Some weeks ago I wrote here about W. Kendall Myers, the State Department employee who, for nearly thirty years, spied for Cuban intelligence in this country, all the while appearing to his friends and neighbors (the latter including some retired “spooks”) to be no more than just another amiable, slightly scatterbrained scion of an old Washington family – in his case, the Grosvenors, some of whom played major roles in founding the National Geographical Society.
Yesterday, Myers, the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, appeared in Federal court and pleaded guilty to plotting to commit espionage and to wire fraud. At the same tim his wife Gwendolyn pleaded guilty to plotting to gather and transmit national defense information. Under the agreement reached between her attorneys and the prosecution, she will serve six to seven and a half years in prison.

The couple also agreed to be fully debriefed by investigators about the specifics of their spying, and Myers agreed to forfeit all of the $1.74 million he earned as a State Department employee. In lieu of that sum, the couple agreed to turn over all their financial assets to the government, including the 37-foot yacht, docked in Annapolis, in which they once hoped, one day, to sail off to Havana to spend their sunset years.

But W. Kendall Myers will not be enjoying the blissful sunshine of Cuban beaches, nor the occasional phone call from Fidel Castro (who was so appreciative of the Myers’s work that he cleared a few hours in his schedule to meet them when they made their way to Havana in the 1990s). Instead, for what he did, he will receive the mandatory sentence – life imprisonment. And since he is 72, it really is life – the penalty imposed for betraying the trust of a nation’s secrets.