USA/RUSSIA - EDMOND POPE

Intelligence, N. 116, 1 May 2000, p. 9


On 5 April, in Moscow; Russian FSB officers detained US businessman, Edmond Pope, 53, claiming he was stealing scientific secrets. A Russian accomplice was also arrested. The press mentioned plans for a missile to be deployed on submarines. A FSB statement said it confiscated "technical drawings of various equipment, recordings of his conversations with Russian citizens relating to their work in the Russian defense industry, and receipts for American dollars received by them." On 7 April, the US embassy in Moscow identified Pope by name which the FSB had not done. Reports soon emerged that Pope was the head of a private security firm and had earlier worked for US intelligence. ABC television said Pope was a retired US
Navy captain who spent much of his career working in naval intelligence.
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On 20 April, FSB revealed that Pope was seeking plans for a new kind of underwater missile fired by submarines which can reportedly achieve speeds of up to 100 meters per second. Pope is currently confined in Lefortovo prison. Western experts believe the missile to be the most effective submarine weapon available. This is a misnomer since it is not a question of a missile but a torpedo which travels twice as fast as anything
the West has. Western intelligence has been seeking it for several years and it's called "Shkval" (squall; see "Torpedoes - Double Speed with Porous Second Skin", INT, n. 18 7). What is known is that it produces a high-speed and high-pressure stream
of bubbles from its nose and skin which coat the torpedo in a thin layer of gas and allows it to travel at extremely high speeds, for an object in the water. Apparently its propulsion system is rocket-based -- not propeller-driven -- and guidance
is a problem, particularly at 360 kph underwater. Pope cannot be defended in any way as a scientist or businessman since the technology has only military applications (at present) and, indeed, strategic military applications. In short, doing what Pope was doing, without diplomatic cover, was extremely dangerous, but the target was extremely important. The fact that the US embassy in Moscow released his name may be an indication that someone in Washington is going to "cover" Pope. Otherwise, he may spend a long time in prison.

Editor
Olivier Schmidt
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