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Alleged Russian Spies Assumed Names of Texans

National

Hands typing on a laptop that is laying on a Russian and American flag. | Image by Bill Oxford, Getty Images

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Two Hawaii residents who were allegedly Russian spies were charged with identity theft, lying on passport applications, and conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States. 

Walter Glenn Primrose, also known as Bobby Edward Fort, 67, and Gwynn Darle Morrison, 67, alias Julie Lyn Montague, were arrested last week.


Primrose and Morrison spent decades allegedly spying on behalf of the Russian Federation. The married couple may have been recruited by the former Soviet Union, as photos included in the court records show Primrose and Morrison in uniforms reportedly belonging to the KGB.

The couple lived quietly in Kapolei on the island of Oahu for over two decades under assumed identities. Their covert identities correspond to the names of two infants born in Texas in the late 1960s: Bobby Edward Fort and Julie Lyn Montague. Primrose and Morrison used these infants’ identities to obtain Social Security cards, passports, and driver’s licenses.

Bobby Edward Fort, the baby’s name used by Primrose, was born in Dallas in 1967, government records indicate. He died during that same year. Julie Lyn Montague, the child whose name was used by Morrison, was born in 1968 in Burnet, Texas. She died shortly after birth and is buried in Marble Falls, Texas.

Redacted sections of the Department of Justice filings show that the couple acquired the identities in the late 1980s. It allegedly took them approximately six months to settle into their new personas. Court records show Primrose and Morrison were born in 1955 and attended high school together in Port Lavaca, Texas. They went to Stephen F. Austin University and married in 1980.

The court records do not provide information regarding the time from when they assumed their new identities to 1994. In that year, Primrose, then about 39, enlisted in the Coast Guard as Bobby Edward Fort, who would have been about 27.

Primrose made it through Coast Guard basic training in Cape May, New Jersey, and later became an avionics electrical systems technician. He was in the service until his retirement in 2016. Then he began work for an unnamed defense contractor at the U.S. Coast Guard Air station at Barbers Point.

Primrose never broke ties with the Coast Guard during the entire time he allegedly spied for Russia along with his wife. He even became the treasurer of the Chief Petty Officers Association at Barbers Point, which means he had access to the personal records of senior enlisted personnel and their immediate family members.

Federal investigators said that Primrose and Morrison are flight risks. They added that because Primrose was a skilled avionics electrical technician who held a secret clearance, he “would be able to communicate surreptitiously with others if released from pretrial confinement.”

Investigators also said they believe the couple had additional aliases and that Primrose did not report all of his international travel.   

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