Spy Suspect Provided Data on Satellites, Army Charges

Times Staff Writer

Providing new details of the alleged spying of Warrant Officer James W. Hall III, the Army Wednesday accused him of providing East German agents with film and documents on military satellites, communications intelligence and the capability of the United States to retaliate against a large-scale attack.

The charges brought against Hall, 30, include conspiracy, security violations and espionage--charges that could result in the death penalty under military law.

Hall and his alleged conspirator, Huseyin Yildirim, 60, were arrested by FBI and Army Intelligence Security Command agents on Dec. 21 to shut off what a Justice Department official described as "a massive hemorrhage" of U.S. defense secrets to East Germany and the Soviet Union.

Yildirim, a Turkish citizen accused of serving as Hall's courier in the United States and in Europe during a six-year espionage operation, was indicted on Dec. 28 by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring with Hall to deliver intelligence secrets to Eastern Bloc agents.

In disclosing more specifics of the case against Hall, the Army charged that on Jan. 17, 1988, Hall turned over to East German agents in their country exposed film and documents relating to military satellites, communications intelligence and the capability of the United States to defend itself or to retaliate against a large-scale attack.

Trained in Intelligence

He was accused of returning to East Germany last July 2 to deliver similar secrets to agents for that country. Hall, trained in signal intelligence and electronic warfare, spent much of his 12-year Army career in West Germany and was reassigned to an intelligence post at Ft. Stewart, Ga., last year.

Yildirim, also known as "The Meister," met with Hall in such places as Vienna and Berlin as well as in Savannah, Ga., and acquired a photocopy machine, presumably to facilitate the alleged espionage, according to the Army's charges.

In addition to the espionage and conspiracy charges, Hall was accused by the Army of failing last November and December to secure classified information in appropriate containers and of removing classified data during off-duty hours.

From August, 1984, to November, 1987, Hall violated Army regulations by failing to report attempts by "unauthorized persons" to obtain information, photographs and documents on Army personnel and activities, the Army charged.

Hall was also accused of turning over film, documents and information on "war plans" to East German and Soviet agents at various sites in Europe and the United States between Feb. 19, 1986, and December, 1987.

Hall now faces a so-called Article 32 investigation--the equivalent of a grand jury inquiry under civilian law. Lt. Col. Robert Mirelson, a spokesman for the military district of Washington, said that Hall would have to be charged in the Article 32 investigation and subjected to a general court-martial with a capital offense specified before he would be subject to the death penalty. He described the possibility of such actions as "way down the road" and "very speculative."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World