US couple plead guilty to spying for Cuba over 30 years

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Walter Myers, 72, a former State Department official with top-secret security clearance, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud, according to the department.

His wife, Gwendolyn Myers, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to gather and transmit national defence information to Washington's Cold War enemy Havana, and will serve between six and 7.5 years behind bars.

The pair also agreed to forfeit $1,735,054 – the total salary Myers earned from the US government between 1983 and 2007, when he made repeated false statements to investigators about his security status.

"For the past 30 years, this couple betrayed America's trust by covertly providing classified national defence information to the Cuban government. Today, they are being held accountable for their actions," David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.

"These guilty pleas should serve notice that we remain vigilant in protecting our nation's secrets and in bringing to justice those who compromise them."

The couple entered their pleas in the US District Court in Washington before Judge Reggie Walton.

The Myers – Walter had been known as Agent 202 and Gwendolyn was Agent 123 – were arrested on June 4 after an undercover FBI sting operation, having allegedly passed on secrets for decades to Washington's Cold War foe.

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