Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Christopher Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee

Dirty Twickses

He had a security badge and signed a pledge solemnly affirming, I shall not knowingly and willfully communicate, deliver or transmit in any manner classified information to an unauthorized person or agency.  He worked in Classified Material Control.  As it name suggests, the unit regulated the distribution of classified material through TRW.  Chris Boyce now had access to classified material, a designation of U.S. government information that is well below the sensitivity of Secret and Top Secret.

When first hired, he could not enter the special room known as the Black Vault. It was not called Black for the color of the walls but for the extreme secrecy of the material contained within.  This was the repository for the most classified and encrypted messages of U.S. intelligence, as well as their corresponding codes, were kept.  To be allowed to enter the Black Vault, a person needed security clearance from the FBI, the CIA, and the National Security Agency.

Boyce got those clearances within a few months after he began working at TRW. Now he could work in the Black Vault.  Chris was flattered that he had received such a high security clearance.  It meant the government must think highly of him.

Despite that fact, he thought little of his government.  Like many other Americans, he was disgusted by the U.S. intervention in Vietnam.  The government had waged a hopeless war in a distant land that killed 50,000 young men. For what? Just to prop up a corrupt South Vietnamese government, he believed.  The bombing of Cambodia was another horror.  He was disgusted and dismayed by the role the U.S. had played in the bloody overthrow of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected Marxist leader of Chile.

Boyce claimed later that the atmosphere of the ultra-secret Black Vault was both surprisingly jovial and lackadaisical.  People used the CIA document destruction shredder as a blender to make daiquiris.  Put it to some use, he commented wryly.  They were doing it before I got there.  It wasnt my idea but it made a hell of a daiquiri.

One of his colleagues was a Vietnam vet who enjoyed regaling people with war stories.  The vet bragged about how he and a fellow soldier had raped a Vietnamese woman as her husband, held at rifle point, watched.   He also told how he and other soldiers had taken Viet Cong prisoners and pushed them out of helicopters.  At first, Boyce thought the man was making up these stories.  As time went on, though, the stories considerable detail led him to conclude that they might well have been true.  His co-workers accounts of Vietnam fueled Boyces belief that the U. S. was no better than other superpowers past or present.

Secret messages sent by the government led Boyce to think even less of it. A telex message was officially a TWX.  Such messages were often referred to as twickses.  Boyce started reading twickses that infuriated him.  He was privy to messages involving both the Rylite and Argus intelligence-gathering projects.  These concerned the monitoring and photographing of Chinese and Soviet military bases and missile launches.

The U.S. had signed an executive agreement with Australia to share classified information  gathered about Soviet and Chinese activity within range of Australia.  Boyce has said he saw clear evidence that Washington was not sharing either Rylite or Argus information with Australia.  The reason for withholding the information, Boyce has further claimed, was because a socialist government was leading Australia. The U.S. did not want to do anything to aid it.  Gough Whitlam was the head of the Australian government and he was not a popular figure with the US intelligence community.

Boyce also learned that the CIA was infiltrating Australias powerful labor unions.  It continued these activities even after the hated Whitlam government toppled and the conservative government of Malcolm Fraser came to power.

Boyce was stunned.  Australia was a staunch ally  and had been through two world wars.  Like the U.S., it was an English-speaking representative democracy.  What kind of government, Boyce wondered, would deceive such a close and dependable friend?

Not one he owed any loyalty to, he decided.  He had been born an American.  It was something he had not chosen or had anything to do with, so why did he owe his country any allegiance?

Christopher Boyce
Christopher Boyce

Although Boyce was upset by U.S. policy, he did not join any protest groups. He chose to express his dislike for America in a way that was secret, illegal and financially remunerative.  Money was never his primary object; but he enjoyed the extra cash.

Since the U.S. was two-faced with its friends, Boyce decided, he would betray it.  He proceeded to do exactly that.  He enlisted the aid of his close friend Daulton Lee.  The two had come of age together.  They shared a taste for camping and falconry.

Moreover, Boyce believed that Lee was ideally suited for the sort of criminality he was contemplating. Lee was already dealing cocaine, and Boyce knew Lee loved money. So Boyce approached him with a way to make money by dealing with Americas chief rival and enemy, the Soviet Union.

Boyce said that he would smuggle information out of the Black Vault and then Lee would act as a courier, taking it to a Russian embassy in another country.  Lee pooh-poohed his friends suggestion at first.  But it was not long before he agreed to it.  There was easy money to be made and Daulton Lee would do just about anything to get it.

Another reason loomed large in Lees thinking.  His life was a legal tangle. He was continuing in the cocaine trade despite incarceration.    Terrified of returning to prison, he  agreed to turn snitch for narcotics agents.  However, after thinking it over, he decided that informing on his colleagues would be the most dangerous course of action possible.

A trip to Mexico like Boyce proposed sounded just dandy.

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