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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-CIA Spy 'Recruited Son to Meet FSB Agents'

APN. Nicholson
PORTLAND, Oregon -- A disgraced former CIA agent in prison for espionage recruited his son to meet with Russian agents in cities around the world to collect money owed by his former handlers, according to a U.S. indictment.

Court papers say the former CIA agent, Harold Nicholson, sent his 24-year-old son, Nathaniel, to San Francisco and three foreign countries from 2006 to 2008 to meet with agents from the Federal Security Service.

The documents say the son delivered information to the FSB and collected about $47,000. The nature of the information was not disclosed.

David Miller, the FBI's top agent in Oregon, said he believed that it was the first time in U.S. history that anybody had faced trial twice for spying or espionage.

The father and son pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to act as agents of a foreign government and money laundering. A judge set their trial for March 31.

Their plans were undone by a bank robber at a federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, who told authorities six years ago that the elder Nicholson was trying to establish contact with his former spymasters, according to the papers.

According to the federal grand jury indictment, FSB agents who met with the son still believed that Harold Nicholson might be able to provide them with valuable information -- how he had been discovered and how much the investigators had learned about Russian spying.

H. Nicholson
Court papers say the money was stored at the home of Harold Nicholson's parents, who are in their 90s.

The papers describe an 80-page notebook carried by Nathaniel Nicholson when he arrived at the Houston airport from Lima, Peru, in December 2007. U.S. agents searched and questioned Nicholson at the airport, and secretly copied the notebook.

When he was arrested Thursday, Nathaniel Nicholson, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, had been under surveillance for more than a year, according to court records.

Harold Nicholson pleaded guilty in 1997 to conspiring to commit espionage after being paid $300,000 to pass secrets to the Russians.

The indictment says he wanted additional payments for his work and used his son as a go-between.

Officials charged that Nathaniel Nicholson made a series of trips to meet Russians in San Francisco, Mexico City, Lima, and, most recently, at a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Cyprus in December.

On the return trips to the United States, the messenger son would declare less than $10,000 in cash to avoid federal law requiring him to disclose the source of the money, authorities said.