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Russia: Accused American Spy Pleads Guilty

Washington, 3 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - A senior U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee today said he was guilty of selling secrets to the Russians.

In a court appearance outside Washington, Harold Nicholson pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit espionage. In return for his agreement to plead guilty, U.S. authorities dropped two other charges against him.

Nicholson was the highest-ranking CIA agent ever to be charged with espionage. He was accused of receiving more than $180,000 from Russian agents in exchange for classified information, including the names of newly recruited U.S. spies. He could still be sentenced to life in prison.

Nicholson is the second U.S. government employee to plead guilty to charges of spying for Russia in the past week. On Friday, an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Earl Edwin Pitts, plead guilty to spying for the former Soviet Union and Russia between 1987 and 1992.