Sailors Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, were arrested June 4 on charges of spying for the Cuban government for more than 30 years. At the time of their arrest, the Myers were planning for a 10-day cruise on the Chesapeake Bay aboard their 2006 Swedish-built Malo 37 sloop, Helene &mdash a boat that they kept at the Hartge Yacht Yard in Galesville, Md.
According to authorities, Mr. Myers, a.k.a. Agent 202, and Mrs. Myers, a.k.a. Agent 123, were recruited in 1978 by intelligence operatives in Cuba’s mission to the UN. At that time, Mr. Myers worked for the U.S. Department of State where he became a Europe analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He also taught at Georgetown and George Washington universities.
His position at the State Department afforded him a high level security clearance. On instructions from his handlers, he would research sensitive information and pass it on to the Cubans via coded shortwave radio messages, by swapping shopping carts at the local supermarket and other methods. He and his wife visited Cuba on several occasions and are alleged to have personally met with Fidel Castro in 1995 when the Cuban leader visited them at a small house they were renting on the island.
The government claims that the Myers did not spy for money, but for ideological reasons and have subsequently received praise from Castro for their actions.
If convicted, the couple faces up to 35 years in prison for espionage and for Mr. Myers defrauding the U.S. government of his State Department salary and retirement savings. The couple are currently being held without bail at a Washington, D.C., correction facility.