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Embassy Guard Who Spied for Soviets Is Freed

February 28, 1996| From Associated Press

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Former Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree, the only Marine ever convicted of espionage, quietly returned to private life Tuesday after serving eight years in a military prison.

Lonetree, 34, left the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in a closed van. After a stop at the drive-up window of a bank nearby, he got into a car with an unidentified man and was whisked away without responding to reporters' shouted questions.

Lonetree originally got 30 years in prison, reduced eventually to 15 years. Described as a model prisoner, he got additional time off for good behavior.

From his Washington office Monday, defense attorney Lee Calligaro said Lonetree wanted as little publicity as possible.

A woman believed to be Lonetree's mother stood outside the van while he did his banking.

"My son is a victim of Ronald Reagan's Cold War," she said.

Lonetree, of St. Paul, Minn., was a guard at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the early 1980s when he fell in love with Violetta Sanni, a Soviet woman who worked as a translator in the embassy. She introduced Lonetree to a man she identified as her Uncle Sasha, later revealed to be a Soviet agent.

Lonetree was convicted by a court-martial in 1987. The most serious charges alleged he provided the KGB with identities of CIA agents and floor plans of U.S. embassies in Moscow and Vienna.

His attorneys argued that Lonetree was tricked and coerced into implicating himself. They also contended Lonetree gave the Soviets non-vital secrets so he could string the KGB along as a free-lance double agent.

In 1991, former Marine Cpl. Charles Anzalone was sentenced to 15 years in prison for passing maps, manuals and other documents to an FBI agent posing as a Soviet spy. Anzalone, a telephone technician stationed in Yuma, Ariz., was charged with attempted conspiracy to commit espionage.

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