In This Review

Torpedoed: An American Businessman's True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Imprisonment in Russia, and the Battle to Set Him Free
Torpedoed: An American Businessman's True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Imprisonment in Russia, and the Battle to Set Him Free
By Edmond D. Pope and Tom Shachtman
Little, Brown, 2001, 263 pp.

Pope is the only American to have been arrested and tried for espionage in Russia in the 40 years since the case of Gary Powers, the downed u-2 pilot, and it happened under President Vladimir Putin's leadership. The tale has several sides. Pope himself was no spy but a former naval intelligence officer who had become a businessman dealing with highly sensitive military technologies. Between him and Russia's desperately impoverished scientists, eager to sell nearly everything, stood the fsb, the successor to the KGB. Suspicious, benighted, petty, and jealous of its turf, it made a mockery of fair play and anything approximating a search for the truth. The fsb's tactics were matched only by the Russian courts' disregard of judicial impartiality and due process. They reflect too much of the Soviet past. But Pope's wrenching story also hints at a new Russia. His Russian lawyer is combative, unintimidated, and media-savvy; many journalists are unwilling to buy Soviet-style verdicts; and ordinary Russians not only see through the charade but show they understand by reaching out to its victim.