"TAUT, COMPLEX AND CONSTANTLY SURPRISING . . . a tough tale, well told, that's twice as much fun because it's true."
--The Flint Journal
It sounds like a plot torn right from the latest spy thriller: Russian women seducing U.S. Marines so that KGB agents could gain access to top-secret information at the American Embassy in Moscow. In fact, this infamous sex-for-secrets scandal was one of the most notorious espionage cases in Cold War history. At the center of the turmoil was a twenty-five-year-old Native American marine sergeant, Clayton Lonetree, who fell in love with Violetta Seina, a Russian woman who in turn recruited him as a spy for the KGB.
The story soon expanded to involve the CIA and diplomats on both sides of the Iron Curtain. But before the political frenzy was over, Lonetree was tried and sentenced to thirty years, and charges against everyone else were dropped. Now author Rodney Barker peels away the layers of this controversial case, painstakingly interviewing key U.S. military and intelligence figures, Russians and KGB agents, even Lonetree and Seina themselves, to uncover the long-concealed truth--and to answer the disturbing question: Was justice really served in Lonetree's court-martial or did he merely take the fall?
"A deft, fast-paced, and balanced account."
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One of the more esoteric pleasures of the end of the Cold War is the ability to get nearer the truth on espionage cases, and Barker has made the most of it in a deft, fast-paced, and balanced account of the US Marine guards scandal of 1987. Sgt. Clayton Lonetree was a Marine guard in the Moscow embassy with problems of character, intelligence, and behavior such that he in fact ``should never have been admitted to [Marine Security Guard] School . . ., and certainly should not have been sent to the most sensitive U.S. outpost in the world.'' The scandal erupted when Lonetree confessed to espionage activities. He had fallen in love with a Russian employee at the embassy, Violetta Seina, had passed on information, but felt the need to confess before he got in too deep. Another guard confessed to similar activities, two others corroborated the information, and for awhile it appeared that Soviet agents had been allowed to roam the embassy, causing ``irreparable damage'' to Western security. Suddenly, however, most of the case seemed to fall apart. The confessions of the other guards were retracted or otherwise discounted, and the main result of the assistance of high-profile lawyer William Kunstler was to get Lonetree, a Native American, a 30-year sentence, later reduced to 15 years (though with good behavior, he'll be released this spring). Everybody, it seems, wanted the story to go away: the Marines, for obvious reasons; the CIA, whose security lapses had contributed to the debacle; and the State Department, which had covered up 579 reassignments based on such security lapses over a seven-year period. Barker (The Broken Circle, 1992) interviewed everyone, including KGB officers and Violetta Seina's family, and does an excellent investigative job, even if he leaves some tantalizing themes unexplored, including CIA traitor Aldrich Ames's admitted request to his Soviet handlers, two months before Lonetree turned himself in, to divert attention from himself. This will be an indispensable source when Lonetree emerges from jail this year. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Mulling the motivations of betrayal, Barker re-creates a marine sentry's entrapment by the KGB. The case was classic honey trap: a femme fatale seduced the naive, vainglorious Lonetree, who was then coerced to give the siren's "Uncle Sasha" info about CIA agents and such. Lonetree realized he was in over his head, contemplated suicide, confessed instead. At the court-martial, Lonetree, instead of copping a plea and getting five years, followed the fight-the-system flamboyance of the late lawyer William Kunstler, whose legal ineffectiveness cost Lonetree an additional 25 years in the brig. (The sentence has since been reduced on appeal.) In revisiting these decade-old events, Barker perceptively replaces the monochrome publicity that washed out Lonetree's personality with the full-hued character traits that led him into such a predicament and further delivers a vibrant inside view of the agency conflicts that complicated a still-mysterious affair with as-yet-unrevealed connections with the infamous Ames case. Solid fare for sedentary spy masters. Gilbert Taylor
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Book Description Ivy Books, 1996. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110804115699
Book Description Ivy Books. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0804115699 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1308930