KOBLENZ, WEST GERMANY, JUNE 6 -- A U.S. ex-soldier was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison today after a court found he had passed secrets to the East Bloc for more than a decade.
The case of former Army sergeant first-class Clyde Lee Conrad, described by a judge as "ice-cold and unscrupulous," marked the first time a foreign resident living in West Germany had been tried for espionage.
The court found Conrad, 43, a native of Sebring, Ohio, guilty of providing classified material to the Hungarian and Czechoslovak secret services from 1975 through 1985, and estimated he received $1.2 million for his efforts.
Chief Judge Ferdinand Schuth said in concluding a trial that began Jan. 18 that the former sergeant "endangered the entire defense capability of the West." In reading the judgment, the judge said Conrad's motive for spying was "pure greed."
He said had war broken out, the information passed to the East by Conrad "could have led to a breakdown in the defenses of the Western Alliance," and "to capitulation and the use of nuclear weapons on German territory."
Schuth sentenced him to life imprisoment for spying for the Hungarians. He said Conrad was also guilty of spying for Czechoslovakia on a lesser scale, and he sentenced him to four years in prison on that charge.
ABC News reported that authorities are investigating another former sergeant, Roderick Ramsay. It said Ramsay had been recruited into the espionage ring by Conrad when both were stationed at the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Krueznach, 50 miles west of Frankfurt.
The report, which quoted unidentified U.S. sources, said Ramsay had been talking with the FBI. It said the espionage ring had smuggled computer parts from the United States to the East Bloc via Canada.
According to court records, Conrad was introduced to the Hungarian secret service in late autumn 1975 by his supervisor in the 8th Infantry Division, ex-sergeant Zoltan Szabo.
Szabo, who was convicted of espionage in Austria in 1989, received a 10-month suspended sentence. He identified for investigators some of the documents the court said Conrad sold to the Hungarians.