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FOREIGN INTEL AGENT CASE: Yuri N. Pakhtusov

Name

PAKHTUSOV, Yuri N.

Photo

Employer

USSR Red Army (GRU)

Dates of Employment

Attaché Position: June 1988 – 9 March 1989

Employee Type

Uniformed Officer (Soviet Army)

Job Title/Duties

Assistant Military Attaché

Military Rank

Lieutenant Colonel

Clearance Level

Spying For

USSR (GRU)

Codename

Spying Dates

June 1988 – 9 March 1989

Ages when spying

34

Co-conspirators

Methodology

Timeline

June 1988: Arrived in the United States as an assistant military attaché with the Soviet Military Mission.

August 1988: PAKHTUSOV approached an American employee of a defense contractor attempting to obtain documents dealing with how the United States government protects classified and other sensitive information pertaining to computer systems.

Possible Motivations, Problems

Ideological. PAKHTUSOV was an active Lieutenant Colonel in the Soviet Army and a representative of the USSR in the United States. His motivations were clearly to aid his own country, the Soviet Union.

Finances

Identified/ Investigation

August 1988: After PAKHTUSOV approached the American defense contractor, that individual reported the approaches to US authorities.

1988 - 1989: The FBI sets up a sting operation to catch PAKHTUSOV in the act of attempting to obtain classified information. According to reports, a government contractor with a computer systems company, who was working with the FBI, provided classified material to PAKHTUSOV.

8 March 1989: Undercover FBI agents apprehended PAKHTUSOV while he was at his home in Washington DC. Soviet officials asserted that he was denied his right to immediately contact the Soviet Embassy to alert them of the incident. Soviet officials also claimed he was subjected to physical force, and denied shoes and an overcoat when he was apprehended.

Arrest Date/Location

8 March, 1989, Washington DC

Charges

Was not formally charged.

Court

N/A

Lawyers

N/A

Status

9 March 1989: Declared a persona non grata in the United States and ordered out of the country. PAKHTUSOV was guilty of "engaging in activities incompatible with his diplomatic status.”

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, foreign diplomats have immunity against criminal prosecution, but the host country may expel them ''at any time and without having to explain its decision.”

15 March 1989: The Soviet Union expelled American attaché Lieut. Col. Daniel Francis Van Gundy, an assistant army attaché in retaliation to the United States' expulsion of PAKHTUSOV.

Date/Place of Birth

1954

Citizenship

USSR (Russia)

Residences

Education

Family

Other Employment

Additional Bio

Documents

Quotes

''We don't see any reason why the Soviets should retaliate. Pakhtusov was engaged in illegal activities, and the Soviets know we will protect our national security. This incident should not affect U.S.-Soviet relations.'' –US State Department Official

"It is a provocation, uncalled for and unjustified. It does not fit in with the trend for the positive development of Soviet-American relations. It is an artificially cooked scenario clumsily carried out by the FBI.” –Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov

"I would classify this as an instance of gross provocation staged by those people in the United States who are reluctant to accept improvements in Soviet-American relations. Of course, the full responsibility will rest on U.S. special services for what happened." -- Gennady I. Gerasimov

Case Links

Books, Video, Audio

News

 U.S. Charges Russian With Spying And Says He Will Be Sent Hom

The United States said today that it was expelling a Soviet military attaché who was detained Wednesday night and accused of espionage. The State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that the Soviet diplomat, Lieut. Col. Yuri N. Pakhtusov, had received classified documents from an American employee of a company that does business with the United States Government. The documents described techniques used to protect classified information in Government computers, they said. It was not immediately clear whether the Soviets would retaliate or whether the incident would have an adverse effect on the growing cooperation between Washington and Moscow in arms control, human rights and other fields. No Retaliation Expected. A State Department official said: ''We don't see any reason why the Soviets should retaliate. Pakhtusov was engaged in illegal activities, and the Soviets know we will protect our national security. This incident should not affect U.S.-Soviet relations.'' Rozanne L. Ridgway, the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, summoned a Soviet diplomat to the State Department today and informed him that Colonel Pakhtusov had been declared persona non grata for engaging in ''activities incompatible with his diplomatic status.'' Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, foreign diplomats have immunity against criminal prosecution, but the host country may expel them ''at any time and without having to explain its decision.'' The diplomat who met with Ms. Ridgway, Yevgeny G. Kutovoi, is the second-ranking official at the Soviet Embassy here, where he is a minister-counselor…(New York Times, 10 March 1989)

Kremlin Denounces U.S. Expulsion of Diplomat

The Soviet Union on Friday accused the FBI of "gross provocation" in detaining and expelling a Washington-based Soviet diplomat, and alleged that FBI agents forced him from his apartment house without shoes or coat, prevented him from calling his embassy for several hours and offered him financial aid if he defected. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov refused to rule out the possibility that American diplomats might be ordered to leave Moscow in retaliation. "The U.S. side assumes all the responsibility for what happens in the future," he warned. But official Soviet reaction to the expulsion of Lt. Col. Yuri N. Pakhtusov was notably muted on two counts. For one thing, Gerasimov was careful to blame the FBI, not the Bush Administration, for what he called "a hostile act." "I would classify this as an instance of gross provocation staged by those people in the United States who are reluctant to accept improvements in Soviet-American relations," Gerasimov said. "Of course, the full responsibility will rest on U.S. special services for what happened." Secondly, the Soviet spokesman repeatedly declined to deny that Pakhtusov had sought to obtain secret information. Asked three times whether Pakhtusov had engaged in espionage, Gerasimov repeated details of the arrest and said that Pakhtusov, reportedly a military intelligence officer, "did not carry out any actions incompatible with his diplomatic status." The FBI said that Pakhtusov, 35, took up his post as a military attaché in Washington last June and two months later contacted an American civilian employee of a computer company in an effort to try to acquire documents showing how the U.S. government protects secrets in its computer system. The employee reported the contact to the FBI and Pakhtusov was placed under surveillance for six months, the FBI said. Neither the employee nor the company was named…(Los Angeles Times, 11 March 1989)

Soviets Denounce Expulsion of a Diplomat From the US

The Soviet Union today denounced the expulsion of a Soviet diplomat from the United States but stopped short of pledging retaliation. The Foreign Ministry spokesman, Gennadi I. Gerasimov, called the expulsion of the envoy, Lieut. Col. Yuri N. Pakhtusov, a provocation but did not say what effect the episode might have on relations. Colonel Pakhtusov was arrested by the F.B.I. Wednesday and declared persona non grata on Thursday, reportedly for trying to acquire documents showing how the Government protects secrets in its computer systems. (New York Times, 11 March 1989)

Soviets Expel U.S. Attache

The Soviets today accused a U.S. military attaché of spying and ordered him to leave the country in apparent retaliation for Washington's expulsion last week of a Soviet officer. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov said Army Lt. Col. Daniel Francis Van Gundy III, an assistant military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was given 48 hours to leave. Gerasimov said Van Gundy, who had been assigned to the embassy for about two years, the normal Moscow diplomatic tour, was declared unwelcome because he engaged in espionage. The 42-year-old Army officer lives on the U.S. Embassy compound with his wife, Susan, and two of their three daughters. On Thursday, U.S. officials accused Soviet Lt. Col. Yuri N. Pakhtusov of trying to buy computer secrets and ordered him to leave the country. They did not say how long he had to leave. Gerasimov, at a hastily called briefing, charged that Van Gundy attempted "to enter a closed area, deliberately diverting from the officially permitted route, clandestinely photographed military sites and committed other gross violations" of the rules of diplomatic conduct. U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Gilbert said the Soviet charges were "unwarranted, inappropriate, without justification and certainly in no way in keeping with the positive tone of the U.S.-Soviet relationship”…(AP, 15 March 1989)

Moscow Expels U.S. Attache in Response to 'Provocation'

The Soviet Union announced today that it had ordered an American diplomat to leave the country in retaliation for the American expulsion of a Soviet military attaché accused of espionage. The Foreign ministry spokesman, Gennadi I. Gerasimov, asserted that the American, Lieut. Col. Daniel Francis Van Gundy, an assistant army attaché, had ''committed gross violations of the diplomatic regime'' by secretly photographing military sites and attempting to enter a closed area, accusations the United States denied as ''totally unwarranted.'' Mr. Gerasimov said the action was a response to the expulsion of Lieut. Col. Yuri N. Pakhtusov, who was detained a week ago in Washington and accused of receiving classified documents related to American Government computers. ''We were not the initiators of these expulsions,'' Mr. Gerasimov said. ''We gave an answer to the provocation of the U.S. Special Services against our diplomat.'' Lapse in Warming Trend By acknowledging that the expulsion was a diplomatic tit for tat, the Soviets seemed to signal a desire to close the issue quickly and avoid lingering recriminations. Soviet-American relations have been in a warming trend, and Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d is to visit Moscow in May for talks that are expected to include planning for a Soviet-American summit meeting this year…(New York Times, 16 March 1989)

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