Sumner Shapiro

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Sumner Shapiro
Born(1926-01-13)January 13, 1926
Nashua, New Hampshire
DiedNovember 14, 2006(2006-11-14) (aged 80)
McLean, Virginia
Place of burial
Allegiance United States
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service1949–1982
RankRear Admiral
Commands held=
Battles/warsKorean War
Spouse(s)Eleanor Hymen "Jimmie" Shapiro
Other workVice President, BDM

Sumner Shapiro (January 13, 1926 - November 14, 2006) was a United States Navy rear admiral who served as Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence from 1978 to 1982.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Shapiro attended the University of New Hampshire before World War II service in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was a 1949 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a veteran of the Korean War. He earned a Master's degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

Military career[edit]

Throughout the 1950s he served in the Office of Naval Intelligence, reporting to Chief of Naval Operation Arleigh Burke, as well as serving stints in Moscow and London. He was a graduate of the Naval War College and the U.S. Army's Institute for Advanced Soviet and Eastern European Studies in Germany. He was appointed Rear Admiral September 1, 1976; he was simultaneously D/DNI and commander of the Naval Intelligence Command. From 1978 to 1982, he was 51st Director of Naval Intelligence.[4][2]

During his career Shapiro received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Shapiro had a strong influence on United States Cold War naval strategy.[4]

Jonathan Pollard[edit]

Shortly into his career as an intelligence analyst, convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard had his security clearance reduced by Shapiro after presenting a plan to garner intelligence from South Africa. According to the Washington Post, Sumner dismissed Pollard as a "kook". "I wish the hell I'd fired him," Shapiro would later opine.[4]

Shapiro, who was himself Jewish, stated that he was troubled by the support of Jewish organizations for Pollard: "We work so hard to establish ourselves and to get where we are, and to have somebody screw it up... and then to have Jewish organizations line up behind this guy and try to make him out a hero of the Jewish people, it bothers the hell out of me".[4]

The Admiral was among four former directors of Naval intelligence (alongside William Studeman, John Butts and Thomas Brooks) who wrote a livid response to Israeli negotiations to free Pollard, which was published in the Washington Post:

We... feel obligated to go on record with the facts regarding Pollard in order to dispel the myths that have arisen from this clever public relations campaign... aimed at transforming Pollard from greedy, arrogant betrayer of the American national trust into Pollard, committed Israeli patriot[5]


The National Intelligence Professionals society offers a scholarship named for RADM Sumner Shapiro.[6]


  1. ^ Vistica, Gregory L. (1997). Fall From Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy. New York: Touchstone. p. 42. ISBN 0684832267. LCCN 97146777. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ a b "Interview with Director, Naval Intelligence: The Soviet Naval Threat" (PDF). All Hands (773). Alexandria, Virginia: U.S. Navy. June 1981. pp. 2–7. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  3. ^ Brody, Seymour "Sy". "Rear Admiral Sumner Shapiro: Director of Naval Intelligence". Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military. Florida Atlantic University Libraries. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  4. ^ a b c d Bernstein, Adam (2006-11-16). "Sumner Shapiro, Long-Serving Director of Naval Intelligence". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  5. ^ Olive, Ronald J. (2006). Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-59114-652-0.
  6. ^ "RADM Sumner Shapiro Scholarship Program for Academic Year 2014-2015". Naval Intelligence Professionals. February 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01.

External links[edit]

Sumner Shapiro at Find a Grave