Clayton Longtree

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And being aware of who you are precedes being who you are. On the other hand, being unaware or at least not appreciating fully who you are can really lead you into trouble.

Clayton Longtree was a guard at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. It was a position of trust and honor, but it was dull and exhausting. It had a way of lulling you into a desire for something to keep you engaged.

Clayton’s “something” was Violetta. Tall, fair-skinned, and beautiful, she was the translator at the embassy. Ignoring the warnings against fraternizing with Soviets, he followed the example of others in the embassy and asked her out. He subsequently took long walks in the park, had tea, and even managed to be alone a few times in her apartment.

It was then when he met “Uncle Sasha.” This supposed “relative” peppered him with questions on the U.S., his political views, etc. Clayton enjoyed the man’s interest and did not stop answering even when, one day, Sasha pulled a prepared list of detailed questions from his pocket, thus identifying him as KGB. That’s how eager he was to be with Violetta.

In fact, he was so eager that when he was moved to Vienna, he maintained contact. By this time he was more intrigued by the possibility of being a spy. His first delivery was an old embassy phone book, then a map of the embassy interior. The money he was paid, he spent largely on Violetta.

But his conscience began to bother him. He started to drink more; he lay awake nights trying to think of a way out of the KGB web. He hadn’t realized that when he traded the trust of his nation for sex and cash, he traded his soul as well.

So in December 1986, Clayton tried to trade it back. At a Christmas party he approached the Vienna CIA chief, a man whose real identity he would not have known except that Uncle Sasha had pointed him out earlier. “I’m in something over my head,” he said. The confession begun that evening ended in August, 1987 when Clayton Lonetree was found guilty on all charges of espionage. Today he sits in a military prison cell, a thirty-year sentence stretching before him.

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