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US/Russia: U.S. Law Enforcement Agent Arrested For Spying

By K.P Foley

Washington, 19 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - U.S. authorities have charged another government intelligence official with spying for the Soviet Union and for Russia.

Officials filed charges of attempted espionage and conspiracy to commit espionage yesterday against Earl Edwin Pitts, a 43-year-old supervisor with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. federal government's law enforcement arm.

The arrest of Pitts comes exactly one month after espionage charges were filed against Central Intelligence Agency employee Harold Nicholson. Nicholson was accused of taking more than $100,000 in payments from Russian agents in exchange for classified information. Nicholson has pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial.

U.S. officials said that the Pitts and Nicholson cases are not connected. One of the tasks of the FBI is to find and keep track of foreign agents in the United States. The CIA collects and analyzes information about other countries.

Pitts did not enter a plea yesterday. A hearing on whether to grant him bail is scheduled for today. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.