tv Declassified CNN September 30, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
this is the story about the highest ranking cia agent to ever be convicted of espionage. but also it's the story of betrayalal against a man against his country and the betrayalal of a man against his son. >> he would sacrifice his country. he would sacrifice his children for the money, for the lifestyle he wanted. and he's a traitor. in our line of work, it doesn't get much worse than that. >> why would a good cia officer
become a traitor? it's just unbelievable. >> he committed espionage on the behalf of a hostile country and used people like poker chips. i don't know how you do that if you have a conscience. >> as a former fbi agent and chairman of the house intelligence committee i had oversight of all 16 of our nation's intelligence agencies. my name is mike rogers. i have access to classified information gathered by our operatives. people who risked everything for the united states and our families. you don't know their faces or their names. you don't know the real stories from the people who live the fear and the pressure until now. >> there is no doubt in washington tonight this is an intelligence disaster. >> cia director james woelsey
faced an audience of congressmen anxious to know why it took nine years to learn ames was working for the kgb. >> when the ames case broke open, that was a water shed event. we had a high ranking case officer working for an extended period of time for the russians inside the building. for the agency that triggered an introspective moment on how did this happen? for many years we didn't believe it was possible. that myth was shattered. >> i felt a lot of anger because i knew what james had access to. i know there are eight to 10 agents executed as a result of information. one was one i was directly involved with. >> there was a great deal of anger in the senate intelligence
community. the cia, they wanted to find them themselves but finally he had already done most of the damage. >> the ames case is perhaps the most graphic and vivid example of the need to make structural changes in the operation of our intelligence community. >> when alder james was arrested, we knew he did significant damage to the intelligence community and we had other cases he was not involved in that went bad. >> you assume at that point that somebody else is trying to steal secret information and give it to the russians. and this is not a one off event and we've got to make sure if there's anymore we have to find them. >> as soon as ames is brought to justice inordered a comprehensive examination of both internal and external studies of our counterintelligence operation. >> a presidential decision was
issued that basically said take a person with experience and seniority, send them to the cia, he's still fbi but he'll run their counterespionage group responsible for uncovering spies. i got a call when i was in los angeles. we want you to come back and run this group. when i went over to the counterespionage group i asked if i could bring an assistant with me, somebody from the fbi and john i had worked with previously in los angeles. >> this opportunity to be the first fbi agents inserted in like cover in the cia was a singular opportunity. i tend to value those more and i've never regretted it. >> most of the people in the cia did not know i was there looking for a spy. >> did you have a cia badge or -- >> cia badge. >> so they didn't know you were from the fbi? >> within the first week everybody in that building knew i was from the fbi.
they didn't particularly care for me being there but they definitely knew who i was. >> inside the cia headquarters building people were whining and bitching about all kinds of things, the fbi this and that. they have a job to do, just like we do. we clearly had a serious problem. >> now i get all my briefings and i learned i had over 300 cases in the cia where cia employees had failed its counterintelligence polygraph. that means you had 300 potential spies in the cia that had never been resolved. at the time if you fail a cia polygraph, nothing ever happens to you. alstrj aims failed the pallograph several times and nothing was ever done. when i came in, i put a stop to that. i had my own polygraph examiner. we ordered our own tests and we basically said you're going to resolve this or you're not going anywhere. we had to resolve it one by one.
>> you must have been quite unpopular. >> very unpopular. >> you had this pool of unresolv unresolved polygraphs. so you want to push and get those resolved as quickly as possible. >> when you start from 300, it takes a long time to get down to half a dozen. >> unfortunately a lot of the reasons people are having trouble wasn't because they were a spy, it's that they had been playing loose with the rules when they're in the field. >> but it's not espionage. are you a spy? that's what i'm interested in. i don't care if you didn't pay your income tax and 98% of the cases we were able to resolve that had nothing to do with espionage. >> then in the summer of 1986 out of the herd one individual particularly emerges. that was james harold nicholson. >> he had failed a polygraph and was assigned to various areas where cases went bad. so he was a suspect, a strong suspect at that time. >> jim nicholson was an instructor at the cia's training
facility, the farm. >> he was one of the instructors to train spies. so he knew the identity of every agent we were going to send overseas and he could have provided this information to russians and that's what concerned us the most. >> when you expose a spy working in a hostile country that's not allied for us, for them that's a death sentence. you're accused, tortured and murdered. >> his experience is devastating. even worse than ames. >> i can't believe the potential damage he could have done. what started as a passion...
wemost familiar companies,'s but we make more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. a coconut water company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and we make them for every moment in every corner of the country. we are the coca-cola company, and we're proud to offer so much more. about to see progressive's new home quote explorer.
where you can compare multiple quote options online and choose what's right for you. woah. flo and jamie here to see hqx. flo and jamie request entry. slovakia. triceratops. tapioca. racquetball. staccato. me llamo jamie. pumpernickel. pudding. employee: hey, guys! home quote explorer. it's home insurance made easy. password was "hey guys." ames was not involved in that
went bad. >> you assume at that point that somebody else is trying to steal secret information and give it to the russians. this is not a one off event. if there's anymore, we have to find them. >> in the summer of 1986 the fbi team had already whittled down their cast of possible candidates. and one of those was jim nicholson. >> jim nicholson was working as a single dad and had custody of his three children. >> for jim i think the divorce clearly precipitated some financial strains that weren't there before. now being a single father, having to pay alimony, all of those pressures were coming to have to bear together with his expensive tastes. tailored suits as opposed to off the rack. >> it looked like he might be interested in making more money. >> it's one thing to go after a spy with one course in counterintelligence. it's another thing to know
you're going up with the senior varsity. >> he was an extremely well trained spy with a great deal of previous experience. we all knew if we make one mistake with this guy, he's gone. >> so with that information in hand, certain opportunities came up. one of them was jim's announced vacation to singapore. >> so the discussion then came down with director of central intelligence do we let him go? don't we let him go? decision was made that we would inform the singapore intelligence service and jim nicholson would go to singapore. when he got off the plane in singapore he's under surveillance. >> and he almost immediately begins what we call dry cleaning. surveillance detection runs designed to pick up anybody trying to surveil or follow you. that's where the term dry cleaning comes from. you're stripping or cleansing yourself from all these unwanted
attachments. turning down a set of stairs and immediately turning around and going back up. so if anyone's following you, you're likely to run right into them. looking in the pane glass windows of large department stores. he's looking at the reflections in the glass. but doing surveillance detection runs is not what one usually does on a vacation. >> but you're still only suspecting him because you don't have that last link. you haven't made your case yet. >> but on the third day of surveillance, the proverbial black limo pulls up to the curb and jim hops in and our surveillance team looks down to the license plate. russian embassy. >> once he went in that embassy, he was a bad guy. there was no suspect anymore. he is a subject of an fbi investigation. now you focus all your attention on building a case against him. >> so after identifying jim in singapore as our spy.
the next challenge is where do we position him so he can do the least amount of damage? >> so after discussion, the decision was made to put him as a branch chief in the counter terrorism center. >> given the environment at the time, pre-9/11, that's where we could most effectively detain him. >> you're letting him know he can do what he wants because nobody's watching me. >> so it's finally in june 1996 that jim began his new duties as a branch chief in counterterrorism. >> now you have to collect the evidence and present it for an arrest warrant. we have to monitor his activities when he's outside of langly 24 hours a day. that means every time he steps foot outside his house, surveillance. anytime he's in the house, we have to know who he's talking to. we had to get a human source in his office so that we know every time he gets up from his desk, he walks out, our guy goes out with him.
we had to get somebody right next to him. >> 1996 i get a cable in the field that says you're assigned to human resources. it was something i didn't want to do, and i clearly thought i passed my division chief off. but i processed out of the division field i was in ov overseas, and then i came back. i did not want be to in human resources. because that's like the kiss of death for a case officer. >> so sitting in my brand new desk in h.r. and one morning i got a call from the front offices, and the boss called up and said don't tell anybody where you're going, speak to nobody, get up in front of my desk right now. i said okay. >> sat down, chief explained to him we want to put you on a very special assignment, but we're not going to tell you what it's about. >> and you have to give me an answer yes or no right now. >> and if it's no, your career
is over. i didn't say that, but that was implied. >> there was a long pause where i didn't say anything and neither did he. the only variable i have in the room was there was a man i didn't recognize. i said can i ask one question? he said you can ask, i don't know if i'll answer. >> i get up and walk over and shook his hand. >> and introduced himself as the highest ranking fbi agent assigned inside cia. my mind was racing at that point. he said you got to give me an answer now. if you say no, go back to h.r., if you say yes, we'll tell you what this is all about and i say yeah, i'll take it. i'll do it. >> once he accepted the the assignment, i said go outside now, don't stop, don't say anything to anybody and two people will meet you. >> and i said yes, sir and left the building. and they took me to a safe house in northern virginia. the case agents then briefed me
on what the issue was, and they told me we have a spy inside the building and we want you to help us catch him. initially it was like getting kicked in the stomach. another major espionage case inside of cia. it was a devastating piece of information. >> we had to have someone as close up as possible to nicholson, and john hopefully was going to be that candidate but you couldn't thrust john on jim or jim would be suspicious. you had to do it in a way that jim would think it's his choice, his selection that brought john in the game. >> the first step was go through the interview process and get him to the pick. and that was job was the deputy chief of the unit that was run by nicholson. the interview wasn't particularly long, but i got along well with him. it was clear he didn't have a lot of good things to say about the structure of the leadership covering the agency. my views of h.r. were a good laughter in the interview and he understood completely that i
thought i was going to die if i stayed there. whenever you have an interaction with anybody that's a planned activity, you always come back and reflect on what you did. and i came away with the opinion that it went pretty good. >> jim did an excellent job as a manager choosing the best person for that job and ultimately he chose mcguire. unbeknownst to jim, john was a spy, and probably the last person he wanted to have next to him. >> and ended up sitting in the desk right next to nicholson's and then it was game on. >> it's a big, big risk. now you're going outside your perimeter. this is the person close to say nicholson. you're going to lunch, going to talk about cases. so that person could do something stupid and nicholson would be alerted something's wrong here. >> basically you have a one-strike scenario. if you mess up or give away something, you could derail the entire investigation. everyone's got to listen to mom.
when it comes to reducing the sugar in your family's diet coke, dr. pepper, and pepsi hear you and we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar. balanceus.org you know win control? be this guy. check it out! self-appendectomy! oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender.
(vo) go national. go like a pro. when you're clocking out. sensing your every move and automatically adjusting to help you stay effortlessly comfortable. there. i can also help with this. does your bed do that? oh. i don't actually talk. though i'm smart enough to. i'm the new sleep number 360 smart bed. let's meet at a sleep number store.
so in the spring of 1996 i started as nicholson's deputy in the counterterrorism center. at that time radical islamic terrorism was on the rise. so there was a lot of real work stuff going on that you had to focus on. >> they were looking at critical players who eventually became known post 9/11. so it was very critical stuff they were doing. >> in the middle of all that you're trying to catch your boss compiling information he's going to give to the russians. >> to have someone in human source in touch with him every day. it's invaluable. >> getting to know him was part of the exercise. i spent a lot of time going to lunch with him, drinking beer with him. my goal with the investigation was to immerse myself in him, but it was mentally draining every day. because i describe him as a flawed personality, a flawed man. over time that became very
apparent that he had a special view of himself. a ruthless narcissistic guy that didn't care about anybody. and you're with him all the time. there was no retreat from it. >> jim nicholson is the most formidable opponent you could possibly go up against as a counterespionage agent because he's so well-trained in the craft. >> and mcguire provided personality assessment back to the fbi. what's he thinking, how's he thinking. and john was very, very good at it. >> and even with john, as close as john was to him, that's still not giving us the exact intel and insights to what is he doing minute by minute, second by second. that's why we knew we had to get a fiber optic camera into his office. you've seen the tile ceilings with the thousands of pin holes in them. it was no bigger than one of those pinholes. >> at one point nicholson got up on his chair and was rooting
around in the ceiling. >> he was getting up and actually reaching up into the ceiling and pushing tiles. >> what did you do? >> john, move your butt. he's shifting tiles. >> so i just barged into his office and he was standing on the chair and i said what the hell are you doing in here? and he said i thought something was loose. i was just taking a look. i said okay. he didn't find anything, he didn't disrupt anything so there was no compromise and everybody breathed a huge sigh of relief. >> next thing we needed was to get access to his van that he parks in the parking lot. that was the big thing. >> he was like a northern virginia soccer mom. he had a minivan. he was playing a role. he didn't want to attract any attention to himself.
a single dad driving a minivan with three kids. invisible guy in northern virginia. >> we managed to manipulate him in a way he would go on a business trip, leave his van as opposed to parking in his driveway at home. then of course we didn't want to get careless or lazy. there's still eyes on the langly compound. so we did it really, really late at night. >> we had to pick up that van, physically pick it up, you know, forklift it because he may have checked the odometer reading on it. and the fbi went through the whole van. >> some people say isn't that a little extreme putting it on a flat bed so the odometer wasn't changed? not if you were trained like he was trained. >> he knows surveillance. he knows all these techniques. >> you underestimate him at your own peril is what we felt. >> they went through that van and they got significant data, intelligence data.
he had left his computer in there, everything. >> we were able to image that laptop and do a quick initial assessment as to what was on there, and we found the tasking order from his russian handler and that's even before we did the really in-depth analysis we were able to do in the off site. we discovered he had given a true name and identity of the spies that went through the cia training program with him to his russian handler. >> that was a line that really frosted me at that point. because that's a mercenary activity that i don't think any other spy has ever done. >> the question at that point is do you have enough for a resting conviction. we didn't have that at that time. >> i wanted to shoot him at his desk, truth be told. but i wanted to catch him. and in october we had the first major break in the case. i had gone off campus and had
lunch with nicholson and nicholson was driving erratically, and it looked like he was doing a surveillance detection run. and he said we're going to a post office. i collect stamps. there's some unusual stamps here. and we went back to the post office. he bought them and we proceeded back to the building from there. and for me, looking at it as a case officer i thought he's going to mail something overseas. >> going to the post office to get a special stamp, that would be a clue that would have alerted the fbi right away that something's unusual happening. >> john gave us the heads up we needed to watch him like a hawk. we summoned the resources and we did just that. >> they bet heavy on what i told them, they covered him relentlessly and caught him mailing a post card to the russians. they processed his post card as evidence and then put the mail back in the box and sent it on its way. >> the post card indicating his intent to travel and meet with his russian handlers.
>> hello old friend. i hope it is possible that you will be my guest for a ski holiday this year on the 23, 24 november. a bit early but it would fit my schedule nicely. hope you are the same and can accept my invitation. best regards, neville r. scratchy. >> who the hell is neville h. scratchy? it could be code name for him. there's a variety of things it could mean. >> that's a communication between him and the russians saying i'm ready for my next meet. it's a signal he's doing something. >> once we saw the contents of that letter, we knew we had to bring this thing down. what really put the nails in that final coffin was prior to his trip we noticed jim photographing classified documents to pass along to his russian handlers.
>> we knew he was taking pictures of classified documents. he was storing up and getting ready for his trip. it was like cramming for an exam. we knew if he was leaving the country for a meeting with the russians, he would have to take his compromising material and intelligence with him. we were confident he would have classified material in his person or bags in some fashion, we just had to find it. we've got enough to convict him of espionage and arrest him.
they caught jim nicholson mailing a post card to the russians. >> that's a communication saying i'm ready for my next meet. a signal he's doing something. >> what really put the nails in the final coffin was we witnessed jim photographing classified documents to pass along to his russian handlers prior to his trip. >> we were very confident he would have classified material in his person or bags in some in some fashion when he left on his next trip. we just had to find it. we have enough to convict him of espionage and arrest him. >> november 16, 1996, dull ezinternational airport, the fbi finally brought this matter to conclusion. >> the fbi placed themselves throughout the area in undercover positions surrounding the entire plane. >> we had agents as bag handlers. >> there were fbi agents everywhere. he would go through security so
you were sure he had nothing on him that could be a weapon. he was also through security and committed himself to leaving the country to prove that he was en route to meet the russians. >> on the tarmac at dulles and let jim know that his life as a spy had now ended. >> his entire life collapsed around him in a five second window where he realized at that moment my life is over. the look on his face is the only honest look i saw on his face the whole time i knew the man. >> this arrest demonstrates that the counterintelligence reforms that have been put into place in the wake of aldrich ames have taken hold and led to our success in catching the spy, nicholson. >> in november of 1997, jim
finally reached a plea with prosecution. >> and he was at the trial table as he read his statement. we locked eye contact briefly and he turned away but his face looked ashen when he turned away and that's the last time i ever laid eyes on the guy. >> he was sentenced to 23 years and at his request transferred to a prison in oregon so he could be close to his children and his family. >> why was he spying for the russians? what was he getting from it? >> that's a good question but i don't know. he claims he needed the money. but i think that's just an excuse. >> i think he viewed himself as a master spy that could operate with impunity in our face. >> it's like pursuing adventure all the time in the foreign service. wherever you go you'll find something interesting to do. >> he asked for it. he chose poorly, and he paid for it and he'll pay for it until he draws his last breath.
>> in the summer of 2007 i got called down to the special agent in charge's office out of the blue and asked if i was interested in working on a very important case that would ultimately be very high profile and so of course the next logical question from my perspective was, well, what is it? and the answer was you got to say yes before we'll tell you what the is that you're going to be working on. >> i was called into my supervisor's office in eugene, oregon. he said you wanted me to close or reassign every case that i had. which was very unusual and considering i had some significant cases at the time. so i drove the 110 miles to portland and got briefed. >> we learned that jim nicalson's son, nathan nicholson, was suspected of working with his father and making contact with the
russians. >> i was familiar with james nicholson, his being the highest ranking cia officer ever convicted of espionage. but nathan, i knew nothing about nathan. he was 12 years old when his dad went to jail in 1996. >> at that point we needed additional information to solidly make the criminal case. >> even though jim was in prison, he was very high up in the ranks and knew quite a bit about the inner workings of the agency. >> you never know for sure what information he could still be giving them. we needed to find out what it was that was being provided by jim nicholson to the russians. so we went back and looked at the telephone calls he had made to try to gleam information that might be useful for the case. >> you have a prepaid call from -- >> this is daddy. >> an inmate -- >> i thought i'd call you and see what kind of hours you're keeping these days. >> oh, pretty much the same i guess.
yeah, i'm on the road heading back now. >> okay. did everything go okay? >> yeah, everything went real well. got a sale for about 5k. >> so business is picking up, huh? >> yeah, sure is. >> oh, excellent. >> i mean there was odd phone calls of him making a sale for 5k and nathan was barely treading water. i think he made $9,000 a year from pizza hut. and i think he lived in a small apartment near springfield, oregon. we started pealing the onion about nathan and what he might be doing for his father involving russian intelligence. >> nathan had been going to visit jim since he was 12 years old, and he idolized his dad from those contacts. >> he seemed to be a very dutiful son, really cared about his family, his siblings, his
religious convictions. seemed like a pretty nice person that had been trying to make his own way since he was probably about 12 years old. and things weren't working out for him. he tried to go to school, and then tried the army, and he got injured. and his life had been a series of setbacks. >> i think nathan was vulnerable at that point to looking for some direction and dad had a plan in mind. >> i do know that he used scripture to try to influence and manipulate his boy in a way that, in my view, was not positive. >> hey, i got a verse for you. it's isaiah 45:3. >> isaiah 45:3? >> yeah, it's really going to be a good one. >> and i got my bible here. and i will give you treasures hidden in the darkness, secret riches. i will do this so that you know
i'm the lord, the one who calls you by name. >> yep. >> wow. i like that. >> yeah. >> i like that. >> i claimed it for you and me. >> absolutely. >> you know basically was telling nathan he was a loyal soldier and we're doing god's work. it's a calling. i don't think jim would make father of the year. far from it. >> we were eager to start monitoring nathan's telephone calls, his travel in his car, all the kinds of ways that he might communicate with the russians to find out what was it that he could be giving them that might be of value. we were able to monitor his computer use, and we were able to give a gps on his car. >> the gps was put on the fifth of december, which was a friday. but was not until the following monday until they went to test
the gps for the first time that it worked perfectly. but the problem was the car was at portland international airport. it was a surprise, not a pleasant surprise. >> so immediately we assumed he was going to peru to meet with the russians. figured out what his itinerary was in terms of when he would be returning. the decision was made to intercept him when he came back into the country. for over 75 years. hey, big guy! come on in! let me guess your weight! win a prize! sure, why not. 12 ounces! sorry, mate. four ounces. i've been taking the stairs lately. you win, big guy. sorry, 'scuse me! oh, he looks so much more real on tv. yeah... over 75 years of savings and service.
get your rate quote today. wemost familiar companies,'s but we make more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. a coconut water company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and we make them for every moment in every corner of the country. we are the coca-cola company, and we're proud to offer so much more.
...has grown into an enterprise. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. now, i'm earning unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase i make. everything. what's in your wallet? a trip back to the dthe doctor's office, mean just for a shot. but why go back there, when you can stay home... ...with neulasta onpro? strong chemo can put you at risk of serious infection. neulasta helps reduce infection risk by boosting your white blood cell count, which strengthens your immune system. in a key study, neulasta reduced the risk of infection from 17% to 1%... ...a 94% decrease. applied the day of chemo, neulasta onpro is designed to deliver neulasta the next day. neulasta is for certain cancer patients receiving strong chemotherapy. do not take neulasta if you're allergic to neulasta or neupogen (filgrastim). ruptured spleen, sometimes fatal as well as serious lung problems, allergic reactions, kidney injuries, and capillary leak syndrome have occurred.
report abdominal or shoulder tip pain, trouble breathing or allergic reactions to your doctor right away. in patients with sickle cell disorders, serious, sometimes fatal crises can occur. the most common side effect is bone and muscle ache. so why go back there? if you'd rather be home, ask your doctor about neulasta onpro.
we're going out in an hour...? fast. allegra® relieves your worst allergy symptoms two times faster than claritin®. allegra® gelcaps... not just fast. allegra® fast. we found out jim's son, nathan, had flown out of portland international to peru. so immediately we assumed he was going to peru to meet with the russians and a decision was made to intercept him when he came back into the country. when he came through customs in houston, we were waiting for him. we had fbi agents down there. they had concert with customs, and border protection pulled nathan aside for secondary inspection. they were able to separate him from his backpack and we were
able to search that. so while customs agents were interviewing nathan about the purpose of his trip, fbi agents were copying all the paperwork that nathan had brought back with him. and during that search we found a number of very incriminating items that really broke the case wide open. >> they found some money that he brought back. i think it was over $7,000 or $8,000 on him. >> and they found a notebook that had a lot of very interesting information in it. the notebook was pretty much the jackpot. it confirmed he had addresses of the russian embassy in mexico city and he had the address for the russian embassy in lima, peru. >> the russians were always interested in finding out how jim nicholson got caught first go around. just like any spy agency,
they're concerned with moles in their midst. >> he used his son as a courier to curry questions from jim and to them back to him in prison for which they received compensation. and in the notebook we found information about this mexican yahoo account with a password in it. and they were to use code words in their communication. the russians were dick and he was nancy. >> this had a treasure trove of information in it that allowed us to pretty much predict what was going to happen from that point forward. >> i think nathan wanted to do such a good job that he kept detailed notes. nathan was not a very good spy. >> after this all happened, they let him go on his way and went home.
>> we had discussions back at headquarters as to where we wanted to go with this case. >> the evidence we got from the customs search in houston was very suspicious. but in and of itself was still circumstantial. >> so a decision was made at that point we were going to let this play out because we needed to develop additional information to solidly make a criminal case. >> in october 2008, nathan logged on to the yahoo mexican account using the password and he left a message using code names to confirm another meeting for the russians for a december 10th meeting at cyprus. it was like hello, nancy, it's good to hear from you. my brother eugene is well. the russians were nancy. nathan was dick, and jim was eugene. the meeting for cyprus was on.
>> prior to his trip to cyprus, nathan received a letter from his father, which when i saw it, immediately jumped out at me as something that could not have been and his children. jim goes in to his eldest son's background. jeremy nicholson who was still in the military and had a secret clearance. hey, i have this other son and maybe down the road this will be of some value. i looked at jim's letters. i said you s.o.b. you this to nathan and now you're putting this out there. you could actually be putting your oldest son and family in jeopardy. >> nathan traveled so cyprus in
december of 2008 for the purpose of meeting with the russians while there. he was supposed to meet them at a tgi friday's on the evening of wednesday, december the 8th. the russians met him at that location. and he was ultimately paid $12,000. and he provided the russians with a letter that had been given to him by jim that had all the information about jim and his children. we knew he had enough evidence to charge the father, charge the son. it was time to bring it to a close. oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me.
which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro. this inot this john smith.smith. or this john smith. or any of the other hundreds of john smiths that are humana medicare advantage members. no, it's this john smith. who we paired with a humana team member to help address his own specific health needs. at humana, we take a personal approach to your health, to provide care that's just as unique as you are. no matter what your name is.
after nathan came back from cyprus, we knew we had enough evidence to charge the father, charge the son. when he came back from cyprus, nathan was interviewed on the 15th of december, 2008. he was tired. he was suffering from jet lag. it was a good time to catch him off guard, get him out of his comfort zone. but he started off just lying and he lied for the first hour of the interview about what he was doing in cyprus and why he went. we stopped him at one point and
said we'll give you a do over and give you a chance to set this right. lying to the fbi is a crime. we know quite a bit about your travel. i think if you really wanted to get this off his chest. and for the next hour or two he pretty much confessed to everything and gave a written confession. but he didn't actually get arrested until a couple weeks later. we wanted to see what he might say post interview while we still had electronic coverage of him. his conversation with other people showing guilty knowledge, guilty intent, and one of the conversations we overheard was after he was interviewed by the fbi was with his sister star. >> nathan, are you okay? >> yeah i'm okay. are you okay. >> i'm good. what's up with the fbi? >> well, it's kind of a long story to be honest with you. >> you know the fbi interviewed everybody. >> yeah, i know. i know. what was going on is i was transporting some information.
>> uh-huh. >> and getting paid for it. >> it was exactly what daddy did and he arc knowledged that he had sort of been living a lie for the last year and a half. >> i went out to talk to jim nicholson in the prison on december the 15th. i showed him a post card that had written on it welcome to cyprus. and i explained to him at that point that we knew what had been going on. he said it sounds like what you're trying to do is put nathan in jail so before i say anything i think i'm going to need to talk to an attorney. as a parent myself, i would have thought he'd have been ready to
do most anything to try to get nathan out of the jam, but he didn't help his son. in january nathan was arrested and eventually released bail, but i think he spent about 72 days in jail. >> jim gave him the idea that he had not done anything wrong right from the get go. and so being held in jail, it kind of helped him to the conclusion that maybe his dad hadn't been as good a friend as he always led himself out to be. >> i had myself believe that i wasn't doing anything wrong. here's my hero. he was trying to help me out. i still wrestle with the idea that he mayor may not have manipulated me. >> nathan received five years probation from the judge and jim got an additional eight year sentence. and was ultimately sent to super
max in florence, colorado. jim nicholson basically said it was just a way to help out the family, but i don't think so. i think he just fooled himself. jim fancied himself as being quite the spy master. but how good a spy could jim have been? he's the only guy i know that ever got caught twice. >> were you surprised jim had used his son to contact the russians? >> surprised? not really. further disappointed? yeah. somewhat shocked from the perspective of the father, that one father could do this to his son, but that's what desperate people do. >> did he love his kids? >> he loved his kids but he loved himself more. for the father to do this to his family, i just can't believe it. what makes somebody do that? and then use his son to continue the operation? that's deplorable. >> his whole belief system has