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learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
Posted Friday, July 16, 2010
WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former State Department
worker who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell to life in prison
without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced the man's wife
to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal U.S. secrets.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers betrayed the
United States for three decades and should receive heavy punishment for having
|Great grandson of Alexander
Graham Bell sentenced to life in prison
|By Pete Yost,
|Associated Press Writer
In a 10-minute explanation to the judge of his conduct, Kendall Myers said he
stole secrets with no intent to harm the United States and that his goal was to
pass along information about U.S. policies toward Cuba, a nation that he said
feared the United States because of its opposition to the Cuban government.
|Kendall and Gwendolyn (wife) Myers.
The judge said he was "perplexed" at how Myers, 73, could believe that he was
not hurting the U.S., given the level of antagonism between the two countries.
"The Cuban people feel threatened" and "they have good reason to feel
threatened" because the U.S. has pursued a policy of regime change in Cuba,
"Part of our motivation," Myers said of himself and his wife, was to report as
accurately as possible about what he thought U.S. policy was toward Cuba, to
warn Cuba and to try to assess the nature of the threat.
"At the expense of the United States," Walton interjected.
Justice Department prosecutor Michael Harvey said that Myers and his wife were
given medals by Cuban intelligence officials and that in 1995, the two were
flown to Cuba where they had a private audience with Fidel Castro.
Kendall Myers had daily access to classified information and he pursued his
colleagues in government for more, said Harvey.
When the FBI launched a sting operation that brought the couple down, Kendall
Myers was videotaped telling an undercover agent that he wanted to resume his
work for Cuba.
"I was actually thinking it would be fun to get back into it," Kendall Myers
said on the videotape, according to the prosecutor.
In June 2009, right after the arrests, Castro questioned their timing — just
24 hours after the Organization of American States voted to lift a decades-old
suspension of Cuba's membership in that group.
"Doesn't the story of Cuban spying seem really ridiculous to everyone?" Castro
asked, without commenting on its validity.
There was no immediate reaction from Havana on Friday to news of the sentences.
Prosecutors said Myers, a descendant of Bell, the inventor of the first
practical telephone, was a child of wealth and privilege and could have been
anything he wanted to be, but instead chose to spy for Cuba for 30 years from
inside the State Department.
Myers's wife, Gwendolyn, 72, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, with time off
for the 14 months she has already served. That works out to a sentence of just
over 5 and 1/2 years for her.
Defense attorney Tom Green said that the Myerses had undergone hundreds of hours
of debriefings by interrogators from multiple federal agencies.
The FBI concluded that Kendall Myers had withheld some information. Green
disputed that, saying Myers had worked diligently to recall all of the
information that was relevant to the criminal case.
Green pleaded for a shorter sentence for Gwendolyn Myers than the 90 months she
could have gotten, saying that she has suffered a heart attack and a couple of
"Ninety months could be a life sentence," Green told the judge.
The judge agreed to recommend to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that the couple be
imprisoned near each other.
The judge cautioned, however, that prisons are places where inmates can readily
be radicalized and that he has concerns Myers would impart his political views
on them. While behind bars, Kendall Myers has been teaching English to
non-English-speaking inmates and has been teaching illiterate prisoners to read.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Pres
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