Jeffrey Martin Carney is a former U.S. Air Force intelligence specialist convicted of spying for East German Ministry for State Security (MfS or Stasi). One of the MfS's most successful spies, code-named "Kid" or "Uwe", Carney became alienated and angry at the Air Force and US policies under Ronald Reagan. He began handing over U.S. military documents to the MfS while working in West Berlin for the Air Force. After his transfer back to Goodfellow AFB in 1984, Carney decided to once again request permanent asylum in East Germany. His whereabouts remained unknown until 1990 and he was carried on the rolls as a deserter.
Carney was finally apprehended after the fall of the Berlin Wall by the agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) on the 22nd of April, 1991 in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin.
Carney entered the Air Force in December 1980. From April 1982 to April 1984 he was assigned to the 6912th Electronic Security Group, Electronic Security Command at Tempelhof Central Airport in Berlin as a linguist and intelligence specialist, with duty station at the 6912th Marienfelde Field Site.
Carney quickly became disillusioned with the Air Force and its intelligence gathering operations, and there are several stories of him attempting to turn in his badge and quit in protest. His first-hand experiences during the NATO exercise Able Archer 83 strengthened his resolve to help avoid a nuclear conflict. Later, lonely, alienated, and under psychological stress, and he felt he had no one to talk to about his problems. He had intended to defect to East Germany on his first crossing, but he allowed himself to be drawn into espionage by East German intelligence agents who expertly manipulated him and claimed his complete loyalty.
While working at the Marienfelde Field Site in Berlin, Carney began copying classified documents which he then provided to the East German Ministry for State Security (MfS) by repeatedly crossing back and forth into East Germany. In 1984 he was involuntarily transferred to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas to work as a technical instructor. Unfortunately, Carney believed, Goodfellow AFB was a training base with no real-world intelligence of any interest to the MfS. He soon discovered that he had been very wrong. He continued providing the MfS with documents, meeting his handlers in Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro In 1985. Feeling cut off from his supervisors in East Berlin and at increasing risk in what became known as 'The Year of the Spy' he sought out the protection of the East German embassy in Mexico City. From there he was flown to Havana with the assistance of the Cuban government. Weeks later he returned to East Berlin via Prague. There he continued to work for the MfS (HVA Abt. XI and HA III) by intercepting and translating non-secure telephone communications of US military commanders as well as the East German telephone lines dedicated to the US embassy in East Berlin.
Lifestyle and recognition
During the course of his spying, Carney provided the MfS and other socialist-bloc intelligence services with more than a hundred top-secret U.S. military documents. For his services to East Germany, he was awarded the NVA service medal in bronze and the medal of "Waffenbrüderschaft (Brotherhood in Arms)" in gold. His internal MfS file shows the value of the work he performed for the MfS and the KGB, earning praise from KGB General Chebrikov as well as from General Zaitsev of the Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG).
A break in the case came after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, when many MfS records became available to foreign investigators and journalists. In April, 1991, he was located with the help of at least two former MfS intelligence officers turned informant. In preparation for his apprehension, he was quickly assigned to the 7350th Air Base Group at his former base, Tempelhof Central Airport, several months before his apprehension. (Ironically, this assignment was official and had the unintended consequence of assigning Carney to a unit that supported Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991. As a result, Carney received the National Defense Service Medal while in solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, several years later.) On 22 April 1991, Carney was apprehended on a public street by AFOSI agents near his residence on Pintschstraße 12, in Friedrichshain, which used to be in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Immediately following his apprehension, he was taken to Tempelhof Airport and identified. After nearly 28 hours of intense interrogation, Carney refused to answer any more questions after his repeated requests for counsel had been intentionally denied. At this point the AFOSI, in consultation with other US agencies, decided to quietly remove Carney from German territory. He was secretly flown to the United States aboard military aircraft the following day. Carney's arrest and return to the United States was coordinated at the highest levels of the United States government without consulting German officials. The ambassador (at the time) to the Federal Republic of Germany, Vernon Walters, personally acted as adviser to the Commander-in-Chief, United States Air Forces Europe, urging haste.
Carney pleaded guilty to charges of espionage, conspiracy, and desertion and was sentenced in December 1991 to 38 years in prison. Carney served the mandatory portion of his sentence at both Quantico, Virginia and, later, the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Carney was released in 2002, after serving 11 years, seven months, and twenty days on a twenty-year sentence in accordance with his pretrial agreement.
After his release from prison, Carney attempted to return to Germany claiming that he was German. However, as East Germany had ceased to exist and since his passport had expired, German authorities refused to grant him a passport. He is reported to be living in Ohio. In November 2011 Carney submitted a lengthy manuscript detailing his life as a spy to the United States Air Force for security review. After numerous delays, the manuscript was finally cleared on July 26, 2012. The book, Against All Enemies: An American's Cold War Journey, was published in 2013.
- "Jeff Carney: The lonely US airman turned Stasi spy". BBC News. 19 September 2013.
- Jürgen Dahlkamp (14 July 2003). "No country more beautiful". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- Koehler, John O. (1999). Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 9780813337449.
- Macrakis, Kristie (2008). Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–102. ISBN 052188747X.
- "Catching an Air Force Spy". National Museum of the US Air Force. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Tageesspiegel article "Stasi-Spion Kid", 8 November 1999(German)
- Tony Paterson (21 July 2003). "Germany denies passport to ex-spy". The Washington Times. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- Tony Paterson (19 July 2003). "Nobody Wants the American Who Gave Secrets to the Stasi". Telegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- Dahlkamp, Jürgen (14 August 2013). "American Stasi Agent Describes His Experiences in New Book". Spiegel Online.
- "Against All Enemies". CreateSpace. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- Carney, Jeffrey M. (2013). Against All Enemies: An American's Cold War Journey. CreateSpace Publishing. ISBN 9781482675207.
- Focus TV Broadcast, 19 May 1998; the first public acknowledgement on German television about the kidnapping of Jens Karney. (German)
- B. Kerner Show, ZDF, 24 June 2003; Jens Karney speaks on German television for the first time about his kidnapping by US personnel. (German)