FORT MEADE, MD., JAN. 21 -- A career soldier accused of offering military secrets to the Soviets sold schematic diagrams and an electronic circuit board from an M-1 tank to a person he believed to be a Soviet but who was really a federal agent, authorities said today.
Sgt. Daniel W. Richardson, 42, who was arrested Jan. 14, was officially charged today with seven specifications of alleged misconduct in four charges, according to John Yacquaint, spokesman for Aberdeen Proving Ground in northeast Maryland, where the soldier was assigned. The charges include alleged violation of Army rules, theft of government documents and materiel, and wrongful disposition of government property.
Magistrate Capt. Daniel J. Deneau ordered Richardson held at Fort Meade until his trial.
The charges generally allege that on Jan. 13 and 14 Richardson disobeyed Army regulations by failing to report an attempt by an unauthorized person to obtain classified information, Yacquaint said in a telephone interview. Other specifications allege that he stole schematic diagrams and an electric circuit board from an M-1 tank, and that he wrongfully disposed of the items by selling them to an individual whom he believed was a Soviet agent, Yacquaint said.
Authorities said the FBI and Army investigators were already aware of Richardson's activities and the alleged agent was a federal agent. Richardson, who was demoted one pay level last summer for repeatedly being late for work, was arrested at an Aberdeen motel.
The 19-year Army veteran's job was to hand out tools and repair manuals in the Tank Turret Division. Until last summer, he was an instructor there.
The military justice system requires Richardson's trial to start within 90 days of his arrest.
The Oakland native, who is divorced, has received 17 medals and ribbons in his career, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. He received the Army Good Conduct Medal six times, according to an Army spokeswoman.
Yacquaint said officials have not decided which of the four categories of courts-martial Richardson will face. The maximum penalties differ with each category.