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Youngest member of family spy ring released
Spy for USSR is on probation after 15 years in prison

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Spy for USSR is on probation after 15 years in prison

BOSTON (AP) -- The youngest member of a family spy ring for the Soviet Union has been released from a halfway house after serving 15 years of a 25-year prison sentence.

Michael Lance Walker, 37, the son of the ring's leader, John A. Walker Jr., was released Wednesday. He will be on supervised probation for the rest of the sentence."The kid who went to prison is not the same person who is here now," Walker said from his sister's home in Dennis after his release Wednesday.

"I didn't want to be the same bad guy that went to prison," he told The Cape Cod Times of Hyannis. "I wanted to change. I've been away from my parents, and now I've learned to become my own man. I'm different now."

The spy ring operated for 17 years, causing what authorities described as extensive damage to national security.

Michael Walker was arrested in 1985 on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, where he was responsible for destroying secret messages. A box filled with 15 pounds of secret documents he had stolen was found hidden near his bunk.

The Navy seaman pleaded guilty along with his father, a retired Navy warrant officer, to spying charges. He testified that he became a spy in 1983 "for the money and to please my father."

John Walker admitted passing secrets while he was a shipboard communications officer, and after his retirement by recruiting his son, brother and a friend, Jerry A. Whitworth, a chief petty officer.

John Walker, 62, and his brother, Arthur, 65, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, will not be eligible for release for another 15 years. Whitworth, 60, is serving a life sentence.

In his interview Wednesday, Michael Walker said he felt no animosity toward his father for luring him into the ring, or toward his mother, Barbara, who tipped off authorities about her ex-husband's activities. She has said she would not have exposed the ring if she had known her son was involved.

"I feel bad about what happened to my mother and father," Michael Walker said. "I'm not sure what even led them to do what they did."