Video: Father and son accused of spying for Russia

msnbc.com news services
updated 1/29/2009 4:25:17 PM ET 2009-01-29T21:25:17

An imprisoned ex-CIA spy and his son have been charged with renewing contact with the father's former Russian handlers to get more money for espionage.

An indictment today opens a new chapter in the case of Harold Nicholson, a 16-year veteran of the CIA who was arrested in 1996 and charged with giving the Russians classified U.S. documents and pictures. The government said the Russians paid him $120,000. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.

Harold Nicholson and his 24-year-old son, Nathaniel, have been indicted in Oregon, where the elder Nicholson is still serving time in a federal prison for the past espionage charges.

The pair face charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government and money laundering.

The indictment says Harold Nicholson, who pleaded guilty in 1997 after being paid $300,000 to pass secrets to the Russians, wanted to receive further payments for his work, and used his son as a go-between.

Officials charged that Nathaniel Nicholson collected another $35,593 in a series of recent trips to meet Russians in San Francisco, Mexico City, Lima, Peru, and even at a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Cyprus in December.

The younger Nicholson "then brought the funds he received back to Oregon to disperse to family members at the direction of his imprisoned father," prosecutors say.

Nathaniel Nicholson was arrested Thursday morning in Oregon and the two were scheduled to appear in court later in the day, officials said.

Harold Nicholson is currently serving a 23-year prison term in Sheridan, Ore., after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit extortion. Using the code name "Neil R. Strachey," he regularly communicated with agents of the Russian Federation, investigators said. As a trainer of CIA personnel, authorities say he gave the Russians the identities of the young CIA recruits he was training, and the identities of other high-level CIA officers.

According to the new indictment, the Russians still thought Harold Nicholson might be able to provide them valuable information — specifically, how he had been discovered and how much the investigators had learned about Russian spying.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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