Expulsion is Customary Response to Diplomat Spying
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Soviet diplomat caught in the act of spying in the United States has little to fear beyond expulsion from this country, judging from publicized cases.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Friday that Soviet officials had been told that Col. Vladimir Izmaylov, who was detained by the FBI Thursday night, would be expelled.
″We expect he would depart the United States shortly,″ said Redman, describing what another State Department official said was normal procedure for a foreign diplomat who carries diplomatic immunity from criminal charges.
The FBI said Izmaylov, air attache at the Soviets’ Washington Embassy, had tried to persuade a U.S. Air Force officer to deliver national defense secrets and had been detained while picking up such documents at a location arranged between the two.
FBI Director William Webster said in a statement that the government will not tolerate those who would steal U.S. secrets, ″and while those individuals may hold diplomatic immunity, that will not stop the FBI from investigating and pursuing all legal avenues available when the situation warrants such action.″
However, the FBI also said Izmaylov was released to Soviet officials after they ″verified Izmaylov’s diplomatic immunity status.″
It is not clear how often expulsions occur, since they are not always announced.
For example, shortly after John Walker was arrested last year and accused of leading a spy ring selling Navy secrets to the Soviet Union, it was reported that a Soviet vice consul had been seen near a suburban Maryland location where the FBI said Walker had left classified documents.
Within a few days it was made known that the diplomat had left the country. Whether he jumped or was pushed was not announced.
The most recent spate of publicized expulsions of Soviets from the United States occurred in two batches during 1983, both following announcement of Soviet expulsions of Americans.
According to the FBI, the three Soviets expelled in April of that year were:
-Aleksandr N. Mikheyev, an employee of the Soviet mission to the United Nations, accused of trying to obtain a highly classified document on Soviet- U.S. relations from an aide to Rep. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
-Soviet Army Lt. Col. Yevyeniy N. Barmyantsev, acting military attache at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, accused of picking up film rolls of classified military documents near a state park near the capital.
-Oleg V. Konstantinov, a KGB officer accused of trying to obtain classified U.S. aerospace and weapons technology information from an American citizen who was cooperating with the government’s investigation.
At the time, Assistant FBI Director Richard Young said of the then-recent Soviet expulsion of an American diplomat, ″I’m sure that case was in the minds of those who made the decision but it was not the reason for the expulsions.″
Five months later, the State Department announced the expulsion of two more Soviets:
-Yuri Petrovich Leonov, an assistant air attache at the Soviet Embassy, said to have been caught carrying a briefcase containing classified documents.
-Anatoly Yevgenyevich Skripko, another embassy attache, said to have been caught handing money to someone for a classified document he had just received.
A State Department official, asking not to be named, said at the time that the latter two expulsions were publicized because the Soviets had publicly disclosed the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat, Lon David Augustenborg, on spying charges.