Espionage Files: The Man Who Seduced the US Navy’s 7th Fleet

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He tempted his targets with the high life; whiskey, cigars, prostitutes and cash. His moles fed him bundles of military secrets and law enforcement files. All so he could rip off the Navy on an industrial scale for years and years. Now, the depth of the corruption is being exposed as the investigation reaches into the highest ranks of the Navy.

For months, a small team of U.S. Navy investigators and federal prosecutors secretly devised options for a high-stakes international manhunt. Could the target be snatched from his home base in Asia and rendered to the United States? Or held captive aboard an American warship?

Making the challenge even tougher was the fact that the man was a master of espionage. His moles had burrowed deep into the Navy hierarchy to leak him a stream of military secrets, thwarting previous efforts to bring him to justice.

The target was not a terrorist, nor a spy for a foreign power, nor the kingpin of a drug cartel. But rather a 350-pound defense contractor nicknamed Fat Leonard, who had befriended a generation of Navy leaders with cigars and liquor whenever they made port calls in Asia.

Leonard Glenn Francis was legendary on the high seas for his charm and his appetite for excess. For years, the Singapore-based businessman had showered Navy officers with gifts, epicurean dinners, prostitutes and, if necessary, cash bribes so they would look the other way while he swindled the Navy to refuel and resupply its ships.

 

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  1. Pingback: Espionage Files: The Man Who Seduced the US Navy’s 7th Fleet | Rifleman III Journal

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