David Sheldon Boone

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For other people named David Boone, see David Boone (disambiguation).
David Sheldon Boone
Born Flint, Michigan, USA
Occupation Signals intelligence analyst
Criminal charge
Selling Top Secret classified documents
Criminal penalty
24 years and four months
Criminal status Incarcerated
Motive Financial gain
Conviction(s) Conspiracy to commit espionage

David Sheldon Boone is a former U.S. Army signals analyst who worked for the National Security Agency and was convicted of espionage-related charges in 1999 related to his sale of secret documents to the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991. He is currently serving a prison sentence of 24 years and four months. Boone's case was an example of a late Cold War U.S. government security breach.

Early career[edit]

Boone had worked for the NSA for three years before being reassigned to Augsburg, Germany, in 1988. He served in Vietnam from 1971–1972 and retired from the Army, as a Sergeant First Class, in 1991.

Turn to espionage[edit]

In October 1988, the same month that he separated from his wife and children, Boone walked into the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. and offered his services. According to an FBI counterintelligence agent's affidavit, Boone was under "severe financial and personal difficulties" when he began spying. His former wife had garnished his Army sergeant's pay, leaving him with only $250 a month.[1]

According to the federal complaint, Boone met with his handler about four times a year from late 1988 until June 1990, when his access to classified information was suspended because of "his lack of personal and professional responsibility." He held a Top Secret clearance from 1971 and gained access to SCI information in 1976. He is alleged to have received payments totaling more than $60,000 from the KGB.[2]

Arrest and indictment[edit]

Boone was arrested at a suburban Virginia hotel after being lured from his home in Western Germany to the United States in an FBI sting operation on October 10, 1998. He was charged with selling Top Secret classified documents to Soviet agents 1988 to 1991, including a 600-page manual describing U.S. reconnaissance programs and a listing of nuclear targets in Russia.[3]

Boone was indicted on three counts: one for conspiracy to commit espionage and the other two related to his alleged passing of two Top Secret documents to his Soviet handler.[4] On December 18, Boon pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and on 26 February 1999 he was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison.[5] Under a plea agreement Boone was also required to forfeit $52,000 and a hand-held scanner he used to copy documents.


  1. ^ Thomas, Pierre (October 13, 1998). "Ex-intelligence analyst charged with spying for Soviets". CNN. Retrieved 2008-09-21. [dead link]
  3. ^ Washington Post, 6 November 1998, "Ex-NSA Indicted for Spying"
  4. ^ Washington Post, 9 November 1998, "Trial Set for Ex-NSA Analyst"
  5. ^ Washington Post, February 27, 1999, "Ex-NSA Worker Gets 24 Years for Spying"
Some of the text in this article is derived from the public-domain United States Department of Defense document "Recent Espionage Cases" Recent Espionage Cases all.net