John Charlton
bullet Forced retirement leads disgruntled Lockheed engineer to attempt espionage.

Charlton: Disgruntled Engineer

John Douglas Charlton was a Lockheed Corporation engineer in Sunnyvale, California. He was forced into early retirement from Lockheed in 1989 as part of a company-wide personnel reduction. Charlton fit the profile of a disgruntled employee. Upset by the circumstances of his departure, he took with him Top Secret documents relating to "Sea Shadow," the Navy's stealth ship prototype, and the "Captor Project," related to land mines which release anti-submarine torpedoes.

Several years later, Charlton began trying to sell this information to friendly Western governments. Lockheed learned of this in 1993 and immediately informed the FBI. Charlton was arrested in 1995 after meeting five times with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the French government. A search of his residence turned up a cache of illegal guns and the Top Secret documents. According to the prosecuting attorney, the documents would have enabled any nation to discover some of the workings of a Top Secret program.

Related Topics: How Spies Are Caught.

FBI ANSIR briefing and Recent Espionage Cases: Summaries and Sources. Richmond, VA: Department of Defense Security Institute, May 1996.


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