After being acquitted of deliberately burning down a motel he owned, Edwin Gibbons Moore II was personally "reappointed" to his CIA job in 1967 by then CIA Director Richard Helms, according to testimony today in Moore's espionage trial.
When he got his job back, Moore also got $38,902.31 in back pay from the CIA in a check drawn on a New York City bank rather than a U.S. government paycheck, according to the witness, Fred E. Lott, chief of the CIA's special activity section.
There was no explanation in today's proceedings in U.S. District Court here either why Helms personally rehired Moore, a GS-9 office worker, or why Moore's check for back pay was not drawn on the U.S. Treasury.
Moore, who is now retired from the CIA and is being tried on charges of offering to sell classified information to Soviet officials last December, took leave without pya from the agency in 1961 to defend himself against a charge of burning down a motel he had purchased in North Carolina.
He was tried three times, according to testimony today, the first trial resulting in a conviction that was overturned on appeal, the second in a mistrial and the third in acquittal.
Lott said the rehiring came despite annual fitness reports that regularly described Moore's work as "below average" and "slow."
Lott was being cross-examined by defense attorney Courtland K. Townsend Jr. when he testified that "the director reappointed this man [Moore]" Lott also said under cross-examination he did not know why Moore got six years of back pay through the Schroder Trust Co. in Manhattan.
An internal CIA memo that was introduced into evidence today was described as demanding a "complete investigation" of the motel fire. But Lott said he did not know whether any internal investigation of Moore was made. The memo was temporarily sealed from public disclosure by Judge Frank A. Kaufman.
Lott read from another CIA memo introduced by the defense that said that "a senior CIA official" would be able to back up Moore's explanation of the motel fire and the reason he had been charged with arson in connection with it. The name of the official, however, was inked out of the memo, and the memo has also been temporarily sealed on security grounds.
Moore, 56, of 4800 For Sumner Rd., Bethesda, is charged with offering to sell classified CIA documents to Soviet officials for $200,000 last Dec. 21 and with four counts of unauthorized possession of classified documents and government property.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison. He has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
In testimony today, an FBI agent "tentatively" connected Moore to a 1975 attempt at "inside blackmail" involving a threat to then CIA Director William E. Colby to turn over secret CIA documents "to the opposition" unless veteran agency employees were promoted.
The letter and a number of classified CIA documents were found Feb. 4, 1975, by a CIA employee in the garage of the Ames Building in Rosslyn, which is rented mostly by the CIA, according to testimony on Monday.
The connection between the letter and documents and Moore was made today by agent Charles T. Spitzer, who said that one part of a torn classified document found in the garage matched another part of the same document seized at Moore's home last December.
Spitzer also said the typewriting on the letter to Colby "resembled" the typewriting that could be produced by a typewriter seized at Moore's home.