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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Naval intelligence director Shapiro, rear admiral, warned about spy

WASHINGTON – Sumner Shapiro, a Navy rear admiral who served as director of naval intelligence from 1978 to 1982 and expressed early warnings about Jonathan Pollard, a Navy intelligence analyst later revealed to have spied for Israel, died Tuesday at his home in suburban McLean, Va. He had cancer.

Shapiro, 80, a Russian specialist, was among the longest-serving directors of naval intelligence. His most enduring influence was rethinking how the Navy approached its Soviet counterparts.

He concluded the Soviet navy would, in a wartime scenario, protect the country’s seaboard approaches and its ballistic missile submarines. This view was strikingly different from the Soviets’ World War II strategy of hunting enemy vessels.

David Rosenberg, a researcher at the Institute for Defense Analyses, said Shapiro’s oversight role greatly shaped the U.S. Navy’s maritime strategy in the 1980s.

Pollard, a Navy civilian who pleaded guilty in 1985 to espionage charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

When Pollard, as a new analyst, went to Shapiro with a scheme to gain “back-channel” intelligence information from South Africa, Shapiro dismissed Pollard as a “kook” and reduced his clearance.

Pollard’s clearance was later reinstated by others.

Shapiro’s decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Navy Commendation Medal. In retirement, he was vice president for advanced planning of BDM International Inc., a military research company. In 1989, he formed a national security consulting company that did work for national science laboratories.

German POW camp escapee

Lee “Shorty” Gordon, believed to be the first American prisoner of war to escape from a German camp during World War II, has died. He was 84.

He died Tuesday of complications from stomach and kidney surgery at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Menlo Park, said his daughter, Cherie Gordon.

Gordon had made two failed escape attempts from Stalag VIIA, including one on a bicycle while yelling the only German he knew, “Heil, Hitler.” He succeeded Oct. 13, 1943, according to historian Robert Doyle.

The Southern California native was serving as a ball turret gunner with the Army Air Corps’ 305th Bomb Group when his B-17 was shot down over Wilhelmshaven, Germany, on Feb. 26, 1943. He parachuted down and was quickly captured by German troops, his daughter said.

Gordon escaped after trading identification tags with an Australian POW to gain access to the outdoor work area of the Moosburg camp. There he bribed guards with coffee and cigarettes and hid in a bathroom stall until dark. He hopped a fence when a guard’s back was turned and walked out of the camp, according to Doyle.

Gordon rode freight trains to France, where he made contact with a Resistance group that helped him reunite with the Allied forces.

More than a year later, on Feb. 27, 1944, Gordon arrived safely in England.

After Gordon returned to the U.S., he became a minor celebrity, was awarded the Silver Star medal and sent around the country on a lecture circuit to boost morale and sell war bonds, his daughter said.

Cancer takes Foley’s father

Ed Foley, a longtime educator and father of former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, has died. He was 85.

Foley, who had been ill with cancer, died Tuesday, said Gale Schiffman, co-owner of Quattlebaum-Holleman-Burse Funeral Home.

A Massachusetts native, Edward Foley moved to Florida in the 1950s. He was a teacher and principal who frequently campaigned on his son’s behalf.

The younger Foley gained national attention this fall when, in the waning weeks of his campaign for re-election, the congressman was confronted with sexually explicit messages he sent to teenage pages who had worked on Capitol Hill.
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