WASHINGTON – An imprisoned ex-CIA spy and his son have been charged with renewing contact with the father's former Russian handlers to get more money — and perhaps a "pension" — for his espionage.
Harold Nicholson and his 24-year-old son, Nathaniel, have been indicted in Oregon, where the elder Nicholson is still serving time in a federal prison for past espionage charges.
The pair face charges of conspiring to act as agents of a foreign government and money laundering. The duo's plans were undone by an imprisoned bank robber who told authorities six years ago that Nicholson was trying to establish contact with his former spymasters, according to court papers.
The indictment says Harold Nicholson, who pleaded guilty in 1997 after being paid $300,000 to pass secrets to the Russians, wanted to receive additional payments for his work, and used his son as a go-between.
• Click here to see the indictment.
Officials charged that Nathaniel Nicholson collected another $35,593 in a series of recent trips to meet Russians in San Francisco, Mexico City, Lima, and even a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Cyprus in December.
On each return trip to the United States, the messenger son would declare less than $10,000 in cash to avoid federal law requiring him to disclose the source of the money, authorities said.
Nathaniel Nicholson, who lives in Eugene, Ore., had been under surveillance for more than a year, according to court records. He was arrested Thursday morning in Oregon and he and his father were scheduled to appear in court later in the day, officials said.
Harold Nicholson is currently serving a 23-year prison term in Sheridan, Ore., after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit espionage. As a trainer of CIA personnel, authorities say he gave the Russians the identities of the young CIA recruits he was training, and the identities of other high-level CIA officers.
According to the new indictment, the Russians still thought Harold Nicholson might be able to give them valuable information — specifically, how he had been discovered and how much the investigators had learned about Russian spying.
The father told his son he was due a "pension" for his past work for the Russians, and even dropped hints that he would like to live in Russia when he was freed. To that end, investigators say, he once relayed his age, height, weight, and other relevant personal data that would be required for a Russian visa.