David Henry Barnett
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David Henry Barnett was a CIA officer who was convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union in 1980, becoming only the second CIA officer to be convicted after Edwin Moore II, a retired CIA employee who was arrested by the FBI in 1976 after attempting to sell classified documents to Soviet officials.
From the 1960s until 1970, Barnett was employed by the CIA, working in both the United States and Asia. Barnett was stationed in Indonesia from 1967 until 1970 and before that in South Korea. He was also a teacher and wrestling coach at Kiskiminetas Springs School in Saltsburg, PA during the 1970s. After leaving his teaching position at Kiski, Barnett returned to Indonesia to administer a shrimp processing company. But within six years, he had amassed debts of over $100,000 and faced imminent financial ruin. To rectify his problems, Barnett chose to sell classified information to the Soviets. In 1976, he approached KGB officers in Jakarta, Indonesia and offered to sell them the names of CIA assets.
Over the next three years in meetings held in the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Vienna, Barnett revealed to the KGB the identities of some 30 CIA officers. Additionally, he handed over a great deal of classified information gathered by the CIA on a clandestine operation, code-named HA/BRINK, that had focused on the acquisition of examples of Soviet military hardware sold to the Indonesians during the Sukarno era, including an SA-2 guidance system, designs for the Whiskey class submarine, the Riga class frigate, the Sverdlov class cruiser, the P-15 Termit anti-ship missile and the Tu-16 Badger bomber. He also compromised CIA operations and informants in Indonesia and South Korea. The Soviets paid him a total of $92,000 for information received between 1976 and 1980.
On instructions from his KGB handlers, which included Oleg Kalugin, Barnett applied for staff positions on the Senate and House intelligence committees and the President's Intelligence Advisory Board but was unsuccessful in finding a job. In January 1979, however, he was rehired by the CIA as a contract agent and if undetected, he could have gone on to betray further CIA secrets.
Later in the year however, Barnett was identified as a spy thanks to information given by a KGB officer stationed in Jakarta, Col. Vladimir M. Piguzov, who had been recruited as double agent by the CIA. Piguzov himself was betrayed by Aldrich Ames in 1985 and subsequently executed. Barnett was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and resigned from his CIA job. In October 1980 Barnett pleaded guilty to espionage charges, admitting that he had sold CIA secrets to the Soviets. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment and was paroled in 1990.
- The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West by Oleg Kalugin t (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 466 pp., index.
- Earley, Pete. Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames