In twin raids, federal agents arrested an Army intelligence analyst in Georgia on suspicion of espionage Wednesday, hours after seizing a Turkish-born man whom law enforcement sources alleged ferried U.S. secrets to East Germany.
Warrant Officer James William Hall III, 30, who had been involved in intercepting East bloc communications while based in Germany, was arrested in Savannah, Ga., by Army intelligence special agents following a search of his home.Hall is suspected of spying for East Germany during three stints in West Germany covering much of the last decade and while on duty in the United States, authorities said.
When he was arrested, Hall had been on active duty oith the 24lh Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, an Army statement said.
On Tuesday night, FBI and Army agents searched the home of a man identified only as Huseyin Yildirim in Belleair Beach, Fla., about 20 miles west of Tampa, and arrested him on a material witness warrant. Government sources said Yildirim was a naturalized U.S. citizen and that he was suspected of serving as Hall's courier to East Germany. They offered no other information about him.
Spokesmen for the FBI and the Army's Intelligence Security Command disclosed only scant specifics of the inquiry, offering no details about the duration of the alleged espionage or its possible damage to the national security.
However, a federal law enforcement source called it "a major espionage case."
An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. John Chapla, said he could not disclose the kind of information Hall allegedly passed or to what government. He also said he did not know the motivation for the suspected espionage, whether for monetary gain or ideology.
Chapla said that as an officer in the Army's G-2 intelligence section in Germany, Hall specialized in electronic warfare and analyzed radio transmissions. He probably would have been involved in voice intercepts and cryptoanalysis, he said.