Former Central Intelligence Agency officer William P. Kampiles was convicted of espionage yesterday afternoon for selling spy satellite secrets to the Russians.
A jury of eight women and four men, some choking back tears, found the boyish-faced defendant guilty on all six counts lodged against him last summer for giving a Soviet agent named Michael Zavali a top secret manual on the KH11 reconnaissance satellite - which can monitor foreign troop and equipment movements by photographing them from space.
Kampiles, 23, who quit the CIA in frustration last year after fewer than eight months of deskwork, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the two principal espionage counts.
The other four counts, involving theft of government property and unauthorized delivery to the Soviets, each carry up to 10 years in Prison and a $10,000 fine.
Murmuring from her second-row seat as she listened to the repeated verdicts of guilty, Kampiles' 63-year-old mother Nicoleta, burst into the well of the courtroom as soon as the jury was gone and hugged her son fiercely as he sat stunned.
"My darling, my darling," she began wailing in Greek, over and over again, "nobody had mercy on him . . . nobody had mercy on him."
Kampiles broke away after a few moments, eyes red, hands in pockets, until his mother caught up with him again. With federal marshals leading the way, they finally hurried into a nearby office. There Kampiles began sobbing uncontrollably. His widowed mother, a cook at the Ford Motor Co. plant cafeteria in southeast Chicago.
"I want to kill myself. I want to kill myself," she shouted in English. "I've worked 16 years for what? . . . How could America do this to my son?"
The jurors, a working-class group from neighborhoods much like nearby Hegewisch in southeast Chicago where Kampiles grew up, deliberated nearly 10 hours before announcing their decision. Three of them, Diane Justus, Mary Phipps and Martha Wosniak, began weeping openly after court clerk Conard Boniecki read the six verdicts and the jurors were polled individually to confirm them.
U.S. District Court Judge Phil M. McNagny Jr. ordered a presentence report from federal probation officers. He will pass sentence later.
Kampiles, who protested his innocence throughout the trial despite a mid-August confession to the FBI, was returned to the Metropolitan Corrections Center in downtown Chicago where he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond. The trial was held here because he was living in northern Indiana at the time of his arrest.
The charges against Kampiles stemmed from the alleged delivery of the CIA's KH11 System Technical Manual to the Russians for $3,000 on a trip he made to Greece last winter.
Since he allegedly delivered the document to "Michael" in two parcels, on Feb. 23 and March 2, the government accused him of theft, unauthorized delivery and espionage for each of the two transactions.
While it produced a victory for government prosecutors, the hard-fought trial severly tarnished the CIA, exposing lax security procedures and embarrassing lapses in responding to the news of a former CIA officer's admitted contracts with the Russians.In a belated inventory taken after Kampile's arrest on Aug. 17, the CIA found that 13 other copies of the top secret manual - out of 350 printed in late 1976 - are missing.
"I think the CIA has some revamping to do with their security procedures," U.S. Attorney David T. Ready told reporters. "They certainly need better control over their documents. But that's their problem, not mine."
Ready said he was gratified by the jury's verdict, especially in light of the "highly emotional appeal" of Kampiles's defense attorneys, who portrayed him as a hard working son of Greek imigrants, an unflaggingly patriotic boy bullied and badgered by FBI agents into confessing a crime he didn't commit.
Ready confirmed that Kampiles admitted selling the manual to the Russians only after flunking two polygraph tests administered Aug. 15 by FBI Agent James K. Murphy.
"He took the first test, failed it and then he complained about the questions," Ready related. "He said that there were gray areas in them, that the questions weren't tailored right. So he and Murphy went over the questions and worked on them until they agreed they were pinpointed properly. After he was told he failed again, that's when he confessed," first to Murphy alone and then to the two FBI agents assigned to the KH11 case, Donald E. Stukey and John Denton.
According to Ready, Kampiles also agreed to still another polygraph examination on Aug. 16 to cover three additional areas: whether he had stolen other documents, whether he had given the Russians more, and whether he had any more in his possession.
"When he came in on the 16th, first he wanted to wait until the next week. Then he agreed to go on the polygraph as to whether he had any more [government] documents in his possession, but not as to the other two matters," Ready said. He said the FBI agents decided not to bother with the third test.
With chief defense counsel Michael D. Monico occassionally trying to conjur up the notion of a "mole" or Russian master spy within the government who somehow arranges to find fall guys for his villainy, Kampiles contended on the witness stand that he had tried to recant his confession at his meeting with the FBI on Aug. 16.
Ready shrugged. "He said he did but Murphy, Denton and Stukey say he didn't".