Traitor Marine, Lonetree, Goes Free

February 26, 1996 - USA Today

Former Marine Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, 35, of St. Paul, Minn., will be released Tuesday from a Fort Leavenworth, Kan. prison cell after serving nine years for spying. While a U.S. Embassy guard in Moscow in the early 1980's, he gave secrets to the KGB after falling in love with a Soviet woman.

His 30-year sentence was cut three times.

Only Marine Convicted of Spying Leaves Prison
February 28, 1996 - USA Today

Leavenworth, Kan. - Former Marine sergeant Clayton 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 at Fort Leavenworth in a closed van. After a stop at the drive-up window of a bank just outside the main gate of the northeast Kansas Army post, he got into a car with defense lawyer Lee Calligaro.

They left immediately without responding to shouted questions from reporters.

Lonetree originally got 30 years in prison, eventually reduced to 15 years. He got the additional time off for good behavior. He was also fine $5,000, received a dishonorable discharge with no pay or benefits and was reduced in rank to private.

A woman thought 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, who is from St. Paul, Minn. was stationed as 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 Soviet agent Aleksiy Yefimov.

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

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

Lonetree did not testify. He made a brief, unsworn statement before sentencing. He refused to say his problems were anyone else's fault. "I'm not going to blame anybody," Lonetree said.

See Also:
  • The Lonetree Case
  • Unequal Justice