Booze, Brawls and Skirt Chasing

The U.S. Marine scandal in Moscow spreads

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Marines were not allowed to leave the embassy compound unless accompanied by another American, and they could not stay out overnight. But Soviet drivers claim they often took Marines to parties at foreign compounds and brought them back as late as 6 a.m. Americans visiting the embassy recall being asked by Marines to escort them past the entrance. One American woman said she twice drove a Marine to visit what he called his "Finnish girlfriend." But, she said, "the place was some sort of Soviet institute, so I suspect the girlfriend was Russian." Another way for the Marines to get out was to "apartment-sit" overnight for Americans on vacations.

Many embassy staffers remember Violetta Seina, the Soviet receptionist in Spaso House, the Ambassador's residence. She is the Soviet agent alleged to have persuaded Sergeant Clayton Lonetree, 25, to help other agents enter the embassy at night and roam the building's most sensitive communications and CIA areas, where the agents planted numerous bugs. Tall, willowy and slim, with long blond hair and large eyes, Seina stood out at the annual Marine ball. "She was so good-looking," said a former Soviet employee. "She wore a long, elegant black dress and attracted attention." When the Soviet workers were withdrawn from the embassy, a U.S. diplomat was overheard asking, "What will we do without Violetta? We won't have anyone to look at around here."

The Marine House cook, known only as Galina, also made an impression. She allegedly seduced Corporal Arnold Bracy, 21, into working with Lonetree. One American woman in Moscow recalls a Marine telling her "how kind Galina was to them, how thoughtful she was. She went out of her way to teach them Russian and tell them good places to go in Moscow." A former Soviet embassy employee said that Galina was "very, very good-looking" and once complained to a senior U.S. official that "the Marines were behaving rudely and making improper suggestions" to her.

Beyond Lonetree and Bracy, the wide-ranging investigation into the spy affair produced another arrest last week. Staff Sergeant Robert Stufflebeam, 24, who was the second-ranking Marine at the embassy when the two suspects were in Moscow, from July 1985 until March 1986, was charged by the Navy with failing to report his regular contacts with Soviet women. At least one of these women, claimed a source, "was KGB." He has not, however, been accused of spying.

The probe of two new sets of Marine guards could have serious implications. One pair served in Moscow in 1981 and 1982. If the two had engaged in spying, the Soviets could have had access to U.S. embassy secrets far earlier than suspected. Investigators were also concerned about the familiarity with Bracy and Lonetree shown by a second pair now under suspicion. Nor was fraternization confined to Moscow. It was learned that two Marine guards in an East European country embassy returned there to marry local women after leaving service.

One sign of Washington's worry about America's vulnerability to spying was a decision by the National Security Council last week to launch its own broad study of recent espionage damage, including a reassessment of the Navy's Walker spy ring.

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