William Kampiles

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William Kampiles
Born (1954-12-21) December 21, 1954 (age 64)
Other namesVasili, Billy
OccupationCIA Clerk
Known forCold War - Stole a top-secret American KH-11 spy satellite manual and sold it to the Soviets.

William Peter Kampiles (born December 21, 1954) is a former United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee during the Cold War known for selling a top secret KH-11 spy satellite manual in 1977.

Early life[edit]

Born to Greek parents, Kampiles grew up in Hegewisch, on the far south side of Chicago.[1] Kampiles' family was poor and lived in a small rental apartment. His father died in 1964, when Kampiles was nine.[1] He attended college with a state grant from his father's social security benefit, by working at the college cafeteria, and his mother's salary from working at the south side Ford factory in the cafeteria.[1]


Kampiles was disappointed with his low-ranking status as a CIA clerk, and he decided to steal a top-secret KH-11 spy satellite manual from his employers in 1977 for monetary gain. In November 1977, Kampiles resigned from his job from CIA in Langley, Virginia.[2]

Espionage and prison[edit]

Kampiles flew to Greece, and sold the manual to the Soviet embassy in Athens in return for $3,000.[3] When Kampiles returned home, to hide where the money came from, he took his mother Nikoletta and his brother Mychael to the neighborhood bank where the three opened a new savings account, depositing the money. Kampiles told his mother he had received the money in Greece as a gift for offering sex. Afterwards, Kampiles contacted a Greek American CIA agent about his contact with a Russian agent. The Greek American asked him to send a letter writing his version of the encounter on paper and mail it to him. Bill felt his version would get him reinstated to the CIA after he had already lost his clerk job there. Instead, the case was passed off to another Greek American, experienced senior research analyst Vivian E. Psachos, who realized the story Kampiles gave was not true. He was asked to fly to Washington where inside a hotel room with a double mirror he confessed the truth. He was told his version was not possible, and they coerced him by informing him he had made his mother and brother accomplices by adding their names to the savings account.[4] He was charged with espionage by the US Government, put on trial in 1978, and convicted.[3] He was arrested on August 17, in Hammond Indiana,[5] a day before he could leave the country with his mother. He had told friends he had plans to buy a restaurant/bar in Athens and had purchased tickets for himself and his mother.

At the trial, his defense team unsuccessfully argued that the manual was not a highly guarded secret, and that Kampiles had always intended the transaction to establish his value as a double agent for the CIA.[1] He was originally sentenced on November 17, 1978, to 40 years imprisonment; however, his prison sentence was later reduced to 19 years, and he was released on 16 December 1996, after serving 18 years as Federal Prison inmate "04028-164".[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Tully, Andrew (2015-05-29). Inside the FBI. eNet Press. p. 54. ISBN 9781618867292.
  2. ^ Zimmer, Robert Lee (November 13, 1978) "CIA Official Testifies at Spy Trial". JonathanPollard.org. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "William Kampiles". Washington Post. July 21, 1985.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (September 9, 2005). "Helped Catch Soviet Spy at CIA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  5. ^ Tully, Andrew (2015-05-29). Inside the FBI. eNet Press. ISBN 9781618867292.
  6. ^ "The Kampiles Case". JonathanPollard.org. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Record of William Peter Kampiles". Inmate Locator. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 30 December 2010.

External links[edit]