Michael Lance Walker, 37, son of the Walker family spy ring's leader, John A. Walker, Jr., was released from a halfway house in Boston on 16 February 2000. He had served the mandatory part, 15 years, of a 25-year prison sentence. Associated Press, "Soviet Spy Ring Member Released," 16 Feb. 2000.
Allen, Thomas B., and Norman Polmar. Merchants of Treason: America's Secrets for Sale. New York: Delacorte, 1988. New York: Dell, 1988. [pb]
Petersen says Merchants of Treason is "an important survey of spy cases since 1968 that is critical of U.S. counterintelligence as ineffective." Chambers comments that the book "seems to be aimed at the general reader"; it is "well crafted." For Lowenthal, the work is "[m]arred by a somewhat breathless and hyperbolic journalistic prose." According to Kuntzman, IJI&C 6.2, Allen and Polmar present an "excellent compilation of the spy stories that ... made headlines" during the 1980s. The Walker case takes up about half of the book. "There is little different, however, between John D. Barron's Breaking the Ring and ... Merchants of Treason." Bell, Pollard, Harper, Wu-Tai Chin, and Pelton are also covered.
Bamford, James. "The Walker Espionage Case." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 12, no. 5 (May 1986): 110-119.
Barron, John. Breaking the Ring: The Bizarre Case of the Walker Family Spy Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Clark comment: This book was the winner of the 1986 NISC best non-fiction award.
Vona, IJI&C 1.4, suggests that the Walker spy "ring serves as a testament to the power of people in 'low places' who have access to sensitive information in this age of high technology.... [This] book mixes too much story with history. Neither the Walker Spy Family Case nor espionage in the age of hi-tech is treated critically and analytically.... [Barron is] very kind to the FBI.... The book is simply too sentimental and too much of it has nothing to do with the Walker Case.... [Q]uestions of 'turfing,' rivalry, and sharing of glory never arise.... When Barron sticks to the fact[s], he is top-notch."
Blum, Howard. I Pledge Allegiance... The True Story of the Walkers: An American Spy Family. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987.
According to Chambers, this is "[o]ne of a clutch of books on the case. Nothing to mark it as particularly special." Hunter, Spy Hunter (19990, p. 191, finds little redeeming in Blum's version of the Walker spy ring: "The book is replete with inaccuracies and visions."
Cashman, Brian A. "Naval Counterintelligence: Investigating the Walker Espionage Crime Scene." American Intelligence Journal 20, nos. 1 & 2 (Winter 2000-2001): 43-45. "Investigating the Walker Espionage Crime Scene." Intelligencer 11, no. 2 (Winter 2000): 29-31.
The author seeks "to provide a glimpse ... into the crime scene examination of John A. Walker's home by a joint FBI/US Naval Investigative Service team of special agents searching for evidence of espionage."
CNN. "CIA Spy Hunter Talks to CNN about Notorious Turncoats." 29 May 2000. [http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/05/29/cia.spy.02/index.html]
In an interview with CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor, Richard Haver, former executive director of the CIA's Community Management Staff, "talks about his experiences with ... John Anthony Walker; Aldrich Ames,... and Jonathan Pollard." (Includes video clips of interview.)
Earley, Pete. Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
Chambers says that this is "[p]erhaps the best of the bunch" of books on the Walker spy ring. Hunter, Spy Hunter (1999), p. 210, agrees with this judgment, calling Earley's "the most accurate of the books published on this case." Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), calls Earley's "by far the best treatment of the case."
Hunter, Robert W., and Lynn Dean Hunter. Spy Hunter: Inside the FBI Investigation of the Walker Espionage Case. Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1999.
Clark comment: The first new book on the Walker spy ring in years came from the FBI's lead investigator on the case. Although there is some hyperbole in calling Walker's "the largest and most damaging espionage ring of American citizens in the history of our nation," Spy Hunter does provide an insider's look at an important counterintelligence case. The story told is both sleazy and cautionary. While it will win no literary prizes, the language is serviceable and moves the narrative along well enough to make the book a relatively quick read. Of course, only 65 of the book's total of 218 pages are devoted to the period up to Walker's arrest, with the remainder covering the aftermath.
A couple of sidenotes: (1) In Ch. 24, pp. 154-159, Hunter savages the Naval Investigative Service ("I reached the conclusion that it was one screwed-up outfit"). Deserved or just pay-back time? (2) On p. 169, Hunter tells of a meeting in Vienna with Felix Bloch, "minister-counselor of the [U.S.] embassy." Hunter attributes Bloch's aloofness and seeming disinterest in the Walker case to the later suspicions that Bloch was himself engaged in espionage. Sorry, but having served with Felix Bloch, I would say that aloofness and an extremely reserved manner were standard issue for the man, whatever the subject.
Sullivan, NWCR (Summer 2000), finds Hunter to be "a talented storyteller" who has produced a "fascinating narrative." For Kruh, Cryptologia 24.1, "Hunter offers a close-up at how the investigation was conducted with the accuracy and attention to detail that only he can provide.... [H]e allows the reader not only behind the scenes but into his mind as he plots his course of action."
Kneece, Jack. Family Treason: The Walker Spy Case. Briar Cliff Manor, NY: Stein & Day, 1986.
Kross, IJI&C 1.4: Although "primarily aimed at the lay reader who only wants an overview of the case..., [this is a] good place to begin."
Smith, Esmond D. [CAPT/USN (Ret.)] "ULTRA and the Walkers." U.S Naval Institute Proceedings 115, no. 5 (May 1989): 110-119.
According to Sexton, this article compares "the value of U.S. naval ciphers betrayed by John Walker to the Soviet Union with the value of ULTRA and MAGIC to the British and American navies in World War II."
Walker, John A., Jr. My Life as a Spy. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2008.
Goulden, Washington Times, 14 Dec. 2008, and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), finds substantial amounts of nonsense and whining in this "pained attempt" by a traitor "at self-justification." Walker makes claims in this book, which suggest "that three-plus decades in a prison cell addled what few brains he ever had." One such is his "claim that he was spirited into Czechoslovakia during a 1982 crisis to personally brief KGB chairman Yuri Andropov on whether President Reagan intended a nuclear attack on the U.S.S.R." Clark comment: Goulden elicited a chuckle from this reader with his line that "Walker's yarn ... might make a good Oliver Stone movie."
To Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), "[t]here is very little new in this book." Both the story of Walker's spying and of his family life "are covered in more detail by Pete Earley in Family of Spies." Herrington, Parameters 36.4 (Winter 2009-2010), comments that "Walker's tone is that of a sophisticated internationalist, lecturing to the naïve American masses about the evils of their government, and why he came to believe that it was his duty to become a player in the Cold War." In addition, "the disjointed recitation of his sexual conquests and the litany of self-justifications contained in this work make for bad reading."
Walker, Laura. Daughter of Deceit. Dallas, TX: Word, 1988.
John Walker's daughter.
Return to MI CI Table of Contents
Return to Spy Cases - U.S. Table of Contents