A member of the U.S. Coast Guard who was stationed in Kodiak between 2013 and 2016 is now entangled in a criminal investigation involving stolen identities of dead babies, conspiracy, the Russian KGB, and documents that appear to show maps of U.S. military bases. Here’s the story, culled from reports by the Associated Press and other news sources:
According to prosecutors in Hawaii, Walter Glenn Primrose and Gwynn Darle Morrison are the actual names of a couple who lived under fictitious names they used from the stolen identities of dead babies: Bobby Fort and Julie Montague.
Primrose spent 20 years in the Coast Guard and had secret-level security clearance. While at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, he was known as Chief Petty Officer Bobby Fort, attached to the C-130 air crews, whose mission is to patrol the Bering Sea, the Arctic regions, and to keep an eye on the Russian border. Primrose even got his pilot’s license using his fictitious “Fort” name, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that Primrose, aka Fort, joined the Coast Guard in 1994, retiring in 2016 and then working for a defense contractor in Hawaii, where he also had a secret-level clearance.
U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi this week upheld a previous ruling to keep Primrose and Morrison incarcerated without bail and said it is still a mystery why the two lived under stolen identities of two dead Texas children for so long.
Primrose was able to join the Coast Guard with the false identity, prosecutors say, and moved up in his security clearances with that identity.
Primrose and Morrison were arrested, July 22, 2022, in Kapolei, a suburb of Honolulu, where they’ve been charged with identity theft and conspiring against the government; they pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, false statement in a passport application, and aggravated identity theft.
In the couple’s home in the Honolulu suburb of Kapolei, investigators found old photos of the two wearing military jackets that appeared to be Russian KGB uniforms. They also found a kit for invisible ink, and coded language and maps showing military bases, the prosecutor said.
But the defense attorney dismissed the evidence.
Defense attorneys for the couple have said they took a photo wearing the same jacket years ago. Further, the jacket wasn’t found in the couple’s home, but has been turned over to authorities by someone else, Assistant Federal Defender Max Mizono, who represents Primrose, said in arguing that the Russian spy theory doesn’t add up, according to news reports.
“Mr. Primrose’s lack of ownership and possession of the alleged KGB uniform even more strongly supports the inference that he and his co-defendant, are not, in fact, Russian spies, and that the photographs of them are more akin to dressing up in a costume, engaging in cosplay, or the like,” Mizono wrote in a motion appealing a lower magistrate judge’s detention order, as reported by AP.
The invisible ink was a “toy purchased many years ago for entertainment,” and the other items were unimportant.
But Judge Kobayashi said that in keeping the two in prison without bail, she considered the charges, and the fact that the couple have no real ties to Hawaii.
Prosecutors also mentioned existence of correspondence found in the home in which an associate believed Primrose had joined the CIA or had become a Bolivian terrorist.
Defender Mizono said that the suspicions that Primrose is a member of the CIA, a Bolivian terrorist, a Russian Spy, all while working in the Coast Guard just doesn’t add up. “In sum, the government should put its money where its mouth is, submit all this evidence to the Court, and let the Court ascertain the veracity behind its claims that Mr. Primrose is a Russian spy,” Mizono said, the AP reported.
At FBI headquarters in Kapolei, the couple had been questioned and made references to espionage, according to prosecutors.
“The FBI knows that foreign intelligence services have protocols that they teach their agents and those recruited by their agents to follow if they are ever apprehended,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Muehleck wrote, adding that making such statements when they were only being asked about identity theft “is consistent with espionage,” the AP reported.
“Muehleck said prosecutors are also concerned that Primrose used his stolen identity to obtain a private pilot’s license, which has been seized, and that he was stationed with the Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska, from 2013 and 2016 while Morrison stayed in Hawaii,” according to the story.