Former CIA Clerk Claims Innocence

Robert Lee Zimmmer - Associated Press - November 16, 1978

William Kampiles, a former CIA clerk accused of espionage, told a federal jury Thursday that he was innocent. But he offered no explanation for why he confessed to FBI agents on Aug. 15.

Defense Attorney Michael Monico has contended Kampiles was coerced into confessing by threats against him and his family.

However, Monico asked Kampiles nothing about the reason for making the confession.

Before cross-examination began, Kampiles said that his confession was not true, and that he had recanted it on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17.

"I never had any classified documents in my possession - ever," Kampiles testified.

During closing arguments, Monico told the jury Kampiles should not be convicted because the government failed to prove he stole any secrets document and sold it to the Soviets.

"Their the prosecution entire case rests on statements elicited from Mr. Kampiles, " he said, referring toi the confession.

U.S. Attorney David Ready, however, portrayed Kampiles as a young man who took a shortcut to his goal of being a double agent.

"He sold one of the United States' top secrets to the Soviet Union, " Ready said.

Kampiles, 23, is accused of stealing one copy of a top-secret technical manual for the KH-11 satellite surveillance system. The system monitors, by photograph from outer space, troop and equipment movements. The government contends he sold the document to a Russian embassy official in Athens, Greece, during a trip there in February and March 1978.

Jacqueline Cooper, a CIA employee who worked in the same office as Kampiles, was the last to testify.

She said that about four months after Kampiles is alleged to have stolen a KH-11 sattellite technical manual, she saw a KH-11 document in the office where they worked.

However, on cross-examination, she said she could not be sure whether it was the missing KH-11 manual or a document known as a KH-11 handbook.

On cross-examination, Kampiles said that he told federal investigators different stories on different days about what he had done in Greece in February and March.

Taking the stand for the first time Wednesday, Kampiles said he was in Athens at that time and met four times with a Russian he identified as Michael. But he denied that he passed any documents or classified information to the Russians, although he received an envelop from Michael containing $3,000 cash.

Kampiles said he tricked Michael into believing that he still worked for the CIA, had access to top-secret material and would steal it for the Russians.

The defense contends that Kampiles - who held a low-ranking post with the CIA from March to November 1977 - hoped that the CIA would hire him back as a double agent if he fooled the Russians into thinking he was on their side.

After the closing arguments Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Phil McNAgny charged the jury, which was then permitted to go to dinner before starting deliberations.