Reviews

Selling Out

"Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?"
—Juvenal

On November 29, 1984, an FBI agent in Massachusetts took extensive notes from a long conversation with an alcoholic woman about the alleged Soviet spy activities of her former husband, John Walker. Barbara Walker initiated the meeting with a phone call on November 17. Her story was filed and forgotten. On January 24 Laura Walker, the Walkers' daughter, called the FBI office in Boston to ask why no action had been taken. The phone call was logged, and it too was buried. Finally, in February, a Boston FBI agent, making a routine three-month file review, noticed the initial report of Barbara Walker and sent reports to Washington, DC, and to Norfolk, Virginia, where John Walker lived. The FBI office in Washington, DC, buried the report. Fortunately, Joseph R. Wolfinger, director of FBI operations in Norfolk, saw the notice and set in motion the plan which led to the May 21, 1985, arrest of perhaps the most effective spy operation since the theft of the Anglo-American blueprints for the atomic bomb.

Breaking the Ring by John Barron is an easy-to-read story about the Walker family spy ring, how it was exposed, and its significance to the national security of the United States. With the advent of smiling Mike Gorbachev's policy of glasnost and the nine-month political orgy of the Iran/Contra hearings,...

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