Ronald Pelton

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Ronald William Pelton (born in 1942) was an National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst who was convicted in 1986 of spying for and selling secrets to the Soviet Union. He reportedly has a photographic memory as he passed no documents to the Soviets. One operation he compromised was Operation Ivy Bells.

Prior to his employment by the NSA, Pelton served in the United States Air Force. He was taught the Russian language by the Air Force and served for a time in the early 1960s in Peshawar, Pakistan as a voice intercept processing specialist. After that 15-month tour he was transferred to National Security Agency, where he continued as a civilian employee upon discharge. Ron had a serious interest in gambling, often playing cards in the day room for 72 hours at a time while stationed in Peshawar as part of Able Flight.

Pelton declared personal bankruptcy and resigned his $24,500-a-year job with the NSA A Group in 1979. From the years of 1980 to 1984 he held a different series of jobs, none within the intelligence community.Jeffrey T. Richelson, A century of spies: intelligence in the twentieth century, p. 393. In 1984, Pelton had faced financial difficulties as a result of increasing homeowners' taxes and a mounting series of necessary repairs on his private residence.

Pelton contacted the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC on January 14, 1980 and arranged for a meeting at the embassy. The FBI had surveillance on the embassy and had tapped the phone....
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