Admitted spy John Anthony Walker Jr. testified today that "common sense" told him that Jerry Alfred Whitworth knew the classified information he passed to Walker was going to the Soviet Union.
"It made no sense that a friendly government or a criminal element would buy cryptographic material," Walker said in response to a question by Assistant U.S. Attorney William S. Farmer.
He said using the coding keylists that Whitworth allegedly supplied "would require extremely high technological skill which few countries are capable of."
In addition, Walker noted "the fact that he [Whitworth] continued to ask me to find out how Soviet spies were caught and what mistakes they made. How could a private organization have that information?"
U.S. District Judge John P. Vukasin Jr. permitted Walker to say whether he thought Whitworth knew the material was going to the Soviets over strenuous objections from defense lawyer James Larson.
Larson, who during three days of cross-examination emphasized the point that Walker never directly informed Whitworth that his buyer was the Soviet Union, complained that Walker was being asked to give his opinion on "the very question which the jury in this case is being asked to decide."
Whitworth, a retired Navy communications specialist and Walker's former best friend, is accused of conspiring with Walker for 11 years to pass highly sensitive Navy codes and other classified information to the Soviets. He allegedly received $332,000 for his role in the espionage ring.
Defense lawyers appear to be hinging their case on an argument that Whitworth did not know the material was going to the Soviets, as he is charged. Prosecutors say they believe the evidence shows Whitworth knew Walker's buyer was the Soviet Union, but that Whitworth could still be found guilty of espionage for selling secrets to an allied country such as Israel.
Walker said he lied to the FBI about how he started spying in an interview last July 2, before he pleaded guilty to espionage, because his own defense was going to be that he passed materials to a country other than the Soviet Union.
Under cross-examination, Walker testified that he earned "perhaps $700,000" during his nearly 18 years of spying for the Soviet Union. He said he "may have" written a letter after his arrest outlining plans to hold out for $5 million for book rights to his story.
Walker also said he does not expect to be released from prison. "My personal expectations are that I'm not going to get out," he said.
Under the terms of a plea agreement reached last October, Walker is to be sentenced to life in prison and technically becomes eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
Walker acknowledged writing letters to friends describing life in the Montgomery County Detention Center, where he was held following his arrest, as a "much-needed vacation" in which he enjoyed an air-conditioned cell, good food, and "celebrity status," with people seeking his autograph.
However, Walker said those letters -- to his girlfriend, former Norfolk police officer P.K. Carroll, and to Laurie Robinson, his partner in a Norfolk private detective agency -- were inaccurate portraits of life behind bars.
"Jails are horrible," he said. "I'm just trying to make her [Carroll] feel better."
Defense lawyer Larson showed Walker an array of strange weapons seized by the FBI in a search of his Norfolk home after his arrest last May 20.
Walker said he obtained the weapons, canes that concealed a gun, sword and blackjack, from a mail order catalogue.
Walker also testified that he joined the Ku Klux Klan for a short period in the late 1970s when an anonymous person offered him $1,000 to infiltrate the organization and provide the names of members.
Vukasin refused to permit the defense to introduce into evidence a photograph that he said depicted "a smiling Mr. Walker in full Klan regalia."