April-December 2000

The Edmond Pope Case


Materials arranged chronologically.

Bohlen, Celestine. "An American and a Russian Held as Spies in Moscow." New York Times, 6 Apr. 2000. []

On 5 April 2000, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that it had "arrested an unidentified American citizen and a Russian described as his accomplice on spying charges." The FSB statement described the American as "the head of a private company." See also, David Hoffman, "Moscow Arrests an American and a Russian on Spying Charges." Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2000, A18; Ian Traynor and Martin Kettle, "US Man Arrested in Moscow on Spying Charges." The Guardian (UK), 6 Apr. 2000; Marcus Warren, "Arrest of US 'Spy' Chills Relations With Russia." Telegraph (London), 6 Apr. 2000; and Giles Whittell, "Russia Seizes American 'Spy.'" Times (London), 6 Apr. 2000.

Hoffman, David. "Embassy Identifies Accused American Spy." Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2000, A12. []

The American Embassy has identified the U.S. citizen being "detained by Russia on suspicion of espionage as Edmond Pope.... Pope, a former Navy captain, was affiliated with Pennsylvania State University's Applied Research Laboratory from 1994 to 1997.... He later founded a company called CERF International, for which he was apparently working in Moscow."

Reuters, "American Held Without Charges," New York Times, 8 Apr. 2000, adds that State Department spokesman James P. Rubin stated on 7 April 2000 that "Russia had not [yet] formally charged" Pope. Kempster, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2000, reports that the Pentagon had said that Pope retired from the U.S. Navy "in March 1994 after a 27-year career that included stints with the Naval Intelligence Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency."

Brooks, Thomas A. [RADM/USN (Ret)] "Free Edmond Pope." Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2000, B6. []

The following are excerpts from Admiral Brooks' letter on the continued holding in a Russian prison of Edmond Pope: "Mr. Pope is a businessman, not an agent for the U.S. government. He is being held in Moscow's infamous Lefortovo prison without any possibility of bail while the charges are investigated.... Congress and the public should insist that the Clinton administration remember its responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens traveling abroad. It is time for Congress to take a no-nonsense stand with regard to the Russians: Treat American citizens properly or forget any aid or assistance from the United States."

Hoffman, David. "Russia Charges American as Spy." Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2000, A27. []

On 27 September 2000, the Russian prosecutor general sent to court "official charges against Edmond Pope, the American businessman accused of espionage for seeking out details of a high-powered Russian torpedo. The move means that the next phase in the case will be a trial, perhaps next month, but no date has been set."

Montgomery, Dave. "Scientist May Testify U.S. Man Was in Russia as Spy." Chicago Tribune, 20 Oct. 2000. []

Edmond Pope will go on trial in Moscow for espionage on 25 October 2000. According to Pope's lawyers, "Russian scientist Anatoly Babkin is emerging as the prosecution's central witness. Babkin was arrested and accused of supplying Pope information, but in a taped, two-hour statement, he denounced Pope as a spy."

[Kalugin, Oleg.] "Testimony on Mr. Edmond Pope's Case [to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs, on 6 Dec. 2000]."

Clark comment: Kalugin is a retired KGB major general and former chief of Directorate K (counterintelligence) of the KGB's First Chief Directorate. He publicly split with the KGB in the summer of 1990 and was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies in September 1990.

"The arrest of American businessman Edmond Pope on charges of espionage exemplifies the current trends in Russian domestic and foreign policies: reanimation of the old Soviet traits and growing anti-Americanism.... Mr. Pope acted as a businessman, not as a spy. He met his counterparts openly, negotiated with them and made a deal. He may have been indiscreet or too eager to get results and was eventually trapped by the FSB, which, in my judgment based on my experience, passed through the unaware or most likely coerced and intimidated middle man, Professor Babkin, classified information prepared by the FSB."

Hoffman, David. "Russia May Pardon American Convicted as Spy." Washington Post, 7 Dec. 2000. []

Russia's pardons commission is expected to recommend on 8 December 2000 "that President Vladimir Putin grant clemency to American businessman Edmond Pope,... the chairman of the panel said" on 7 December 2000.

Tyler, Patrick E. "Russian Panel May Urge Release of American Convicted of Spying." New York Times, 8 Dec. 2000. []

Anatoly I. Pristavkin, the chairman of Russia's presidential pardon commission, predicted on 7 December 2000 "that the panel would quickly recommend the release of Edmond Pope, the American businessman convicted of espionage" on 6 December 2000.

Tyler, Patrick E. "Russian President to Free American Imprisoned as Spy." New York Times, 10 Dec. 2000. []

On 9 December 2000, Russia President Vladimir V. Putin said "that he would accept the recommendation of his presidential pardon commission to set free Edmond Pope.... His release is expected as early as 14 December 2000.

Tavernise, Sabrina. "American Jailed as Spy in Moscow Is Freed on Putin's Orders; U.S. Welcomes Gesture." New York Times, 15 Dec. 2000. []

"Edmond Pope ... was pardoned [on 14 December 2000] by President Vladimir V. Putin and was immediately flown out of Russia."

Mintz, John. "Unseen Perils in a Russian Squall." Washington Post, 3 Jan. 2001. "A Squall that Spawned an International Storm." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 8-14 Jan. 2001, 17-18.

"[S]ources knowledgeable about U.S. intelligence said Pope fell afoul of an intelligence operation in which he was not involved: an effort by the Canadian government to buy a handful of Russia's advanced Shkval (or Squall) torpedoes from a defense plant in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan.... [Pope] had been researching the Squall for years and was in the process of buying technical information about it. But he thought his purchase had been approved by the Russian government, and he was completely unaware of the simultaneous Canadian operation, the intelligence sources said."

Pope, Edmond D., and Tom Shachtman. Torpedoed: An American Businessman's True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Imprisonment in Russia, and the Battle to Set Him Free. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001.

Legvold, FA 81.1, comments that Pope was not a spy "but a former naval intelligence officer who had become a businessman dealing with highly sensitive military technologies.... Suspicious, benighted, petty, and jealous of its turf, [the FSB] made a mockery of fair play and anything approximating a search for the truth." For Bath, NIPQ 18.1, Pope tells well "his harrowing tale of arrest, interrogation, and trial on trumped-up charges of espionage.... [This] is a textbook on the pitfalls to be encountered in doing business in today's Russia." Pope has a Website at

Return to U.S. Postwar 2000 Table of Contents

Return to Russia 2000s Table of Contents