A former CIA employe and her Ghanaian boyfriend, who were arrested July 10, were indicted yesterday on espionage charges by a federal grand jury in Alexandria.
The 18-count indictment of Sharon M. Scranage, who served in a covert capacity for the CIA in Ghana from May 1983 to May 1985, alleges that she disclosed classified information, which included details about a planned coup attempt by dissidents against the Ghanaian government.
In addition, it charges that she gave the identities of 11 CIA informants and five CIA employes to her former boyfriend, Michael Agbotui Soussoudis.
Soussoudis was charged yesterday in a separate eight-count indictment that alleges he sought information from Scranage about Ghanaians working with the CIA and about dissident groups opposed to Ghana's leader, Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings.
Soussoudis, 39, who is a first cousin of Rawlings, was charged with espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, receiving classified information and conspiracy to receive classified information. He has been held without bond since his arrest.
Scranage, 29, was charged with espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, disclosing the identities of U.S. intelligence agents, conspiracy to disclose classified information and disclosing classified information.
Scranage was released to her parents' custody shortly after her arrest when they put up their family home in King George, Va., in order to secure a $25,000 bond.
The espionage charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The indictment against Scranage alleges that she told Soussoudis, whom she dated steadily during 1983, and then again from January to May of 1985, the identities of the chief of the CIA station in Ghana, two CIA communicators and the soon-to-arrive deputy chief of the CIA station. She did this knowing "that the United States was taking affirmative measures to conceal" the relationships of these people with the CIA, the indictment alleges.
Scranage, who had "top secret" clearance for her job as an operations-support assistant, took shorthand notes from the classified files in the CIA office to provide Soussoudis with information about "Ghanaian dissident activity and details of a planned coup by such dissidents," according to the indictment.
Scranage also allegedly provided Soussoudis with CIA information about a request by the Ghanaian government for arms from Libya, the indictment alleges.
Before her return to the United States in May, Scranage met with a high-ranking intelligence officer of Ghana who instructed her to gather additional information about Ghanaian dissidents from CIA files at its headquarters in McLean, the indictment alleges.
At this meeting on May 24, Scranage was given a carved wooden stool and a carved ivory elephant tusk as gifts from the official, the indictment continues.
Scranage's alleged activities were detected by CIA officials when she was given a polygraph during a routine debriefing after her return to the United States in May, according to sources familiar with the investigation, which led to her arrest.