My sentencing letter, as published in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online March 7, 1999.
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Brooding Over a Secret Life
Brooding over a secret life Squillacote writes letter to judge seeking leniency.
Journal Sentinel Online March 07, 1999
Letter from former Milwaukeean Theresa Marie Squillacote to U.S. Judge Claude
M. Hilton, Eastern District of Virginia, asking for leniency on the eve of her
sentencing for spying. Hilton sentenced her to a term of up to 21 years and 10
months, the lowest possible term. Squillacote's letter is dated Jan. 20, 1999.
Dear Judge Hilton,
I am writing you regarding my sentencing, which comes before you on Jan. 22, 1998
(sic). I would like to have the opportunity to express myself to you before that time, and
it would be too difficult to state many of these thoughts publicly at the hearing. So I hope you will bear with me as I express them through this letter. I will try not to ramble, but there is so much I want to say to you, personally, one-to-one. I do hope that you will be able to read this letter in its entirety.
First, I want to thank you for the fair, impartial and highly professional manner in which
our trial was conducted.
Second, I am extremely sorry to have put the government to so much trouble. My conduct was stupid and highly irresponsible, damaging to myself and my family and my country. I castigate myself as a government lawyer and as a mother. I also sullied my own deeply held beliefs about justice and fair play.
I would like to try to give you some picture of how that happened, and of the kind of
person I am. There were so many issues that came out at trial; I thought I might try to
organize my thoughts around them:
A lot was said about the traumas I experienced as a child. My own memories are a mix of extremes -- a very warm, loving home environment yet a great deal of physical pain. I
have myself learned a great deal over the last months about the effect of trauma, and the scope of what I went through. I didn't fully realize the scope of it -- sometimes when
Larry or one of the doctors were describing it during the trial, I felt they were talking
about someone else, not me. On one level, it seems very detached and unreal. It also
seemed sometimes like we were whining "oh, take pity on this poor little crippled girl,"
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which bothered me because it is antithetical to how I was raised.
But it did happen, and I need to come to grips with it -- which will probably be the
predominant theme of my incarceration. The idea that I had a weak sense of self-identity resonates with me; it harmonizes with my memories. Nowadays, in a children's hospital, children are in semi-private rooms and the parents are encouraged to spend the night, as much time as they can, with the child. Back then, in the late fifties in Chicago, we were in large wards, with several dozen other children. Mom's visits were very limited, and she could only spend the night on the eve of surgeries, when she could sleep in a chair next to me.
Sometimes it seemed like we kids all blended together. I distinctly remember continual
shouting for the nurse to bring a pain shot; we would all be crying, and it became hard to tell yourself apart from the others. I remember being absolutely terrified that I had to be totally obedient, or else something awful would happen. I also remember it being
drummed into me that no matter how much I hurt, someone else was always suffering
more, so that one's own needs were discounted, in a sense. I remember once when I was somewhat older and was having a bone spur removed from my rump (when the tip of your bone becomes needle sharp and has to be removed), some machine that was
circulating the blood from one part of my leg to another jammed up. The pain was
unbearable. I couldn't even cry. It was like stepping into a blast of freezing air; your eyes
dry up and teeth hurt. Mom had stepped out to go to the cafeteria. The mother of the little girl next to me was so upset for me. She kept trying to cheer me up with some little
purple stuffed animal. And all I could think of was how badly she felt, and that I should
try to smile to make her feel better. It seems to me now very sad that I couldn't just cry
Anyway, I think the doctors at trial made clear the long-term impact of these experiences. I hadn't really given them much thought before. In fact, I think I buried them good and deep, as I was not permitted to think of myself as different. I can a lot of it now, how it makes one easily malleable, but now it's too late.
Meeting Kurt and Getting Involved in This Mess
As my Dad's letter indicated, I had already picked up an avid interest in politics from my
family (though, of course, being Dad, he totally ignores Mom's activities. She was very
active in civic affairs, the League of Women Voters, Democratic Party, etc. She
worshiped the ground Adlai Stevenson walked on. In fact, JFK (Note: John F. Kennedy)
ran her over in a hallway at the 1965 convention in Chicago.)
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And boy do I mean avid! By the time I was 14 or so, everything seemed so important. I
just couldn't understand why we humans couldn't organize ourselves to get rid of poverty and suffering. And government seemed so very sacred to me. I remember Black Sunday, when Nixon fired everybody, calling up my Dad who was away on a camping trip. They pulled him in from fishing on the lake to take my call. I was sobbing, "How could he do it, Daddy, how?"
I wanted to make an impact on the world to redress this suffering. I doubled up on my
load in high school in order to graduate in 3 years, which I did -- at age 16. I already had
a leaning toward law because it seemed the best way to effect change (though I think I
would have done just about anything to please my father). Of course, I was already
immersed in Taft Hartley law, knew all about the NLRB (Note: National Labor Relations
Board) before I even finished grade school.
I went to Madison my first two years, screwed up horribly (being too young to be away
from home), came back to Milwaukee majoring in history. That's when I first got
introduced to left-wing politics, on campus. I got in with a group of students, and through them, met my husband. He was close to the communist movement. He became my teacher.
Kurt (Note: Stand, who was convicted with her for spying-related counts) is a very
unusual person, very gentle, extraordinarily intelligent, painfully shy, with a total absence of practical skills. Anyway, he opened up a whole new world for me. I had been invited to join the Communist Party. He and his parents asked me not to. They explained that they were part of a "shadow" movement, of Socialists and Communists who were asked to refrain from open political activity in order to: 1) keep themselves out of the path of repression, and 2) thereby also broaden their experiences in the intelligentsia, which they couldn't do if they were open leftists. It definitely wasn't "go become a spy and find out where the bombs are." It was called anti-imperialist solidarity work, it grew out of the underground movement against Hitler (in which his family had been involved), and was connected to East Germany. This was my framework. If I wanted to be with Kurt this was the agenda.
I learned more. I learned that Kurt really didn't want to "do this" (whatever "this" was),
that it was really mostly his parents' bag, and primarily the father's, I learned that the
dynamic between him and his family was (and is) very strange; for some reason, he
couldn't say no to them. He was perceived by his parents and their East German friends as so very skilled intellectually that he would be of unique value to "the movement," -- not in his ability to provide information, but rather in his ability to make analysis of political developments. I think he resented it horribly -- not being valued for just who and what he
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was -- but couldn't bring himself to say so. Kurt is strangely passive in many respects; his
family, in particular his father, is very rigid.
The parents rather quickly developed a deep dislike of me, Lothar used to say it was
because I already had strong parental ties, so they couldn't just step in and take over my
character. Anyway, they bitterly opposed our marriage, tried to stop it (by, incidentally,
telling friends that Kurt had a "special, anti-imperialistic mission" which I would keep
him from). When they couldn't stop it, they stayed away from the wedding and from us
for the next decade.
Meeting Lothar; Karl's Illnesses
I first met Lothar in 1981. Exactly what it was, or who these people were, was rather
fuzzy to me for quite some time I knew he was a communist bloc official and that he was part of this secret, "underground" effort. I didn't really pay much attention to it, though he was clearly an authority figure to me. It was something we did every couple of years -- go and meet and talk politics. I otherwise just lived my life. I definitely did not feel compelled to by them to direct my career in any specific direction, national security or otherwise. I pursued a career in labor law, graduated from Catholic University Law
School in 1983 on a Friday, and started at the NLRB the next Monday.
I was already pregnant, and when Karl was born, focused on him and his problems, and
then Rosa, much more-so than work. I didn't really start to hone my skills as a lawyer
until 1986 when I started to get some big cases. The challenges spurred me on. That, and the associate general counsel, head of the office I worked in (Division of Advice), was so very smart and dedicated. It was a privilege to work for him.
By the end of 1986, I began to feel the strain -- normal "working mother" strain, but also
the strain of Kurt's passivity, of not being fully involved, in my view, as a partner in the
marriage, of not equally sharing responsibility. I sought marriage counseling. But then
Karl's encephalitis onset in early '87, and everything changed drastically. It is very hard to describe the impact of his illness. When he was born with the club feet, I was so
distraught, because I didn't want him to have to go through what I had gone through, the multiple surgeries and all (which Karl did ultimately have to go through). I had so hoped that my child would be normal, without birth defects. But the orthopedic problems were nothing compared to his illness. It was so devastating. He lost complete bodily control in almost a matter of hours. And he was so terrified. He didn't have a clue what was happening to him, except that he perceived it as a punishment. "I'm not a bad boy," he would cry. He would hit and bite himself, and bite others. It was extremely traumatic.
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I guess my response was just to go into automatic pilot. I knew I was "carrying the ball,"
and that I just couldn't drop it, because otherwise he might die. I was absolutely terrified,
but I couldn't show it. I truly functioned at a very high level, for a very long period of
time. I knew we were in serious trouble when the first neurologist at Children's Hospital
started questioning her first diagnosis. I got him into Johns Hopkins, into the pediatric
neurology clinic, where he was seen by the department head. He noticed a very slight
kind of eye movement that suggested brain stem involvement, which led him to a
different diagnosis and a different battery of tests. We ultimately stayed at Hopkins.
He was hospitalized several times during this period, for testing and surgeries. They were looking for a neuroblastoma, a tumor often found with this form of encephalitis. Once they established that he didn't have one, we began giving him injections of a very
powerful steroid to treat the ataxia. But the steroids had their own highly unpleasant side effects; they made him animalistic.
It was during this period that I became personally involved with Lothar (Note: Ziemer, an
East German intelligence agent and her "handler," whom she first met in 1981). I went to
see him in March of 1987, and we started an affair. He was a very strong person, very
authoritative and competent -- the complete opposite of my husband. In my mind's eye,
the relationship became my source of strength, how I managed to cope with everything I
had to do, how I got through Karl's illness and subsequent behavioral and educational
problems. I can remember clear as a bell lying on the cot next to Karl's hospital bed and
telling myself that I could get through this because I had Lothar to help me. If I had to get up at dawn to get a couple of loads of laundry done, get to work, go home, get the kids, get dinner, get them to bed, and then go back to the office at 9 or 10 p.m., squeeze in all the medical issues as well (mine as well as the kids), and then the special education
problems -- well, in my mind I could do all these things because Lothar was "with me."
He was my partner.
We stayed involved through the years -- though we rarely saw or communicated with
each other. Still, the relationship came to mean everything to me. I idealized him
completely, and I wanted to please him desperately. It is hard to describe it accurately; it
was the one spot in my life that was beautiful, where I was beautiful, when everything
else was hellish. I clung to it.
My Professional Work at the NLRB and DoD
Simultaneously, by the late 1980's, my professional work had really started to take off. I
was getting very interesting, difficult case at the NLRB. I was also getting a lot of
appellate work. At the Board, we do our own enforcement work rather than DoJ (Note:
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Department of Justice), not just of final Board orders, but also of the emergency,
preliminary injunctions we obtain under 10(j) of the Act. I got a reputation for doing
solid work fast. I was put on the appellate injunction work full-time. I enjoyed the
pressure of it, the challenge, especially because the people I worked for were so very
dedicated to the law and government service, much as my father had been.
But I had also started to notice several things. One was that, if you didn't keep developing your career, all of a sudden the years would roll by and you'd really be in a rut you couldn't get out of. I saw a lot of people like this at the Board -- ten, fifteen years in a GS- 14 with nowhere to go. This was especially true when, like me, you didn't have trial experience. I didn't want to fall into that rut.
The other thing was that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life doing the same legal
work over and over again. I had been immersed in Taft-Hartley law since I was a little
girl. I wanted to broaden my horizons professionally.
Third, though I felt I had made some kind of a political (and now personal) commitment
to Lothar, I didn't believe that I was living it, and so I felt like a hypocrite. Because I had
asked, and agreed to, keep away from open political activities, I didn't have in my life any
political work as a socialist except this connection to him. So all my beliefs about the
possibility of building a better world for humankind were wrapped up in that connection. In my mind, he became my voice, that through which I could express my commitment toward other people.
For all these reasons, I thought I should start "casting my net" professionally. I subscribed to the "National Federal and Legal Employment Report" by Federal Reports, Inc. I noticed that I could use my labor law skills in legal positions that called for dealing with in-house agency personnel issues. I applied for such jobs, but didn't get them. I did notice that a lot of those in-house counsel positions were paired with procurement law
responsibilities. Thus, I thought I could enhance my opportunities by enrolling in the
LLM program in procurement law at George Washington University. I started evening
classes there in the fall of '88. I did an independent study with Prof. Nash, the "guru" of
procurement law, to produce a good writing sample. I then sent it out to all federal offices of general counsel, defense and non-defense, simply all of them.
You see, Lothar had never specifically guided me to go to defense jobs. He really hadn't
guided me toward specific jobs at all. The only thing he ever really mentioned was trying
to get a job on the Hill, on committee staff. He thought -- correctly -- that work as hill
staff got one the kind of political exposure that helped on build one's own political base,
or for simply having a more mature political understanding of developments in U.S.
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society. It was basically just "do what you want to do and see what develops of interest."
That could just as well have been a position on Democratic party stuff, analyzing political
strategy and policy at a private "think tank," or numerous other positions. Mr. Bellows
made fun of our assertion that we would have a little camera to photograph political
analysis, but that's what the relationship was supposed to be all about. You could tell that by the questions Lothar asked on the Casio -- they were questions about politics.
Well, I got a lot of interviews but no offers, primarily, I thought, because of my lack of
on-the-job experience. I thought if I could get an internship and get some practical
experience, it would help. The only political connections I had, however, were through
Dad and his friendship with Les Aspin and Jim Moody (Moody was our House rep from
Milwaukee, Aspin from another Wisconsin town). Dad had known Aspin for many years
from the labor-management community in Wisconsin. He had tried to get a job with Dad when he was first starting out, and they had stayed in touch over the years. Dad
contributed $25 to his campaigns, that sort of thing. Well, Aspin was chair of House
Armed Services Committee, so I wrote to him asking if I could do some work for the
committee. Colleen Preston, the committee general counsel, wrote back that she had a
project in mind for a number of years, to review old procurement laws and see what
should be kept or repealed.
In 1990, my general counsel at the NLRB agreed to detail me to the committee for 90
days (yes, it was a different field of law, but my work record was very high, and he liked
that I was trying to better myself professionally), which I supplemented with overtime
that I earned to essentially make it a 6 month detail, half days at the committee and half at the Board. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Colleen. She was totally no nonsense. And I enjoyed the challenge of doing professional work so different from anything else I had done in the past, stretching yourself professionally to see if you could do something
The project I worked on as an intern eventually turned into a big deal -- a legislatively
mandated "blue ribbon" panel to study all of the federal acquisition laws and review them for obsolescence, whether they should be repealed, amended, retained, etc. Eventually, the organization tasked to sponsor this panel heard about me from Colleen and hired me. I still had had no job offers, and I had been in the same job for 8 years. I was eager to move on and took the first offer that came my way; I would have taken whatever the first offer was.
So now I had a new career field -- "acquisition reform," something much more specialized than just working in procurement law generally (in which I still had no
practical experience). We spent two years putting together the panel report. I learned one
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very important thing about DoD (Note: Department of Defense) -- it is chock full to the
gills with waste and inefficiency. We spent 7/8th of our time figuring out inane ways of
how to do something and 1/8th actually doing it, and this is par for the course at DoD. It
was grotesque, and still is.
When Aspin was made Secretary of Defense, Colleen went over to the Pentagon with
him, and she set up a specialized office to implement Acquisition Reform, using the panel report as a starting point. She was in charge of that effort. I was now looking for a job because the panel report was finished. She respected my work, and I also had a lot of insider knowledge about the report, so she hired me. I staffed our legislative efforts from 1993 through 1997.
Those four years were nightmarish. It was like trying to get your arms around an
enormous blob. You could never really do it, and if you made progress in one small area
it would come at you again from another. The defense bureaucracy was like a living
organism, with its own raison d'etre that had no relationship with rationality. It wasn't like what I was used to elsewhere in the government -- where you argue an issue on the merits and the better position wins. It was intensely frustrating.
The first couple of years we got some major legislative initiatives through, working
closer with the Administration's NPR efforts. The rub came as we got closer to the
changing processes that more deeply affected the vested interests of the bureaucracy.
That's when we really started getting attacked. And I mean attacked, like nothing I'd ever
seen before, or hope to ever see again. I'd sit through meetings that made my blood run
cold. Superficial change was acceptable, but not change that spoke more profoundly to
how decisions were made, how the budget was developed, programs chosen, etc. But
that's where the real payoff was in terms of efficiencies and savings.
You see, we had discovered that you couldn't reform the acquisition process in isolation
from the rest of DoD business processes. Our ideas in this area are what led to Colleen
being appointed at DoD. Unfortunately, when her boss found out, he fired her -- pure and simple. He said to her: "You can resign and I'll give you 30 days to leave and protect your staff, or I'll fire you and you'll have 24 hours to get out of the building." When I heard this, I went up to this SOB and quit, and two hours later had out-processed 15 years of government service. He had been "beating her up" for months by undercutting her efforts and protecting vested interests, yet she had more dedicated, public service spirit in her little finger than he would ever know in a lifetime. So I said "screw it" and left.
I always thought this was the best argument that I wasn't a spy -- what spy in their right
mind would quit a career, GS-15 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, no matter
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what political opportunities they thought might await their colleagues elsewhere. In a
similar vein, if I had wanted to be a spy, I would have cozied up to the "powers that be,"
the bureaucrats, etc., instead of alienating them, taking them on headfirst, which is what I consistently did. With the in-depth, first hand knowledge I had of all the new revisions to the procurement laws (and the credibility I had there -- my work was respected), I could have easily gotten a staff attorney slot in some DoD component with access to
information. That was not what I did.
These experiences were exhausting. Colleen was physically and emotionally devastated
by her four years there, and I was not far behind.
My first experience with major depression had been in April 1991. It seems now
completely ridiculous; after a visit, Lothar said goodbye to me in an awkward way. I
perceived this as some kind of profound rejection, and spun off into two years of
depression. It was like falling into quicksand or moving in slow motion. I didn't know
what had happened to me. I had been such a high performer. Now, all of a sudden, it was an effort to get a cup of coffee to my lips. My therapist wanted to hospitalize me and medicate me for depression, but after what had happened to my sister Marian, I didn't want that (she had committed suicide by taking a great deal of her own medication). I wanted to work my way out of it on my own, and I did, but it took two solid years. I ended up moving out of my house for the second year, into a little apartment right near by.
After I moved back into the house in 1993, my marriage really started to improve. We
were both working on it consistently. I also began to realize that there wasn't much in it
for me, in this relationship with Lothar. It was more just by way of him having a
"permanent girlfriend," of feeling still connected, alive. I was still staying in touch with
Lothar, only now the tables were turning, in a way. That is, I began to feel that he was the one who needed me, rather than the other way around.
I also didn't understand why I was continuing to refrain from open socialist political
activity. If the goal of those so-called underground work had been to make analysis about international affairs, the prospects for, and threats to, peace based on perspectives that you couldn't get as an open leftist, well, in my view there wasn't any reason why we couldn't just go ahead and do that. You didn't need a state government to write analysis and publish. But Lothar never sought to do any of this, and sort of laughed at me if I tried to raise it with him on my own. I began to feel that this was all really rather a stupid waste of my life.
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I longed to have the kind of political relationship that my husband had from his
membership in the Democratic Socialists of America where he was free to be himself; he
was so well-respected in that organization, and in his trade union work. Kurt had long
since realized the fundamental flaws in the socialist societies and especially the
ridiculousness of this particular effort. Instead I was still secretive about the fact that I
was a socialist, yet for no purpose that I could discern. And on top of that I went daily to
a job that, while an important contribution to good government, was very difficult and
But I felt very guilty about leaving Lothar. He had lost a lot, his country, the political
movement to which he had dedicated his life, his job, his son, who had died some years
earlier. I felt so sorry for him. And I perceived that I was some kind of lifeline for him,
something that kept him from, as he used to put it, becoming bitter. I couldn't just throw
him off to the side, like some decrepit old man who had no purpose or function anymore. So I kept in touch.
By 1996, we hadn't seen each other in about two years. We had made arrangements to get together for his upcoming birthday. When we spoke to confirm them, he had forgotten about them and made other plans. He became irritated at my raising it, and said we wouldn't see each other for a year or more. It had been very hard for me to assert myself to him (it always was), and again, like in 1991, I was crushed by what I perceived as a wholesale rejection. I could feel myself falling into another depression, only this time I felt I couldn't go through it by myself.
I stopped my telephone contact with him. I started anti-depressants and therapy right
away. I also joined a Democratic socialist organization and started engaging in the kind
of open political work that I had been keeping myself from, uselessly for so many years.
That was kind of a watershed for me -- that I wanted to put the whole ridiculous mess
behind me, including, and especially, a relationship in which I had been badly used. But I
still became very ill; I could not believe that someone so important to me would treat me this way. It was as if my own father had disowned me in the most horrible terms
I was starting to learn more about Borderline Personality Disorder. I had first heard of it
from my therapist after Marian died. I came to understand that a lot of it applied to me as well. I knew I had issues with abandonment and rejection, that I idealized things into
extremes, but I didn't know as much about it as I do now, the underlying trauma that
causes it, etc. The most important thing about it in my mind now is that it is a posttraumatic condition, so that the traumas you experienced early in life continue to shape your reactions later in life. You thus react way out of proportion to reality, although it is
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totally in sync with what is going on inside of you. When I felt rejected by him, all the
rejection or abandonment I had experienced elsewhere in your life -- the cries of other
kids in the ward, the click of my Mom's heels as she walked away down the hall, the
taunts and teasing of other kids -- they all happened all over again.
The Letter to Ronnie Kasrils
During these early years of the 90s, I was also very affected by the collapse of the
socialist bloc. I was an ardent admirer of Mikhail Gorbachev, (Note: general secretary of
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) of his efforts to humanize socialism.
When Gorbachev's reforms failed, I was shocked and deeply disappointed. What
bothered me the most was "why?" If a society had gotten together and organized itself
around the idea of the most good for the most people, why had that effort failed so
miserably? You see, Judge Hilton, I felt it was a matter of integrity to thoroughly
examine my former beliefs. For me, it was not enough just to say, "Oh, well, I guess that
those ideas were wrong," and walk away from them. I wanted to understand how they had failed.
And this led me fundamentally to questions of law. In 1989/90, I had been working on a
international procurement law paper for one of my professors. For the first time, I was
looking at socialist legal systems and constitutions. I noticed some interesting problems
in these constitutional structures that I believed were fundamentally involved in how
authoritarianism was able to flourish in socialist societies.
These issues became an overriding intellectual interest of mine, especially when
combined with my own increasingly in-depth experiences in the executive and legislative
branches here. I began to write about these ideas, and to discuss them with friends.
Eventually, in 1996, I formed a "study group" with these friends to review the collapse of
socialism and other aspects of global capitalism.
I wanted very badly to express these thoughts but as yet I didn't feel "free" to be open
about my politics. Again, I had this compulsion that somehow I was making a profound
contribution to the public weal by hiding these efforts (this was what Lothar had always
ingrained in me over the years -- that my efforts with him were important and valuable in ways that I couldn't understand. It wasn't until 1996 that I began to realize what a bunch of nonsense that was).
Anyway, this was what the context in which I sent the letter to Mr. Kasrils. I very badly
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wanted to speak my piece, to express my thoughts. I didn't perceive that I had any other
arenas within which to do so, and this was so very isolating, difficult for me. Kurt had
brought me Mr. Kasrils' book in 1993. It was one of the few public expressions by a
communist I had encountered. Also, the South African Communist Party had taken the
lead, after the collapse of the socialist bloc, in critically examining that failure, much as I
was trying to do within myself.
So I wrote this letter to Mr. Kasrils in June of 1995, expressing these thoughts I had been
generating over the last 5 years or so. My father was always one to write a letter, to speak one's piece, as, for instance, he did in his letter to you (which, of course, he has now mailed out to countless friends and family). I hadn't the least intention of initiating an espionage relationship -- there's nothing in that letter that could be remotely construed as such. The most I expected was exactly was I got -- a nice card acknowledging the letter. Why did I send it secretly, using another name and the P.O. Box? I was not yet out of my "cocoon," this idea that I was supposed to keep my beliefs secret (sending this letter was really my first step to get out of this cocoon). It was sensitive given where I worked. For example, I had had an ANC poster with Mandela's picture on it on my filing cabinet in my office. A colleague of mine -- someone who was very liberal -- told me that the ANC was communist and that I should take it down. It made me feel skittish and confused. So I used the post office box that I had otherwise been keeping in case I needed to be in touch with Lothar.
I think the trial made it clear what shape I was in when the sting was initiated against me.
I was so completely amazed when I got both Mr. Kasril's real card and the FBI forgery. I
was completely amazed that someone would have found me -- something I said or
thought as opposed to Kurt -- to be of value. I used to keep the letter next to me, and cry
and sob when I read it. What a pathetic picture!
When I met the undercover FBI agent, he made it clear what he wanted. And I knew by
then that this aspect -- sharing "information" -- was part of what Lothar was doing. When the Berlin Wall came down, there was a big article on Markus Wolf in the Washington Post because he was supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators. I showed it to Lothar a year or two later and asked him who he was. That is when I fully realized what he was. But he kept that "segregated" from our relationship, which was always characterized as a political one ("anti-imperialist," and so forth). For example, he did not want to get that CIA job (contrary to what Mr. Bellow said at trial, I only applied once to them, as part of my overall sweep of all federal OGCs). Lothar thought anything having to do with
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politics -- that would improve my political understanding -- was more important for me.
So I took the documents to give to him. At first, I think I had a half-formed idea that I
would simple read and digest them and use them to further the analysis I wanted to make. But when I sat down to write, I felt too stupid, that I wouldn't really be able to say
anything of value. So I just gave them to him. I did it impulsively, quickly. I believe I felt
that it would make me valuable to him, that otherwise they would just drop me, "bank it," as the undercover agent said. I thought if I could cement the relationship, it would be a route back to Lothar for me, to my idealized version of the early years of that relationship when I was very strong and effective, and everything was very beautiful because of him. I told the FBI agent that I wanted to get back in touch with Lothar (though I already had by then). It reminds me of a couple things: When I was little and something bad was going to happen, I wanted to hurry up and get it over with, like having a shot. So I wanted to hurry up and give him these documents, because doing it was also something "bad." I also remember when I was very young and making my First Communion, I had stolen dimes from my brother's rare coin collection and gone down to the corner gas station to buy candy bars for the neighborhood kids. It reminds me of passing over the documents because in both instances I stole something to give to someone else in order for them to be my friend.
There was much discussion at the trial of grandiosity and narcissism. Well, I do know the
undercover agent made me feel like he was very "macho," that he belonged to a fancy
country club that you very much wanted to belong to as well. So I "talked his talk" and
tried to sound as tough and cool as he was coming off as. I exaggerated grotesquely.
I had hoped that this new relationship would continue the kind of dialogue that I had
started in my original letter to Mr. Kasrils, and which I had continued in the study group.
I gave the agent my study group materials, and tried to engage in dialogue with him on it. But the relationship kept turning back to some Stalinoid stereotype, like communists in leather jackets from a "B" grade movie; it was becoming exactly what I didn't want it to be. And then, if I indicated any problem or question, they would quickly assure me that, of course, I could always leave, but oh how dedicated I was and of such value to them. It made it impossible to leave, or even to articulate my real thoughts. It was like telling a woman who's been starved for affection for years, "you are beautiful and wonderful and we adore you; of course, you can always leave but you are so beautiful and wonderful," and so on and so forth. I described it in my letters to them as "your words are like water in the desert." I think my lawyer's characterization of the sting as a seduction is very accurate.
Page 14 of 14
Judge Hilton, I have taken up 15 pages worth of your time. I have given you the most
accurate, honest picture I could. I have tried very hard to be a good mother, as my
husband has a father. We have both cared very deeply for other human beings on this
planet and in our own way, albeit confused, tried to help end human suffering. We have
not lived as selfish, greedy people. I made a horrible, awful mistake but I was so very
sick at the time. It was never, at any time, my intention to hurt the U.S. government. I am
the daughter of a career civil servant; I have always treasured the ideals of public service
and aspired to be as good a government lawyer as my father was.
I do want to ask you, based on this picture, whether you might be able to extend leniency to my family and send one of us -- hopefully my husband -- home to our children. I truly wonder whether, based on what you know of us as people and our case, it is justice to send us both away from them for so many years. I am praying you will find it in your heart to help us.
Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely, [Original Signed]