The shotgun blast Friday that killed a retired Pentagon intelligence analyst indicted on charges he sold U.S. military secrets to Libya through ex-CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson was apparently self inflicted, a Virginia medical examiner said yesterday.
The body of the analyst, Waldo H. Dubberstein, 75, was found about 2 p.m. in the basement of a Rosslyn apartment building. Police said a shotgun and shells were discovered nearby. Sources said four handwritten notes also were found near the body, but police declined to reveal their contents.
An autopsy on Dubberstein was performed yesterday by Dr. James C. Beyer, deputy chief medical examiner for Northern Virginia, who attributed death to a "perforating shotgun wound to the head consistent with being self-inflicted."
Arlington County police said they would release no further details pending an investigation of the death expected to last several days. Law enforcement sources said, however, that Dubberstein had bought a 12-gauge shotgun and shells within the last week at an area store. A receipt for the purchase was found Friday among Dubberstein's personal effects, the sources said.
Federal authorities also will continue their investigation of the incident to satisfy themselves that Dubberstein's death was a suicide, one source added. Dubberstein is the third figure in the long investigation of Wilson and his associates to die, although officials have said none of the deaths involved criminal activity.
Wilson, who is serving a 32-year federal prison sentence for arms and explosives smuggling involving Libya, has been indicted in New York on charges he plotted to have several federal witnesses and two U.S. prosecutors killed.
Wilson and one of his former employes, Douglas M. Schlachter, were named as unindicted coconspirators in the case against Dubberstein. Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Greenberg, who was in charge of the investigation, said Dubberstein's death would have no effect on the government's ongoing investigation of Wilson.
Dubberstein's body was discovered by a tenant at River Place, a complex of cooperative apartments where law enforcement officials said Dubberstein had been living with a 32-year-old, German-born woman. Dubberstein was scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Alexandria Friday morning, but never showed up.
As defense lawyers and prosecutors alike appeared to grow increasingly worried, a district judge issued a warrant for Dubberstein's arrest after Greenberg said in court he feared that he might have fled the area.
Dubberstein faced up to 57 years in prison and $80,000 in fines if convicted of all charges against him. Federal agents who began looking for him late Friday morning said the analyst was known to be taking medication four times a day for an irregular heartbeat.
Greenberg told Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr., however, that he believed Dubberstein had both a motive and the means to flee. Dubberstein had more than $200,000 in assets and had traveled to the Middle East within the last 60 days, the prosecutor said.
Arlington police went to River Place to look for Dubberstein about 2 p.m. at the request of one of his defense attorneys, Louis Koutoulakos, who told authorities he was concerned about Dubberstein's welfare, a source said yesterday. By the time officers arrived, the body had been found in a below-ground storage area.
Dubberstein was a senior analyst and Middle East expert for the Defense Intelligence Agency before his retirement last year.
Earlier he had served for 24 years as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. The seven-count indictment, returned by an Alexandria grand jury on Thursday, alleged that from 1977 to 1980 Dubberstein conveyed information about sensitive Mideast military and political affairs to the Libyans, both through Wilson and directly to Libyan intelligence officers.
The alleged violations, for which Dubberstein allegedly was paid more than $32,000 by Wilson, compromised several classified DIA documents, the grand jury charged.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Eugene F. Tighe, a former director of the agency, described Dubberstein yesterday as an "absolutely outstanding specialist on the Mideast" and "down through the years, a standout" among intelligence analysts.
An acquaintance, who asked to remain unidentified, said he found Dubberstein low-key and personable in the relaxed environment of a Fairfax County country club where Dubberstein was a member and a frequent Saturday golfer.
Officials said Dubberstein had worked in recent years as a full-time consultant to the DIA until he retired last summer. Since his retirement, according to the acquaintance, Dubberstein had started his own independent consulting firm, seeking to advise multinational firms on Middle East affairs.
"He specialized in selling information about that area," the acquaintance said. "But the business did not do well."