Thursday, November 18, 2010


A former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst with 14 years of experience, Pelton approached the Soviets in 1980 and sold them classified data until he was arrested in Annapolis, Maryland, following his betrayal by a  KGB defector,  Vitali Yurchenko, on 25 November 1985. Among the projects he compromised was  IVY BELLS, an eavesdropping device placed on a Soviet underwater cable in the Sea of Okhotsk by the USS Halibut, a specially converted submarine fitted with a unique diving compartment to allow the pods and recording equipment to be replaced. Pelton was arrested on six conspiracy and espionage charges; he pleaded not guilty, but on 16 December 1986 he was sentenced to three concurrent life terms plus 10 years.