Miller Tells of Planned Spy Meeting in Vienna
Fired FBI agent Richard W. Miller admitted Monday that he agreed to go with a Russian woman on a trip to Vienna, where he was told he would meet a Soviet agent and be paid $15,000.
Miller, the first FBI agent ever charged with spying on his country, said he also agreed “to bring paper” at the request of his lover, Svetlana Ogorodnikova.
But he said he was only “playing along” with her and never actually planned to pass classified documents to the Russians.
“I said, ‘I’ll bring paper. I’ll bring paper.’ But it was never my intention to do so,” Miller said. “I thought I’d play along with her.”
The 48-year-old Miller is accused of espionage along with Ogorodnikova, 34, and her husband, Nikolai, 51, but Miller’s trial has been severed from that of the Ogorodnikovs and is scheduled to begin afterward.
The government contends that Miller agreed to pass documents to Russia through Ogorodnikova for $65,000 in cash and gold and that his main motivation was money.
Miller, a counterintelligence agent, has said he was doing his best to infiltrate Soviet intelligence to improve his standing with the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Bruce Merritt asked Miller what was promised to him in return for the documents.
“Out of the clear blue, she said I would get the sum of $15,000,” he recalled. “She said she would carry back $7,000, and I would carry $7,000, and I would get $1,000 up front for expenses.”
Miller said he also was told he would meet in Vienna with an agent of the Soviet intelligence agency GRU, a man named Mikhail.
The former agent said he agreed to the trip and resumed his love affair with Ogorodnikova, hoping to become “a hero” to the FBI.
‘Back in Ballgame’
“I was back in the ballgame,” Miller said of his feelings when Ogorodnikova telephoned him in early September and picked up the relationship he thought was over in late August.
Despite their sexual relationship and his words of endearment heard on surveillance tapes, Miller vowed from the witness stand that he had never really been in love with the Russian emigre woman.
“I wasn’t in love with her,” Miller declared.
“Do you deny falling in love with her?” asked Merritt.
“I deny falling in love with her,” Miller said.
Ogorodnikova, seated at a counsel table across the courtroom, looked down and continued scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad.
Earlier in the day, Miller testified that he had discussed the types of documents her government wanted but said he never talked about handing over classified documents.
Under questioning by Merritt, Miller described the end of his trip with Ogorodnikova to San Francisco in August, 1984, when she visited Soviet consular officials there.
“She was very intoxicated and pleading with me to stay with her a little longer,” he said of their return to Los Angeles. “It took me at least an hour to get rid of her.”
Miller said Ogorodnikova’s mood would switch from friendly to unfriendly, and her behavior was “crazy.”
“She flip-flopped. First she hated me, and I hated her, and the next minute she was wrapped around me like a snake,” Miller said.