Russian spies (and their Lowell connections)


For those of us old enough to have grown up watching Rocky and Bullwinkle constantly clash with (and always prevail over) Russian spies Boris and Natasha (shown above), news that a Russian spy ring was rolled up comes as no surprise. While the accents and trench coats remain as comical today as when the cartoons were produced back in the early 1960s, today they offer a glimpse into how the Cold War was a dominant theme in almost every aspect of our lives, from children’s entertainment to space exploration.

As for the recently arrested Russian spies, I found two Lowell connections. One of the accused, Donald Heathfield, is a graduate of the mid-year Masters Degree program at Harvard’s Kennedy School. According to today’s Globe, one of his classmates was Craig Sandler of the State House News Service. In the early 1990s, Sandler was the City Hall reporter of our local newspaper. The Globe quotes Sandler as saying that Heathfield was “friendly, intelligent, thoughtful, low-key, engaging, and, sure, a little bit mysterious.’’ The Globe also reports that at his arraignment yesterday, the Federal Public Defender assigned to represent Heathfield was Catherine Byrne who was a fixture in the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Lowell office for more than a decade in the late 1980s and early 1990s until she departed for Boston and her current position in the Federal system.

More proof of my theory that no matter what happens in the world, there’s always a link back to Lowell.

6 Responses to Russian spies (and their Lowell connections)

  1. Right in Lowell says:

    An even closer Lowell connection to spying… Google “James Michael Clark” a lowell born and bred and infamous KA graduate (’66 I think) who was released recently from a federal prison after a 10+ year sentence for spying. Although low level, a spy nonetheless. He was located in DC at the time.

  2. Marie says:

    RiL – Did find a “James Michael Clark” in KA Class of 1966 class photo – is he the same guy?
    This brief account of Clark’s activities makes for interesting reading :…/REC.pdf Scroll down to page 3 for the 1997 Clark piece.

  3. JC says:

    For additional information re: Clark SEE:
    Page 19:

    Growing up, Clark lived on Humphry St on Christian Hill in Lowell. He went to Saint Michael’s School and graduated from Keith Academy. He was a brilliant student, posessed a fine mind and enjoyed the prospect of a wonderful future.

    It’s all very sad. You just never know how things will turn out for people, do you?

  4. Right in Lowell says:

    Marie… yes, that is the same man. Very sad outcome for a guy with so much potential. JC is right, he was brilliant and came from a great family with deep roots in St. Peter’s. It was a blessing that his mom died shortly before he was arrested and didn’t have to know what happened to her son.

  5. JC says:

    Upon indictment, Clark immediately pleaded guilty, testified against his former conspirators and was sentenced to 12 years and 7 months.

    While Clark’s story is of interest due to his Lowell connection, the real star of this sorted tale is one of his co-conspirators, Theresa Squillacote. Of particular interest is her psychological profile and how the FBI was able to tailor their approach to her in a successful effort to secure evidence of treason.

    The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive has an extensive abstract concerning this case. Considering the source, a dry government abstract, it makes for interesting reading.
    See Pages 189-201

  6. Right in Lowell says:

    JC.. last I heard, he was planning to move to Germany. Good ridance to a good life gone bad.