Sweden: The Idealist

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During his 15-year career as a Soviet spy, Swedish Air Force Colonel Stig WennerstrÖm sold the Russians some 160 of his nation's -ip defense secrets. The suavely handsome aviator, who held the secret rank of major general in the Red army, also spied on NATO, and during a five-year stint (1952-57) as an air attache in Washington handed his bosses information on the Polaris submarine, the Strategic Air Command, and U.S. nuclear weapons, which he was able to inspect on the assembly lines. Since his arrest a year ago, WennerstrÖm, now 57, has admitted most of the charges against him, but claimed to be an "idealist" whose only motive was "to preserve the peace and power balance of the world."

Last week, in Department Eight of Stockholm Magistrate's court, Wennerstrom was convicted on three counts of "gross espionage." He was stripped of his rank—his Swedish colonelcy, that is—ordered to pay the state $98,000 of some $200,000 that he received for his espionage work, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In Sweden this means that he will technically be eligible for parole in ten years. The full details of his career may never be known. The government allowed only 900 pages of the 3,700-page trial transcript to be published; nearly half of the court's 190-page judgment, also, was classified. If it contained any information that the Russians did not already have, it was through no fault of Stig WennerstrÖm.