Accused spy Jerry Alfred Whitworth was indicted by a federal grand jury here today on additional charges of spying for the Soviet Union, as well as five new charges of failure to pay income taxes on money he allegedly made from his spying activities.
The 12-count indictment charges that Whitworth obtained and copied classified information about U.S. contingency plans in the event of violence in the Middle East and a sensitive new Navy communications system used to link with the Defense Department's primary system for transmitting written messages and data.
Today's indictment represents the first use of federal tax charges against any of the four Walker spy case defendants. [The first of those defendants to go to trial is Arthur Walker, John Walker's brother, who is in the second day of his trial in Norfolk.]
The indictment charges that in addition to failing to report his full income for the years 1979 through 1982, Whitworth conspired with John Walker and others to defraud the federal government by handling money "in ways that would be difficult for law enforcement agents to trace," including buying cashier's checks with cash, using safe deposit boxes or safes rather than checking accounts to hold cash, and using cash to pay for significant purchases.
A source close to the investigation said agents had been able to trace more than $100,000 in funds belonging to Whitworth, some of it in overseas bank accounts. Prosecutors often seek tax charges because they may be easier to prove or permit the use of evidence that might not otherwise be allowed in court.
Whitworth's wife, Brenda Reis, has also been the subject of a grand jury inquiry of the couple's joint income tax filings. A source close to the investigation said that despite the fact that only Whitworth was indicted today, the inquiry into Reis is continuing.
Today's indictment replaces an earlier one, returned in June, that charged Whitworth, 45, a retired Navy senior chief radioman, with one count of conspiring to commit espionage and said that he received $328,000 from John Walker for his role in the alleged spy ring.
Today's indictment restates the conspiracy count and increases to $332,000 the amount of money Whitworth allegedly received.
It adds six substantive charges of unauthorized taking, copying or possession of national defense secrets and charges that Whitworth gave the information to Walker to be passed on to the Soviet Union.
Among the information Whitworth is alleged in 1982 to have copied for delivery to the Soviet Union is a classified Navy manual, titled "Annex K," outlining communications plans in the event of an outbreak of hostilities in the Mideast.
Whitworth is also charged with giving Walker documents, photographs, plans and other information about classified operations involving the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, on which Whitworth served from November 1982 until his retirement in October 1983.
He is also charged with obtaining, copying and giving to John Walker in 1980 documents, photographs, sketches and other information about a new Navy communications system, called the Remote Information Exchange System, and its impact on the existing Defense Department communications system known as AUTODIN.
According to a Pentagon source, the Remote Information Exchange System, started during the late 1970s, is the Navy's primary means of transmitting written messages and data.
To do so, the Navy links with AUTODIN, short for automated digital network. The network is designed for high-speed secure transmission, through high-frequency radio channels, satellites and other means, of about 5 million messages daily to Defense Department facilities throughout the world.
Both the AUTODIN and the Remote Information Exchange System are still in use.
It was not clear from the indictment exactly how much information Whitworth may have given the Soviets about the communications system or what access that may have permitted them beyond the Navy itself and into other branches of the military.
Although the indictment states that Whitworth held a security clearance of Secret or Top Secret, depending on his assignment, a document in Whitworth's court file indicates that at least sometime during his Navy career, Whitworth had access to the highest category of classified information, known as "sensitive compartmented information."
Whitworth, who was unemployed and living in a mobile home park in Davis, Calif., at the time of his arrest, is being held without bond in an undisclosed jail.
He is expected to be arraigned Thursday on the additional charges.