He has a romantic "Casablanca" view of his work and a condescending vision of others. He wants control. He wants power. He also wants money.
He thinks he can have it all by collecting and selling information. And even if the payback is a sum that modern-day drug dealers would consider small change, he will steal and deceive for years to play the role that he finds glamorous and others envy.
No longer is ideology the primary force that would drive a man or woman to betray his or her country. Those who are familiar with the quirks of behavior of the modern spy, and those who are close to the investigation of John Anthony Walker Jr., say a decision to commit espionage today often may be a choice motivated by personal desires.
Walker, 47, is accused of selling military secrets to the Soviets for as long as 20 years and luring his son Michael, his brother Arthur and his friend Jerry Whitworth into the alleged scheme.
Why John Walker may have been drawn into such a life style cannot be explained in simplistic terms such as greed, experts say. The defendants' limited land holdings, their modest finances and the Soviets' reputation as cheapskates in the shadowy world of counterintelligence -- not to mention Walker's flamboyant personality -- suggest a more complex motivation.
"Traditionally, the Russians have been cheap," said one government official close to the Walker case. "They have been known to pay $100,000 to $200,000 to some individuals for espionage work. But there is no comparison to the drug business . . . where millions of dollars change hands."
According to Navy records, Walker was earning about $18,000 a year when he retired in 1976. At that time, records show he owned a house, a houseboat, some property in South Carolina, three undeveloped lots in the Bahamas, a waterfront lot in North Carolina and another one in Norfolk where he kept the houseboat.
Most of his holdings were heavily mortgaged, however, and two businesses he had recently opened in Norfolk would ultimately fail.
Walker is accused of receiving money for his espionage work, although how much he accumulated is still unclear to investigators who are piecing together the financial story. FBI affidavits have alleged that Walker once received $35,000 for delivering documents. John Walker's former wife, Barbara, has been quoted as saying he received $100,000 over 10 years from the Russians.
Relatively small sums to some but "a sizeable chunk of money for him," said one official familiar with the case. But that same official also agrees that Walker, if he was a spy, was probably motivated by desires stronger than greed.
A self-made private investigator, Walker had a flashy vision of himself that did not go unnoticed by anyone who knew him. "There is a James Bond thrill-seeking . . . and unfulfilled ambitions in addition to the money," a second government official said.
Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a Bethesda psychiatrist and a State Department consultant with an expertise in security clearance, said based on published reports about Walker's life, the accused spy appeared to have "a Casablanca, romantic view . . . that allows him to enjoy life by saying he has a secret that you don't know. There is power in that. He can control relationships and apparently did.
"The reason a person goes into the business of espionage -- whether they join an organization like the CIA or do it on their own in a detective agency -- is because he likes the whole romantic image of what a spy is about," Pieczenik said.
"He lives a life of half-secrets and half-truths. He can live a life without having to confront reality. He doesn't have to grow up."
Dr. Louis Jolyon West, a University of California professor of psychiatry who has studied intelligence, brainwashing and hostage manipulation, offered three reasons why someone would become a spy.
"The first is some kind of loyalty -- loyalty to one's own country for whom one spies or loyalty to an ideal, which might be outside one's own country, as was the basis for people like Kim Philby a Soviet spy who operated in the post-war era ," West said.
"The second motivation is revenge . . . people who have a grudge against their parent organization or their country. People do this primarily to damage those whose secrets they are selling or betraying."
West said the third category is a "bag of mixed psychological motivations" that includes spying "for thrills" as well as for financial gain.
"They often rationalize. If you interviewed such a man he might say he was as patriotic as someone else and that he was no different from someone selling grain to the Soviet Union," West said. "I can't make a diagnosis based on the newspaper reports but based on what I have read, I would say that if Walker was a spy . . . he was in the third category."
Dr. Murray Miron, a Syracuse University psychologist who is a consultant to the FBI in some criminal cases involving espionage, said that spies can suffer from a paranoia best defined as "the disorder of the control and usage of power."
Miron said paranoia and espionage are linked in the sense that "there is power in information, in intelligence . . . while the paranoiac typically lives in a fearful state of discovery of hidden, sometimes erotic impulses and other hidden aspects of his character that he must protect."
One way that a paranoid person may try to protect himself, Miron said, is to lead a life of secrecy.
"But in order to maintain the secrecy, he may want to turn the psychological quirk of specializing in information and intelligence that others aren't privy to. In so doing, that gives a person power over others, that gives an elevated self-aggrandizement over others who don't share those secrets."
Miron said that "dealing in secrecy can be an almost drug-like nurturance of paranoiac impulses." And, he said, because those impulses are contagious, "it is not difficult to understand that someone's paranoia can be used to nurture and to exacerbate the paranoia of others. You need only say to someone who is undergoing stress something like,'Did you hear that click on the phone just now?' and suddenly all the impulses come pouring out."
The defense against that, Miron said, is to have the knowledge that "you are the one who is doing the recording, who is in control, who is not vulnerable to the surprise attack of someone else."
Pieczenik pointed to general behavior theories to explain how spies recruit other spies. Allegations that Walker lured his closest associates -- his adoring son, his quiet brother and his studious friend -- into spying could be explained by looking at how people manipulate, he said.
For example, a spy recruiter might enlist others by "promising them money, by promising them a more exciting life, by suggesting that they could have a glamorous life like his compared to the boring lives they had," Pieczenik said. Often that is how a powerful person controls others, he said.
A spy recruiter also might convince others to join by telling "them that it was a low-risk option," Pieczenik said. "He could say he had been doing this for years and hadn't been caught and wasn't likely to be caught. And to validate his point, he could point to others who are drug addicts and alcoholics and who have security clearance anyway."
American society has tolerated many changes in its mores since the 1960s, Miron added. That tolerance for a wider range of behavior -- "we, unlike Russia, have bag ladies . . . Hollywood stars with six to 10 marriages . . . and the Amish" -- can produce spies, he said.
Pieczenik said a spy may insinuate to his accomplices that, if they cooperate, they will be able to have better and more glamorous lives. The accomplices live "rather quiet lives while accruing assets for the glamorous life that they might have" later on, he said.
But that theory doesn't always work the way the accomplice might think, experts say. Persons who get lured into spying with the idea of making some extra money for a certain period of time often cannot stop.
"Anyone who thinks he can sell low-level information and make a few bucks and get out is fooling only himself," one government official said. "Once the Soviets get hold of you, they have a voracious appetite -- for high-tech information, computer technology, military applications of research and development, anything at all that they can get."
Those who recruit spies are professionals at the game of espionage, West added. "They are very smart," he said. "They know how to get their subject involved just a little bit, doing something that seems harmless, then they get them to do a little more.
"They use the carrot-and-stick approach," he said. "The carrot is more money for doing more and the stick is that they will expose you if you stop.
"The bottom line is that you work for them forever."