January 30, 2009, - 12:22 pm

Inmates Running the Asylum: Another Federal Prisoner Works w/ the Enemy From Behind Bars

By Debbie Schlussel
Remember back in 2005, when it came to light that three convicted 1993 WTC bombers were recruiting jihadists and planning terrorist schemes from their cells in the Supermax federal prison facility? From what was supposed to be the toughest, most monitored prison we have, these guys sent over 90 letters and made several phone calls recruiting terrorists without the feds bothering to look at their mail, due to a lack in Arabic speaking staff to monitor the letters and calls.
Now, we find out that a former top CIA agent who spied for Russia–and was convicted and sent to prison for it–has been sending more secrets to Russia from his federal prison cell. Since this guy speaks only English, you have to wonder what the excuse is for not catching this earlier. It sounds like a great movie, but if this were a movie script, we wouldn’t believe it would be possible.

A former Central Intelligence Agency official imprisoned for spying for Russia continued to pass information and collect money from his old handlers while behind bars, according to U.S. prosecutors.

nathanielnicholson.jpgharoldnicholson.jpg

Harold & Nathaniel Nicholson: Father & Son Spies for Russia

Harold James Nicholson, 58 years old, used his 24-year-old son, Nathaniel, to restart contacts with Russian spies in Mexico, Peru and Cyprus, according to an indictment against father and son filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore. Both father and son were arraigned Thursday on charges of money laundering and acting as agents of a foreign government.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent’s affidavit filed in court provides a spy-novel narrative from 2006 to 2008. U.S. officials claim Harold Nicholson tutored his son in spy tradecraft and Nathaniel Nicholson tried to hide his activities as he reached out to Russian contacts on trips abroad, buying his plane tickets with cash.
Prosecutors allege the elder Mr. Nicholson, who was serving a 23-year sentence, was seeking to recover money, and perhaps a “pension,” that his Russian contacts owed him for past work, in order to help his financially struggling family. Even behind bars, Mr. Nicholson still held value to the Russians, who wanted to figure out how he was caught and how much U.S. investigators knew of Russian spying in the U.S., prosecutors say.
Harold Nicholson was a former CIA station chief in Malaysia and later worked as an instructor for trainees at the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters. He was convicted of espionage conspiracy under a plea agreement in 1997. Prosecutors say he gave Russian spies the identity of the CIA’s Moscow station chief as well as information on new CIA trainees. Federal agents stopped him as he attempted to fly to Switzerland to hand over classified documents to agents for the SVR, the successor agency to the Soviet Union’s KGB. He is the most senior CIA official ever convicted of spying for a foreign government. . . .
FBI agents monitored the father and son, using email and telephone wiretaps and tracking devices on the son’s car to keep tabs on the 24-year-old’s alleged spy activities, according to documents filed by prosecutors.
Along the way, the father offered proud words of encouragement to his son. A birthday card the father sent the son last year, according to prosecutors, read: “You have been brave enough to step into this new unseen world that is sometimes dangerous but always fascinating. God leads us on our greatest adventures. Keep looking through your new eyes. I understand you and me.”
Federal agents stopped Nathaniel Nicholson as he returned from meeting contacts in Lima, Peru, in December 2007. Without telling him, the agents photocopied a notebook he carried that agents say contained coded notes about his alleged meetings with Russian spies. The notebook also contained instructions for a meeting he later had at a TGI Friday’s restaurant in Nicosia, Cyprus, with a Russian contact, according to the FBI affidavit.

I can just see the ads: “TGI Friday’s . . . Official Meeting Place of International Spies. No Wonder They Call it the Secret Sauce.”

FBI agents monitoring an email account attributed to Nathaniel Nicholson said that in October 2008, he sent a coded email as instructed by his Russian contact, confirming an upcoming meeting in Cyprus.
The email, according to the FBI affidavit, read: “Hola Nancy! It is great to receive your message! I love you too. I hope to see you soon! The best regards from my brother Eugene! – Love Dick”
Prosecutors claim the son collected nearly $36,000 in trips overseas intended to help family members pay off debts. The father expressed hopes of relocating to Russia when he left prison, prosecutors say.
In one letter, the father sent physical data such as his height and weight to his son, and prosecutors think the information was to be used by the Russians to provide him travel documents upon his release.

Glad they caught this guy. But since some more secrets were apparently passed from Nicholson in his jail cell, via his son, to the Russians, they didn’t exactly foil him in time.
One other thing: This guy gave out the identities of our top spies in Russia, and who knows what else. Yet, he was only sentenced to 23 years in prison. Contrast that with Jonathon Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for spying for our ally, Israel.
* Read the Nicholson Indictment.
* Read the fascinating Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Jared J. Garth.

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8 Responses

If you spy for Russia, its considered much ado about nothing. If you spy for Israel, its a capital offense. Of course, there’s a double standard and when it comes to the Jews and Israel, there will always be one.

NormanF on January 30, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Well, this just follows our foreign policy. Most Government officials concerned with foreign policy do have a much warmer view of Russia than they do of Israel. Bush II looked into Putin’s eyes & saw a friend and kindred spirit (probably not far off the mark at that considering Bush’s overall foreign policy). The US worked with Russia to help accomplish foreign policy objectives just like the US works with our friend, Syria in the Mideast. Israel is a thorn to all of these presidents, and of course, we know what Clueless Condi and the rest of them think of Israel. She is an ‘expert’ on Russia, knows Russian fluently, so guess which country she likes better.
Most of them would consider good relations with Russia much more important than good relations with that ‘albatross’ Israel, so it is not surprising that Nicholson gets better treatment than Pollard. Of course, inherent anti-semitism has nothing to do with it.

c f on January 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

You have to understand something:
America is a nation of cowards.
We are afraid of Russia because it’s the historic enemy that possesses nuclear weapons, therefore we forgive it for whatever it does to its neighbors or even if it’s spying on us.
We condemn Russia publicly in words and sleep with it in private.
This is how it will always going to be with Russia.
Our consecutive governments don’t want to restart the Cold War again, so they say.
(While, in the mean time, Russia is rebuilding its Military, guess why? For the sole purpose of fighting America in the future.)
Do you see what fear can do to a so-called “powerful” nation (who used to be one) like America?
Apply this to our consecutive governments and how they are dealing with the Muslims.
After September 11, 2001, America became officially a nation of cowards.
Don’t be fooled by Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and how “tough” he was.
It goes deeper than what the media and his administration told you.
Presidents are courting the Muslim world for the sole purpose of begging the Muslims not to attack America gain, hoping that Al Qaeda will listen.
Presidents freed terrorists from Guantanamo and others want to close it, hoping that Al Qaeda will listen.
Don’t be fooled by what the media is telling you.
It’s not only about the “image” that they want to close Guantanamo, it is about FEAR.
Ask Spain, Britain and France what fear can do to you.
America is no more a powerful nation that can change the world’s attitude through toughness or can at least stand her ground.
America is no more an independent nation.
The interests of the world and the terrorists must come first.
Fear and political correctness -which in my opinion is another word for FEAR- is the policy of the U.S. governments.
America became a nation of beggars, of slaves, of sissies who will do anything to please the world and her enemies before her friends, not realizing that she never had any real friends except Israel.
This is the status of America nowadays. And I’m afraid it will remain unchanged for a long time.
Bush started it, Hussein will continue the job with more expediency and more kowtowing.
We have been blessed with scumbags, coward leaders.
Until things change and America becomes a powerful independent nation again, not a nation of slaves, I have to say:
I am not proud to be an American.
I am ashamed to be an American.

Independent Conservative on January 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm

America treats those who spy for her enemies with kid gloves. She punishes harshly those who spy for her friends. And the world thinks this country is serious in dealing with real threats abroad?
You only have to look at how the Famous But Incompetent failed to catch the Nicholsons’ spying from prison. We’re in trouble.

NormanF on January 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Debbie, Stop making excuses for convicted spies against your country. Or make aliyah and go to Israel and renounce your citizenship. Pick one.

RKV on January 31, 2009 at 9:39 pm

RKV, where did Debbie make excuses? All she pointed out is the double standard America has about convicted spies. By all means, throw the book at those who betray this country but don’t treat Jews differently from others who have committed the same crime.

NormanF on January 31, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Norman,
Neither one of them deserves mercy. Both deserve the death penalty. Just because one hasn’t suffered what they deserve is no reason to give the other a break. It’s a reason to punish one more, that is all.

RKV on January 31, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Debbie writes that Nicholson was sentenced to 23 years. The Walker family spies and Christopher Boyce [or Boyd?] were sentenced to much shorter terms, but Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to what is practically a life sentence. Yet Pollard spied for a friendly country, Israel, with which the US had made an agreement to share info, whereas the Walkers and Boyce spied for the Communist USSR. So we see an unjust, hard to explain inequality right there. But it’s worse because the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.” Pollard’s punishment is clearly unconstitutional. What rubs salt into the wound is that the usual “human rights” and “civil rights” phoneys –the ACLU– refuse to do or say anything to help Pollard. So the ACLU is a fake “civil liberties” outfit. They just add to the oppression and persecution of Pollard. On Pollard, the ACLU position is the same as that of the Govt, of the Justice Dept, of the CIA, etc.

Eliyahu on February 1, 2009 at 9:48 am

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