His father and uncle were former FBI agents, and when Christopher Boyce was investigated for security clearance, he came up clean. TRW, a major CIA contractor, hired the young man with the genius IQ, and Boyce went to work in the company's code room. Now serving a 40-year sentence for selling spy-satellite information to the U.S.S.R., Boyce, 32, told a Senate subcommittee last week that once he was granted top-secret clearance and saw how inefficient security procedures were, he "decided the intelligence community was a great, bumbling, bluffing deception."
Boyce, the real-life Falcon of the book and movie called The Falcon and the Snowman, claims the security check he underwent in 1974 "was a joke." If investigators had talked to just one his friends, he testified, they would have found a "room full disillusioned longhairs, counter culture falconers, druggie surfers, several wounded, paranoid vets, pot-smoking, anti-Establishment types." Instead, Boyce was not only hired but was assigned to monitor secret worldwide communications between TRW and the CIA.
Security was also lax inside the company, Boyce stated. He broke the seals on code books and photographed them; the tampering was noticed but ignored. Clerks in TRW's "black vault," where National Security Agency codes were stored, "used the code-destruction blender for making banana daiquiris and mai tais."
TRW, whose embarrassed executives have since tightened security controls, has not been the only defense contractor victimized by employees turned traitors. An increasing number of spies are raking in East bloc money by selling secret information on microelectronics, computers and signal-processing techniques. "Science and technology is the largest growth industry" in espionage, says Edward O'Malley, an FBI assistant director in charge of the intelligence division. Some recent examples: a Northrop engineer pleaded guilty in March to attempting to transmit Stealth technology to the Soviets for $55,000; the husband of a worker at a Silicon Valley defense firm used his wife's access to sell high-tech documents on ballistic-missile research to Polish intelligence for some $250,000; and in a trial that began last Friday in Los Angeles, Svetlana and Nikolai Ogorodnikov, two Soviet émigrés, are accused of attempting to buy secrets from Richard Miller, an FBI agent who was allegedly tempted by a promise of $65,000 in cash and gold. The list goes on: in the past 15 months, 15 people in the U.S. have been arrested for spying. "We have more people charged with espionage right now than ever before in our history," FBI Director William Webster said recently.