SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate, proclaiming that the case did not involve "a high level of espionage," set bail at $200,000 Monday for a former U.S. Air Force sergeant who allegedly tried to pass secrets to the Soviet Union.
U.S. Magistrate Frederick Woelflen denied a request by Assistant U.S. Atty. Eb Luckel to hold Allen John Davies without bail. The magistrate said he was not persuaded that Davies was a danger to the community or might become a fugitive.
Woelflen ordered that Davies stay in the San Francisco-San Jose area until his trial, live at his parents Cupertino home and seek counseling--including help for drugs--if it is shown that he has a dependency problem.
"I don't feel that this case is of the high level of espionage that we have heard about in recent years," Woelflen said in allowing Davies to go free on bail pending his trial.
Davies faces life in prison if he is convicted.
Davies, 33, clean cut and casually dressed, smiled and shook his head in apparent disbelief when Luckel quoted a friend of Davies as saying he used drugs daily.
Harry Hellerstein, assistant federal public defender, called Davies "very patriotic" and said it is "highly unlikely" that the Soviets do not already have the information that Davies is accused of trying to pass.
Davies was arrested last week at a defense firm in Palo Alto where he worked, when the "Soviet agent" he dealt with turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
He is accused of trying to provide details of a secret reconnaissance project from his Air Force days.
Davies, a 10-year Air Force veteran, worked on the reconnaissance program while in the service in 1983 and 1984.
He gave "detailed verbal information" about the reconnaissance program, including a "hand drawing depicting various aspects" of it, an affidavit filed in court says.
He was quoted as telling investigators that he "wanted to burn the government" because he resented that the Air Force claimed he owed the government $1,200. Davies was discharged from the service in 1984.