John Anthony Walker, Jr. died yesterday in a North Carolina prison hospital.
I know, I know, you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead.
But, alas, I’m a rebel, a rule breaker, so here goes.
Nearly 30 years ago, the US Navy plugged the biggest leak in their history with the arrest of Walker, his son, Walker’s brother, and another conspirator, former Senior Chief Petty Officer Jerry Whitworth.
Former Reagan Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger stated that the Soviet Union made significant gains in naval warfare during this time, and all were attributable to Walker’s spying.
During his time as a Soviet spy, Walker helped the Soviets decipher more than one million encrypted messages. Messages that included vessel locations, access to weapons and sensor data and naval tactics, terrorist threats, and surface, submarine, and airborne training, readiness and tactics.
In other words, every thing.
He was a communications officer and a cryptologist.
Walker’s spying career began in 1967, when he was based at the massive U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. Walker went to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and volunteered to hand over secret coded material on a regular basis, according to court documents.
There was no ideological reason for his treachery, he was broke, had financial troubles, and did it for money.
For nearly 18 years, even after he had retired and was receiving a Navy pension, the secrets of our battle plans, weaponry, and personnel locations were slipped to the Soviets on a daily basis.
When he retired, he recruited a new crew to do his dirty work for him.
Had we gone to war, our entire plan would have been compromised.
How did the Navy miss it? Even when Walker’s ex-wife came forward in a drunken stupor to rat him out, the Navy nearly ignored what she had to say, chalking it UP to vengeance, anger, and booze, referring to her as a drunken, bitter woman trying to “drop a dime” on her ex.
Finally, in 1985, it all came out.
Walker, his son, Walker’s brother, and Whitworth were arrested.
Walker pled out, making a deal for life imprisonment for himself in exchange for a 15 year sentence for his son, who was released in 2000. Walker’s brother died in July of this year in the same prison hospital, Withworth was sentenced to 365 years.
Yes, I say, “good riddance.”
And John, you’re the AOTW, posthumously.