US & Canada

US judge jails Cuba spying couple

US Attorney Gordon Michael Harvey agues against the release of Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers
Image caption Federal prosecutors said the couple shared an admiration of the Cuban revolution

A US judge has sentenced a retired State Department worker to life in prison without the possibility of parole for spying for Cuba.

Walter Kendall Myers' wife Gwendolyn was also sentenced to 81 months for helping her husband steal US secrets.

US District Judge Reggie Walton said the pair deserved heavy punishment for betraying the United States.

Mr Myers, 72, had access to top-secret US government information and admitted spying for Cuba for three decades.

The couple shared Cuba's communist ideology and an admiration of the Cuban revolution, according to federal prosecutors.

Cuban covert agents

Mr Myers, who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, was contacted by the Cuban intelligence service to be a covert agent.

He recruited Ms Myers in 1979, and the two married three years later.

Mr Myers said he stole secrets, but had no intent to harm the United States.

Judge Walton said he was "perplexed" how Mr Myers could think he was not hurting US, considering the level of antagonism between the two countries.

"The Cuban people feel threatened," said Mr Myers in a 10-minute explanation to the judge of his conduct. Adding that Cubans had "good reason to feel threatened" by the US.

Myers was known as Agent 202, while his wife was Agent 123, according to court documents.

The couple were originally arrested in June 2009, following an undercover FBI sting operation.

The two asked to be sent to prisons near one another so their six children and seven grandchildren could visit more easily.

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