The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Judge Orders Alleged Spies Held Without Bail

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer

A retired State Department analyst accused of spying for Cuba for three decades was planning to sail with his wife to the Caribbean this fall, in what could have been an escape plan, prosecutors alleged today.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Harvey said Walter Kendall Myers, 72, had written in his personal calendar the date for the start of the trip, in November.

"No return date is noted," he said, adding that the calendar had no other commitments after the departure.

Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn, 71, a former bank employee, were arrested last week and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, being agents of a foreign government and wire fraud. A federal judge, John M. Facciola, today ordered them held without bond.

Harvey said the Myerses also had sailing charts for Cuban waters, and had experience piloting their 37-foot yacht on long trips.

"This escape plan, Your Honor, is no pipe dream," he said.

The attorney for the Myerses, Tom Green, asked that the couple be granted house arrest, saying that their boat could be disabled and they could be required to wear electronic ankle bracelets.

He acknowledged "the strength of the case" although he said the details were "somewhat embellished."

Myers retired in 2007 from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, where he had worked as a specialist on British politics since 1999.

Myers and his wife attended the hearing in baggy blue prison tops and slacks. They watched impassively and made no comment.