The only FBI agent ever convicted of spying has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for passing secret documents to his Soviet lover

in 1984 for gold and cash, but the judge scathed the FBI for allowing him access to sensitive information when it was obvious "he was out of control."In sentencing Monday, Richard W. Miller, 54, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Takasugi criticized the FBI for exposing Miller to sensitive intelligence information when it was apparent the counterespionage agent had "susceptible qualities" and was untrustworthy.

The FBI "knew he was out of control," Takasugi said. "In fact, he was totally out of control."

The judge disputed the prosecution's contentions that Miller ranked among the most damaging spies in U.S. history but said the defense's portrayal of Miller as a bumbling "teddy bear" who, at worst, committed an insignificant infraction also was wrong.

"I believe the truth is somewhere in between," Takasugi said.

The judge convicted Miller on six counts of espionage and bribery Oct. 9 following Miller's third trial.

Miller is eligible for parole after serving a third of his sentence. But with credit for five years already spent in prison, he could be freed in less than three years.

In the latest trial, the judge found that, during an adulterous affair in 1984, Miller passed the Soviet emigre a secret FBI document called the Positive Intelligence Reporting Guide.

"There are people whose family and friends are in the Persian Gulf risking their lives for the national defense, and here's someone whose life was not at risk jeopardizing the national security for a few dollars," Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Schiff said out of court.

Defense attorney Joel Levine said he would have preferred no prison term but said the "judge attempted to do what's fair."