Classified topographic maps stolen from Russia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces in 2008 and transferred to the U.S. Pentagon by a former serviceman, could be used in planning military campaigns in Russia, and for the development of the flight tasks for cruise missiles, an anonymous FSB official said in an interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel published on Friday.
“The possession of the these topographic materials by the military bodies of the foreign states allow them to carry out military campaigns…and develop the flight tasks for cruise missiles,” the FSB official told the TV channel.
The former Russian serviceman, Vladimir Lazar was sentenced on Thursday to 12 years in jail, and was stripped of his military rank, for selling classified topographic maps of Russia to the U.S. Pentagon.
Lazar, while working in the Topographic Service of Russia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces, was noticed by the Federal Security Service in 2008 when he transferred over 7,500 classified maps to his former fellow student, Alexander Lesment, who was reported to have collaborated with U.S. intelligence since 1994.
Lazar was arrested in November 2010 when the security officials came to his place with the formal notice of espionage charges filed against him, Kommersant daily reported on Friday. The court found him guilty on Friday of treason and divulging state secrets, and sentenced Lazar to 12 years in jail.
It is however unclear whether Lazar was paid for his service, the TV channel said.
“There are two points of view. The first one is that he worked for money. The other one is that was offended with the government since his career went sour. He served until achieving a colonel’s rank, but his ambitions were bigger,” the anonymous FSB official told the Rossiya 1 TV channel.
According to the TV channel, Lazar told the FSB he had received $800 for the maps. The investigation however did not believe his words since the price of one map as the security service officials said is no less than $10.
Lazar confirmed that he had handed in the maps, but said he had not considered it to be a crime.
Magomed Magomedov, Lazar’s lawyer told the Kommersant daily that his client regretted his “too light-hearted” decision.
Magomedov also said they would appeal the verdict since there was a similar case in 2010 when a former serviceman, 59-year-old Gennady Sipachev, was sentenced to four-year high security imprisonment for a similar crime.
Sipachev, who was caught in 2008 when he sent the cartographic information from the Russian Armed Forces to the U.S. Defense Department over the Internet, received a moderately mild sentence after confessing his guilt and agreeing to cooperate with the investigation.