On this day, Dec. 18, in 1996, a senior FBI agent and former counterspy was arrested on espionage charges at the FBI Academy in Quantico, where he worked.

Earl Edwin Pitts was snared in a sting with the help of a defected Russian official. Pitts 43, ended up revealing to an FBI undercover agent details of his spying assignment.

At the same time, his wife, a former FBI employee, turned him in after she became suspicious.

Pitts was mostly active from 1987 to 1992 while working at the New York field office, where he was assigned to hunt and recruit KGB officers. He admitted to passing on classified information, including lists of Russian agents known to the FBI, for $224,000.

Pitts was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

- Scott McCabe