TAMPA, FLA., JUNE 12 -- A former U.S. Army sergeant arrested last week on espionage charges was ordered held without bond today after testimony depicting him as a man with a brilliant "criminal mind" and a photographic memory packed with military secrets.
A federal magistrate said there was probable cause to believe that the suspect, Roderick James Ramsay, 28, was guilty of conspiring to commit espionage and that there was serious risk he would flee if released on bond.
In a five-page order, U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Jenkins ordered Ramsay's detention and described him as an "immature, yet highly intelligent individual without remorse or scruple . . . "
FBI agent Joe Navarro told the court last week that Ramsay was involved with convicted spy Clyde Lee Conrad in an "unprecedented disclosure of NATO secrets to the enemy" when they served in the Army in West Germany in the 1980s and after their discharge.
Navarro, an FBI counterintelligence specialist, said Ramsay had made damaging admissions in repeated interviews that began shortly after Conrad's arrest by West German authorities in August 1988.
The FBI agent said that at one point, Ramsay even attempted to interest him in working for "the other side."
Conrad, 43, was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison June 6. The West German judge said Conrad had "endangered the entire defense capability of the West" by giving information to Hungarian and Czechoslovakian intelligence services that could have led "to capitulation and the use of nuclear weapons on German territory."
Conrad and Ramsay worked in the G-3 plans section of the Army's 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach. The office, Navarro said, was responsible for collecting information from U.S. and NATO forces, including details about tactical use of nuclear weapons and making plans for coordinated military action in Germany in case of war.
According to Navarro, Ramsay boasted of having a "criminal mind," including a talent for forgery and an ability to recall verbatim contents of classified documents he had not seen in years.
The FBI agent said Ramsay, who was arrested here the day after Conrad's conviction, also said he would not mind going to jail if convicted because he could get a "perfect criminal education" there, along with a law degree.
Magistrate Jenkins said she was more concerned that Ramsay would flee, especially in light of his purported access to fictitious passports and hints that he might know the location of some of the unrecovered money that was paid to Conrad.
The FBI estimates that the payments totaled $2.2 million to $5 million. Ramsay, who has held odd jobs here since leaving the Army, reportedly got only $20,000.
Ramsay has been held at Hillsborough County jail but may be moved. Prosecutors said the next step will be presentation to a grand jury.