Why Scientists Don't Spy

The arrest of Soviet physicist and U.N. employee Gennadi F. Zakharov on espionage charges this fall was the exception that proves the rule. Very little scientific spying is actually done by scientists. An FBI listing of 62 espionage prosecutions from 1945 to the present includes quite a few engineers and technicians and the expected large number of military and intelligence personnel. But other than Zakharov, who was ex changed in October for journalist Nicholas Daniloff after being indicted for

Gregory Byrne
Nov 16, 1986

The arrest of Soviet physicist and U.N. employee Gennadi F. Zakharov on espionage charges this fall was the exception that proves the rule. Very little scientific spying is actually done by scientists.

An FBI listing of 62 espionage prosecutions from 1945 to the present includes quite a few engineers and technicians and the expected large number of military and intelligence personnel. But other than Zakharov, who was ex changed in October for journalist Nicholas Daniloff after being indicted for receiving classified documents, the only other working scientist to face charges by the FBI was Alfred Zehe.

 Zehe, an East German physicist living in Mexico, was arrested in 1983 while attending a conference in Boston and convicted of soliciting classified information from a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy. He was sentenced to eight years in prison but allowed to return to Eastern Europe in a prisoner ex change in 1985....

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