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John Anthony Walker
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    (July 28, 1937-August 28, 2014)
    Born in Washington, District of Columbia
    US Navy Chief Warrant Officer
    Spied for the Soviet Union (1968-85)
    Provided information on US Navy encryption systems, times and targets for US airstrikes against North Vietnam, technical details of several weapons systems, vulnerabilities of US spy satellites, and US Navy plans in case of war with the Soviet Union
    Sentenced to life in prison
    As a teen, he was arrested multiple times for theft.
    He enlisted in the Navy at 18 when, after another burglary, he was offered a choice between jail or joining the military.
    He began selling top secret information to the Soviets for cash after a bar he opened started failing financially.
    After he retired from the Navy, he recruited his son Michael, brother Arthur and a friend, Jerry Wentworth, to provide him with classified material.
    He was so eager to recruit his daughter into the spy ring that when she announced that she was pregnant and was leaving the Army to be a full-time mother, he offered to pay for an abortion.
    Despite receiving huge amounts of money from the Soviets, he regularly fell behind on alimony and child support payments to his ex-wife Barbara.
    Considering that Barbara knew about his spying, he really should have been more wary about pissing her off.
    He was widely considered the most damaging Soviet spy in US history.
    KGB defector Vitali Yurchenko told his debriefers, 'If you had gone to war with us during the time of Walker, you would have lost, just as you did in Vietnam. We would have wiped you out.'
    He wore a hairpiece.
    Asked how he had gotten his hands on so much classified information, he replied, 'Kmart has better security than the Navy.'
    When his wife Barbara first told the FBI that her husband was a spy, the agents listening to her story dismissed it as the rantings of a drunk, bitter woman trying to get back at her ex. (In the agents' defense, she was drunk and bitter.)
    However, her story was forwarded routinely to the Norfolk FBI office, where her description of a piece of spying equipment she had found struck them as legit, launching the investigation that caught Walker.
    He agreed to provide full disclosure of the details of his espionage, in return for his son receiving a relatively lenient sentence of 25 years in prison.
    Showing good timing, he died in prison one year before he would have become eligible for parole.

Credit: C. Fishel

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