bullet To identify other soldiers who might be willing to spy, Ramsay looked for drug users.

Ramsay Recruited Drug Users

U.S. Army Sgt. Roderick Ramsay was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to 36 years in prison for spying for Hungary. During a two year period he passed a large number of Secret and Top Secret documents containing military operational plans for the defense of Western Europe. He was part of the Clyde Lee Conrad spy ring and himself recruited at least two other American soldiers to provide classified documents.

Ramsay used drugs regularly while in the military. He saw drug use as the principal qualification for selecting those who might be susceptible to recruitment as sources of classified information. He explained this as follows during an interview after his arrest:

"The people that I recruited, yes, they were involved in drugs, but it wasn't so much that they were pot smokers or hashish smokers that made them, in my opinion, more susceptible to the pitch. It was that these were people who had already shown a propensity or willingness to violate Army regulations.
Anyone in the Army who was willing to take drugs on a regular basis has to be willing to take some kind of risk and has to be willing to break the Army's regulations. That's the starting point."

Sgt. Ramsay was the custodian responsible for accounting for all classified documents in the G3 Plans Section of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. He had access to war plans for the defense of Western Europe during a period of considerable tension between the West and the Soviet Union.

The German judge who sentenced Conrad to life in prison commented as follows on the importance of the information compromised by the Conrad spy ring, much of which was supplied by Ramsey. This spy ring "endangered the entire defense capability of the West." If war had broken out, this information "could have led to a breakdown in the defenses of the Western Alliance" and to "capitulation and the need to use nuclear weapons on German territory."

Related Topics: How Spies Are Caught.

Lynn Fischer, "A Wasted Life: The Case of Roderick Ramsay." Security Awareness Bulletin, March 1997. Richmond, VA: Department of Defense Security Institute.






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