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Spy Accused in Germany Says He Was a Double Agents for U.S.

By Rick Atkinson and Steve Vogel
The Washington Post

An American sociologist arrested last spring by German authorities on suspicion of spying for the former Communist regime in East Germany asserted Thursday that he had been a double agent working for U.S. intelligence.

Jeffrey Schevitz, 53, said he had spied on both West and East Germany from the mid-1970s until 1990 while working as a researcher at Berlin's Free University and then at Germany's Nuclear Research Center in Karlsruhe.

He was arrested May 3 by German federal police after archives found in the former East German Ministry for State Security - better known as the Stasi - indicated Schevitz had secretly passed "a multitude of information and documents" to East Germany, according to the German prosecutor's office. Schevitz, who has yet to be formally charged with a crime, remained in a German jail until earlier this month, when he was released after posting a $65,000 bail and surrendering his U.S. passport.

In an interview and again in a news conference Thursday, Schevitz alleged that he was covertly working for U.S. intelligence under the direction of Shepard Stone, then director of the Aspen Institute research center in Berlin. His mission, Schevitz said, was to gather information about East German espionage operations by pretending to work for the Stasi while simultaneously spying on West Germany because of concern that Bonn was undermining U.S. nuclear nonproliferation efforts and "still attempting to have its finger on the nuclear trigger."

Stone died in 1990, and Schevitz acknowledged that without the testimony of his alleged control agent he can offer little proof of having worked covertly for the U.S. government. David Anderson, who succeeded Stone as Aspen Institute director, said it is "inconceivable that Stone was involved in espionage activities." In Berlin, Deputy Director Dana Allin said it is "absolutely preposterous" to assert that the institute, a think tank intended to promote German-American relations, was a spy front.

Schevitz's allegations are particularly sensitive because of the insinuation that the U.S. government ran an espionage operation directed not only at Communist East Germany but also at a close ally in Bonn.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, the CIA, the German government and German federal police declined to comment. Rolf Hannich, a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor, would only say that Schevitz has not been formally charged because "the investigation is not yet completed."

The Schevitz case is a throwback to the Cold War era, when Germany was infested with agents and double agents trolling for secrets on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Schevitz's tale, albeit unconfirmed, has many elements of a spy thriller.