Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cuban spies

Two articles provide background information on accused spies Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers.

The Argus leader tells about the wife and the South Dakota background:
'Ordinary' life to accused spy

Gwendolyn Steingraber Trebilcock Gereaux Myers comes across as a Midwestern Forest Gump. She went to school with Tom Brokaw and worked for Sen. James Abourezk as both a campaign and senatorial aide. Her fellow staffers included future majority leader Tom Daschle and Laurie Felton. Felton is both the ex-Mrs. Daschle and Obama’s nominee to be Ambassador to Denmark.

The Miami Herald article answers few questions but it does provide a nice round-up of the reaction pf those who knew the Myers.
The curious case of alleged Cuban spy Kendall Myers

Even when read together the articles still leave many questions about the political evolution of both accused spies. Take the wife: She appears to have been a typical wife and mother (four kids) for nearly twenty years. Then in rapid succession she gets involved in the peace movement and Democratic party politics. She gets divorced (1973). Next she moves to Denver (1974), remarries, gets divorced, and goes to work for Abourezk in Washington (1976). In 1979 she moves back to South Dakota with Kendall Myers in tow. In the spring of that year the couple is recruited by Cuban intelligence.

What was it that alerted the Cubans to her ideological predilection for treason?

The details of Kendall Myers’s life are also lacking in the crucial years. In his case, we at least see a potential trigger for his treason. In 1975 he was the driver in a car crash that killed a 16 year old girl. In 1977, he divorces his first wife. He is underemployed as a contract instructor at the Foreign Services Institute. In December 1978 he goes to Cuba and returns an enthusiastic Fidelista.

Red flag?

Most of the information about Kendall Myers recruitment comes from a diary seized by the FBI. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa was a high-ranking Romanian intelligence officer when the KGB controlled that service. He notes that Soviet practice called for agents to use false diaries in order to remember the details of their cover story.

It is obviously vital to determine if the Myers diary is real or the written record of a legend.

UPDATE: The New York Times provides a little more biographical information.

Couple’s Capital Ties Said to Veil Spying for Cuba

Add another future mover and shaker who worked with Gwendolyn Myers in Abourezk's office:
On Capitol Hill, she held a low-level job — mostly involving outreach to constituents — in the shadows of rising political stars, including former Senator Tom Daschle and Pete Rouse who is a top adviser to President Obama.

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