David Sheldon Boone

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David Sheldon Boone
BornAugust 26, 1952
Flint, Michigan, United States
OccupationSignals intelligence analyst
Criminal statusIncarcerated
MotiveFinancial gain
Conviction(s)Conspiracy to commit espionage
Criminal chargeSelling Top Secret classified documents
Penalty24 years and four months

David Sheldon Boone (born August 26, 1952)[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

Arrest and indictment[edit]

Boone was arrested October 10, 1998, at a hotel outside Washington, D.C. after being lured from his home in Western Germany to the United States in an FBI sting operation . 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.[4]

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.[5] Boone pleaded guilty to conspiracy December 18, and was sentenced 26 February 1999, to 24 years and four months in prison.[6] Under a plea agreement Boone was also required to forfeit $52,000 and a hand-held scanner he used to copy documents.

David Sheldon Boone, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)#43671-083, has a scheduled release of December 20, 2019. As of June 2015 he is held at Safford FCI.[7]


  1. ^ David Sheldon Boone, Page 83, Volume 4, Chapter 2, A Counterintelligence Reader, by National Counterintelligence Center (Author), Frank J Rafalko (Editor), ISBN 9781780395357
  2. ^ Thomas, Pierre (14 October 1998). "Ex-Army Cryptologist Accused Of Spying; FBI Says He Sold Secrets to Soviets". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-12-17. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  3. ^ Kilian, Michael (14 October 1998). "Ex-soldier Accused Of Spying For Soviets Caught In FBI Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  4. ^ Riesen, James (14 October 1998). "Spy Agencies' Ex-Analyst Charged With Selling Secrets to Soviets". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-17. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  5. ^ "Crime & Justice". The Washington Post. 6 November 1998. p. B7. Retrieved 2014-12-17. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  6. ^ Davis, Patricia (27 February 1999). "Ex-NSA Worker Gets 24 Years for Spying". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-12-16. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  7. ^ "Inmate Locator." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on June 16, 2015.
Some of the text in this article is derived from the public-domain United States Department of Defense document Recent Espionage Cases