It is not often we see the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) of the State Department filing criminal complaints in a national security investigation, yet that is what occurred this past week. We learn from the recently unsealed criminal complaint the DSS has uncovered what may be two individuals who have been living under false identities for decades. The identities used by the couple belong to children who died in infancy. The individuals’ true names are provided in the court documents as Walter Glenn Primrose and Gwynn Darle Morrison. The identities under which they have been living are Bobby Edward Fort and Julie Lyn Montague.

Identity swap

Primrose and Morrison changed their identity in 1987 from their true name, to that of deceased infants. Primrose obtained the death records of the deceased infant, Bobby Edward Fort who according to public records was born in mid-1967 and late-1967 in Burnet, TX and is buried in Marble Falls City Cemetery. Morrison went on to obtain the death records of the deceased infant Julie Lyn Montague, who perished in 1968 in Burnet, TX and is buried in Burnet Cemetery, about 14 miles from where Fort’s gravesite is located, according to the court documents.

Having obtained the birth and death certificates of the infants, the couple set about laundering their personas. They obtained Texas driver’s licenses and identity cards in their new names. They also obtained social security numbers for both personas. The DSS investigation showed that in less than six months, the two had enough personal identifying documentation to fully assume the identities of Bobby Fort and Julie Montague.

The court documents point to the April 4, 2014, acquisition of a passport by Primrose in the Fort false identity – a felony, which the DSS is charged with investigating. On April 8, 2016 Morrison renewed her Montague passport – also a felony, investigated by DSS. But the crimes don’t stop there.

DSS found Primrose had since 1988 had five U.S. passports in the name of Fort – three tourist passports and two official passports. Interestingly, Primrose also had over the years had submitted passport applications and received passports in that name as well. So both Fort and Primrose passports had been issued and upon closer inspection associated with this investigation, the photos used for each showed the same individual.

For her part, Morrison had three passports issued in the name of Montague, with her current passport under that name issued in April 2016.

Coast Guard years

Primrose and Morrison then went on to marry one and another, again, this time in the names of Fort and Montague. Then in 1994 the Fort persona enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving within the Coast Guard until 2016 under the name of Fort, when he retired after 20 years of service. They landed in Hawaii and in the course of this investigation it was discovered that Primrose used his Fort passport as bonafides to obtain a Hawaii driver’s license.

Soviet Union KGB

The court documents list a number of felonies that the couple are believed to have committed. Interesting, and without explanation, the court documents contain two photos of Primrose and Morrison in what is believed to be KGB uniforms.

While the DSS and other federal entities, including the FBI, may know the rest of the story via their investigatory efforts, the court documents do not tell us if the couple had a formal relationship with Soviet/Russian intelligence.

Readers will recall the case of former green beret captain, Peter Debbins, who was photographed in a Soviet military uniform as part of his recruitment by the GRU.

Thus the intrigue of this tale is the fact the modus operandi of the First Chief Directorate, Directorate S which is charged with supporting the “illegal” intelligence officers of the SVR (Russian foreign intelligence service) in their deployment abroad mirrors the efforts used by Primrose and Morrison to manufacture a new identity using the persona of a deceased infant.

The arrest of Primrose and Morrison leaves us with many questions concerning the duo’s relationship with the Soviet Union and then Russia (if any). They may, in fact, be Russian illegal intelligence officers. They can just as likely be two individuals who for their own reasons stole the identities of the deceased and then as some sort of cosplay dressed up in Soviet era KGB uniforms.

 

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Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of securelytravel.com

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