A voice, off-camera, asks the shadowy figure on the television monitor how the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) became involved in the case of former U.S. Department of State official Walter Kendall Myers (known by his middle name, Kendall). Myers was convicted of spying for Cuba and sentenced to life imprisonment by a U.S. federal court in July 2010.
In silhouette and not identified by name, a DSS special agent—still in active service with DSS (thus not identified on camera)—explains how he was part of a FBI-led, multi-year investigation that resulted in the arrest and conviction of one of the most infamous spies in U.S. history.
During the two-day filming, February 8-9, 2017, a production crew under contract with CNN filmed the DSS special agent’s recounting of the investigation, which is one episode of a multi-part series that delves into true stories of America’s intelligence operations around the world. Each of the CNN episodes features a single case, mission, or operation, told firsthand by the agents who lived it.
The DSS special agent and a retired special agent (who was identified on camera and was at the time a DSS contractor and former deputy director for the DS Office of Counterintelligence) led the DSS part of the investigation, which, in addition to the FBI, also involved the CIA and NSA.
“It all started when the intelligence community uncovered evidence that indicated a U.S. government employee was providing classified information to the Cubans,” said the DS special agent. “After surmising that the suspect likely worked in foreign affairs in the Washington, D.C. area, FBI personnel approached DSS for help in determining if the possible insider threat could possibly be an employee of the State Department.”
The two special agents set up a matrix to match known information about the “unsub” (unknown subject) with approximately 200 State Department employees who fit the initial broad criteria identified in the investigation. Within weeks, they were able to narrow the list to 27—based on such information as the fact that the person was likely male and married, held a Top Secret security clearance, had (or had a family member with) a medical issue, lived in the Washington, D.C., area for several years, was likely Civil Service (since Foreign Service personnel usually periodically are relocated to overseas posts), and other information.
Within weeks, they narrowed the list of suspects to one person.
The investigation took place over several years, culminating in the arrest of Myers and his wife Gwendolyn after his retirement from the State Department but before the couple could possibly flee the United States on their 37-foot yacht.
CNN’s Declassified provides details of the case and how Myers and his wife were brought to justice through the eyes of the two DSS agents and their law enforcement colleagues.
CNN’S “DECLASSIFIED” DOCUMENTARY SERIES WAS TO AIR THE KENDALL MYERS EPISODE ON AUGUST 19, 2017, AT 9 P.M. EDT BUT WAS RE-SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 26, 2016.