The damage to national security caused by a soldier accused of spying for the Warsaw Pact might not be as severe as originally feared, Pentagon officials say.
The officials, who insisted on anonymity, said Thursday that continuing interrogation of Warrant Officer James William Hall III "suggests he might have been selective in the documents he passed.""When all is said and done, it doesn't look too bad," said one official.
"It's not great, but it's not a crisis, either," said another.
"The counter-intelligence people are wringing him out now," said one source. "He's still cooperating, singing."
Hall, 30, of New York City, was arrested Wednesday at his home near Fort Stewart, Ga., by Army intelligence agents after a successful Army-FBI sting operation.
Lt. Col. John Chapla, an Army spokesman, said Hall was moved Thursday from Fort Stewart to a prison cell at Fort Meade, Md., outside Washington, D.C.
According to affidavits filed in federal court in Savannah, Ga., where Fort Stewart is located, Hall bragged to an unidentified FBI agent "that he had been passing highly sensitive signal intelligence documents to both the Soviets and the East German intelligence services since late 1982."
Hall is accused of passing the information through a Turkish-born, naturalized citizen named Huseyin Yildirim. Yildirim also was arrested Wednesday at his home in Belleair Beach, Fla., near St. Petersburg.