LOS ANGELES — A former CIA agent jailed for spying for Russia in 1997 had eight years added to his prison term Tuesday, after admitting using his son to pass more secrets to Moscow while behind bars.
Harold James Nicholson, 59, is serving over 23 years in the northwest state of Oregon, but has admitted to passing information during prison visits by his son Nathaniel, who then traveled abroad, from 2006 to December 2008.
The case is the first time a spy has been convicted of new crimes involving a foreign country they spied for, while serving an espionage sentence, the Department of Justice said.
Nicholson admitted that, “with the assistance of his son Nathaniel, he acted on behalf of the Russian Federation, passed information to the Russian Federation, and received cash proceeds for his past espionage activities.”
Specifically he “admitted that during the course of the conspiracy he met with his son Nathaniel on several occasions at (his prison) and provided Nathaniel information intended for the Russian Federation.
The son traveled to San Francisco, Mexico City, Lima and Nicosia to meet with Russia agents, it said.
Nicholson also “directed Nathaniel on how to covertly travel with the funds from the Russian Federation and how to disperse the funds to family members,” it added.
The additional eight years’ jail term was agreed as part of a deal in which Nicholson pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to commit international money laundering.
David Kris, Assistant US Attorney General for National Security, said: “Today, former CIA official Harold Nicholson is being held accountable for once again violating his oath to protect America’s national security.
“While imprisoned for a prior espionage conviction, Nicholson dispatched his son around the globe to pass information to and receive cash payments from agents of the Russian Federation,” he added.
Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, said: “At a global level, this investigation shows that international espionage is a threat America still faces, decades after the end of the Cold War.
“On a personal level, it shows the damage a father can do as he manipulates a son into a world of dishonor.”