Miller Kept Secrets ‘Pool,’ Agent Testifies

Times Staff Writer

The FBI’s top polygraph expert testified Tuesday that former agent Richard W. Miller admitted to him last October that he was keeping a “pool” of secret documents in his bedroom to take with him on a planned trip to Eastern Europe to meet Soviet intelligence officials.

Paul K. Minor, chief of the FBI’s polygraph division in Washington, was the second FBI official to describe damaging admissions by Miller as the former agent’s espionage trial in Los Angeles federal court neared the halfway point.

Miller, the first FBI agent in history to be charged with espionage, referred to a small cache of classified documents after admitting that he had already shown convicted Soviet agent Svetlana Ogorodnikova one secret document known as the FBI’s Positive Intelligence Reporting Guide, Minor said.


Led to Arrest

The alleged admission was made to Minor during an Oct. 1 interview with Miller at the Brentwood Motor Inn, the headquarters of an FBI investigation that led to the agent’s arrest the next day on charges of passing secret information to the Soviet Union.

Later the same day, Miller also allegedly confessed to FBI Agents Larry Torrence and Graham Van Note that he had shown the document to Ogorodnikova in the bedroom of his home and taken it with him on a trip to the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco.

Minor, who never actually conducted a polygraph examination of Miller, said in response to questioning from Assistant U.S. Atty. Russell Hayman that Miller made his admissions after first saying that he could not remember whether he had passed documents to Ogorodnikova.

Miller said he gave Ogorodnikova a copy of the guide in the bedroom of his Lynwood home and “never saw the document again,” Minor testified. He added that Miller also disclosed to him that other classified documents found at his home were a “pool he would take to Vienna.”

Although Minor did not elaborate, other testimony has established that Miller planned to travel with Ogorodnikova to Vienna and Warsaw last October to meet with a high-ranking Soviet intelligence official.

On Sept. 27, after making plans for the trip, Miller reported his involvement with Ogorodnikova to the FBI, saying that he was hoping to infiltrate the Soviet KGB, but could not proceed without the FBI’s approval.

Questioned for 5 Days

Instead of giving Miller approval, FBI interrogators questioned him for five days. He was then fired and arrested on espionage charges.

Minor was the 62nd government witness to take the stand as Miller’s trial entered its fifth week and the prosecution began the final stages of its case. Miller’s lawyers, Stanley Greenberg and Joel Levine, announced plans to call 53 defense witnesses.

Among those on the list are Ogorodnikova and her husband, Nikolai Ogorodnikov, who have pleaded guilty to conspiring with Miller and are serving prison sentences. Miller is also on the list, but his lawyers have said that they do not yet know whether he will be called in his own defense.

When his examination of Miller began last Sept. 30, Minor said, his first question to Miller was, “How did you end up here today?”

‘ “Svetlana Ogorodnikova,’ ” Miller was quoted as answering.

After Miller had confessed to passing the Positive Intelligence Reporting Guide, Minor said, he tried to press him as to whether he had given Ogorodnikova other documents.

‘ “Just write out any statement you want, and I’ll sign it,’ ” Minor quoted Miller as saying.