replied Minor.

The polygraph expert said Miller told him that other classified documents FBI agents found at his home were a ″pool he would take to Vienna,″ Minor said Miller told him.

Previous testimony has indicated that Mrs. Ogorodnikov and Miller had planned to fly to Vienna, Austria, to meet with Soviet intelligence officials.

Minor said he never actually administered a lie detector test to Miller because there were too many things the defendant said he did not remember.

Miller’s claim of a faulty memory was cited by previous witnesses, including agent Larry Torrence, who testified Tuesday that Miller even offered to undergo hypnosis to jog his memory about what secrets he had disclosed to Mrs. Ogorodnikov.

Torrence indicated the hypnosis offer was never seriously considered.

″I said we’d look into it,″ he noted.

Torrence also said Miller admitted giving two classified documents to Mrs. Ogorodnikov but identified only one of them, the foreign intelligence reporting guide, and insisted he could not remember anything about the other paper.

″I found it hard to beleve he couldn’t remember anything about something that significant,″ Torrence said. ″He said as he got older his memory became worse and he was frustrated about that.″

Minor corroborated Torrence’s testimony that Miller had volunteered to sign a confession on the final day of his interrogation.

″At one point ... Mr. Miller stated, ’Just write out any statement you want and I’ll sign it,‴ Minor said.

Jurors have now heard four different FBI men give virtually identical accounts of Miller’s admissions.

Perhaps most damaging was Torrence’s disclosure earlier this week that Miller not only admitted giving Mrs. Ogorodnikov the classified intelligence reporting guide but drew a diagram of exactly where they were standing when the exchange took place.

Miller’s attorney, Joel Levine, attempting to blunt the impact of Torrence’s statements, has tried to show that Miller was exhausted and frustrated after five days of interrorgation when he made various admissions.

The prosecution was expected to rest its case later this week.