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John A. Walker Jr., notorious ex-US sailor who spied for Soviets, dies in prison


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A former American sailor convicted during the Cold War of leading a family spy ring for the Soviet Union has died in a prison hospital in North Carolina, officials said Friday.

Retired Navy Warrant Officer John A. Walker Jr. died Thursday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said. The cause of death was not immediately released. He was 77.

Walker was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in 1985 to passing secrets to the Soviets while he was a shipboard communications officer.

The security breach was then considered among the largest and most devastating leaks of military secrets in the nation's history.

A cryptologist, Walker used his high-level security clearance to provide Navy codes, ship locations, and other sensitive data in exchange for cash. After his 1976 retirement, Walker recruited his son, his brother and a friend to keep providing the Soviets fresh information. All were convicted.

Walker's spying career began in 1967, when he was based at the massive U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. Walker went to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and volunteered to hand over secret coded material on a regular basis, according to court documents.

Over the next 17 years, the Soviets used the information provided by Walker and his accomplices to decode millions of secret U.S. Navy messages and to learn about the tactics the Americans deployed against them.

After his arrest, prosecutors said Walker's betrayal of his country appeared motivated by greed rather than ideology.

In 1985, Walker agreed to plead guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors to obtain a lighter sentence for his son.

Former Navy Seaman Michael L. Walker served 15 years in prison and was released in 2000.

The brother, retired Navy lieutenant commander Arthur Walker, died at the Butner hospital in July.

The fourth member of the spy ring, Ex- Navy Chief Petty Officer Jerry A. Whitworth was convicted in 1986 and later sentenced to a total of 365 years. A database of federal inmates shows that Whitworth, now 75, is incarcerated at the Federal Penitentiary in Atwater, California.

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Captain Jack August 29 2014 at 4:33 PM

good riddence to this piece of crap they should have put him to death and saved the country a lot of money

Flag Reply +55 rate up
7 replies
houseosims August 29 2014 at 4:25 PM

Ship his carcass to Russia and let them have what they paid for---his sorry ass.

Flag Reply +44 rate up
HAYLEY BUG August 29 2014 at 4:38 PM

He should have been hanged a long time ago!

Flag Reply +36 rate up
6 replies
bemr1954 August 29 2014 at 4:33 PM

Does not deserve to be buried under American soil...

Flag Reply +30 rate up
6 replies
ticktockticktock1 August 29 2014 at 4:28 PM

That grinning fool died in prison ... GOOD!!!

We will always remember him as a traitor.

Flag Reply +30 rate up
2 replies
kabube ticktockticktock1 August 29 2014 at 4:58 PM

And his family too--they profited by his actions!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
jsimancas kabube August 29 2014 at 5:51 PM


Flag +1 rate up
frank.foreman ticktockticktock1 August 29 2014 at 10:24 PM

He should have been forced to survive on a strictly hot pepper diet , that would have taught him a lesson over the years. Bushel baskets of them.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
snsenica August 29 2014 at 4:29 PM

I'm glad he was in for life. His spying endangerd the entire nuclear sub fleet for years.

Flag Reply +25 rate up
4 replies
bithewayu812 August 29 2014 at 4:27 PM

Fitting with putin doing his level best to rebuild the former Soviet Union and we have the modern version of Jimmy carter in the Whitehouse. Now I know why the gave Putin the reset button to press it sent us back to the 1970s and the coldwar.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
7 replies
rdriver921 August 29 2014 at 4:26 PM

Hope its a quick trip to hell..

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
kabube rdriver921 August 29 2014 at 5:00 PM

And a long layover!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
witty5150 August 29 2014 at 4:22 PM

Good Riddance.................

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
salejimsale witty5150 August 30 2014 at 8:46 AM

i say same.as a retired cwo4 .good riddance

Flag Reply 0 rate up
wil2660 August 29 2014 at 4:29 PM

Glad to hear it, rot in hell *******.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
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