A federal judge has sentenced a former State Department worker who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell to life in prison without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced the man's wife to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal U.S. secrets.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers betrayed the United States and should receive heavy punishment for having done so.

In a 10-minute explanation to the judge of his conduct, Kendall Myers said his goal was to pass along information about U.S. policies toward Cuba, a nation that he said feared the United States because of its opposition to the Cuban regime.

Kendall Myers, 73, said he stole secrets with no intent to harm the United States.

The judge said he was "perplexed" at how Myers could have the notion that he was not hurting the U.S., given the level of antagonism between the two countries.

"The Cuban people feel threatened" and "they have good reason to feel threatened" by the U.S., Myers replied.

Prosecutors said Myers, a descendant of Bell, the inventor of the first practical telephone, was a child of wealth and privilege and could have been anything he wanted to be, but instead chose to spy for Cuba for 30 years from inside the State Department.

His wife, Gwendolyn, 72, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, with time off for the 14 months she has already served. That works out to a sentence of just over 5 and 1/2 years for her.