Friday, November 5, 2010
Karl F. Koecher and his wife were arrested on 27 November 1984 as they prepared to fly to Switzerland. For the previous 19 years they had operated as Czech illegals and had succeeded in penetrating the Central Intelligence Agency. Both had arrived in the United States as refugees in 1965 and had acquired U.S. citizenship in 1971. Two years later Koecher joined the CIA as a translator and obtained a Top Secret security clearance. For the next decade, he passed classified material to his Soviet contacts, using his very attractive wife as a courier. While working at the CIA, they gained a reputation as “swingers,” hosting and attending uninhibited parties where the guests swapped partners. After their arrest, they were charged with passing classified information, including details of CIA personnel, to Czech agents between February 1973 and August 1983, but before they ever came to trial, the Koechers were exchanged for the Russian Jewish dissident Anatoli Shcharansky in a spy swap organized in Berlin on 11 February 1985.