(Written in 1991) In August of 1989,
Raye Allan married Navy Captain Gunther "Russ"
Russbacher. Captain Russbacher is in Navy Intelligence. The
two had first met in 1976 at the Naval Postgraduate School in
Monterey where Ms. Allan's first husband, the late John Dyer,
was Dean of Science and Engineering. In the summer of 1989,
when they decided they wanted to marry, Captain Russbacher
told Ms. Allan that he had signed an agreement stating that he
would not marry for two years. Such agreements are common in
the Intelligence Community, especially after divorces.
Captain Russbacher requested permission to marry despite
the agreement he had signed. Permission was denied. It was
further stated that he would be immediately reassigned to
Europe or even Moscow. He was ordered to have no contact with
Ms. Allan for two years, and if, at the end of that time, they
still wished to marry, then permission would be granted.
This edict was not acceptable to either Ms. Allan or
Captain Russbacher. After discussing their options, they
decided to marry immediately, before anyone found out their
plans and could stop them. They would deal with the
consequences later. Captain Russbacher felt that the worst
thing that could happen to him was to be thrown out of his
clandestine world. This was acceptable to him, because for the
first time in his life, he had fallen in love. He wanted to
leave the shadow world and lead a normal life.
Within six hours of making the decision to marry, they were
aboard a Learjet named The Blackbird, heading to Reno. They
married, returned to the Blackbird and headed home. But a
funny thing happened about fifteen minutes outside of Reno.
The pilot of the Learjet turned around to Captain Russbacher
and said: "Chief, our airspace has been violated. We've
been ordered to arm." Mrs. Russbacher paled as she looked
out the windows at what she thought were fuel tanks on the
ends of the wings. The front of the fuel tanks opened up and
missiles extended. The pilot spoke again, "A small prop
job has exceeded his limit. Nellis has scrambled fighters to
force him down and take us home."
Mrs. Russbacher was mute. Her eyes searched her husband's
for an answer. One can only guess what thoughts were going
through her head as she sat on board a fully armed and lethal
government jet. The Captain was probably thinking that he
should have told her the whole truth before they married.
Maybe if they had waited until they knew each other better
incidents like this wouldn't have happened. If they had known
a few more seemingly innocent facts about each other maybe
they would have realized why the government had denied them
permission to marry.
Would Captain Russbacher have married Ms. Allan if he had
known that she had sworn to destroy the CIA and throw all the
drug smuggling crooks in jail? Would Ms. Allan have married
Captain Russbacher if she had known that he had been attached
to the covert side of the CIA for over twenty years? Finally
words returned to her. "What kind of a plane is
this?" Her eyes were full with worry. Her voice was soft
but edged with a demand for truth. Captain Russbacher could
not like to her. He loved her. If he lied, he was afraid he
would lose her.
"This is why they teach us not to fall in love."
He thought as he looked at her. "To keep her with me,
I'll tell her everything." And he probably would have, if
he had had the time. But all he could say at that moment was,
"This is the blackbird. It was William Casey's plane.
It's been mine since he died. Until 1986 I was the number
three man in the CIA."
Captain and Mrs. Russbacher didn't have the time for him to
bare the rest of his innermost secrets or the dark secrets of
national security. They had two days together after they were
married. But they didn't spend it talking. They spent it doing
what newlyweds do.
Maybe if they had talked more and played less, they could
have prevented what was about to happen to them. If they had
probed each other's pasts deeply enough to discover the dark
thread that connected them, maybe they could have cut it
before it entangled them in two years of lies, deceit, death
threats and murder. After the incident in the Learjet they
tried to quickly fill in the pieces of their personal puzzles
so that they would each have some idea of who they had
married. But the incredible irony of what had just happened to
them was too much to digest in a short period of time.
Mrs. Russbacher was an investigative researcher whose
particular field of study was the CIA. She was currently
working with Ms. Barbara Honegger who was considered a real
pain in the...side to the Intelligence community as well as
the Reagan/Bush administrations. Ms. Honegger had resigned in
protest from the Reagan administration in 1983. She and Ms.
Allan began collaborating in 1984. Ms. Allan stayed in the
background while collaborating on projects such as the Carter
briefing book scandal, the so-called Debategate; Armageddon
literalism and Ronald Reagan's plan to bomb Syria; and the
Challenger Disaster. But even so, her activities were well
known to the intelligence community.
Just three weeks before her marriage to Captain Russbacher
she had been in Washington D.C. having dinner with Senator
Claiborne Pell. Senator Pell was the chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. This is the committee that
investigates the backgrounds of persons who have been named
for ambassador posts. She had gone to Washington with the
intention of preventing a career CIA operative named Donald
Gregg from being confirmed as Ambassador to Korea. In the
research she and Ms. Honegger were doing on the October
Surprise, (the 1980 Reagan campaign deal to delay the release
of the 52 American hostages in the Tehran Embassy to defeat
Jimmy Carter.), she had discovered that Donald Gregg was
aboard an airplane that carried George Bush to Paris on
October 19, 1980 to finalize the deal. She told Senator Pell
that Donald Gregg was guilty of treason and did not deserve to
Many people would have felt that this detail was important
enough to discuss with a new husband that she had just
discovered was a career CIA operative, but for some reason
that little piece of information slipped her mind. She was
more inclined to slap her forehead every few minutes and
exclaim in absolute amazement, "I can't believe I've
married a CIA operative." With an equal amount of shock
and amazement her new husband lay on his side of the bed
slapping his own forehead with identical gestures of
disbelief, "I can't believe I married Barbara Honegger's
Barbara Honegger was not considered a major threat to the
CIA, but she had just published a book titled "October
Surprise". In it she had revealed the stories of three
CIA Operatives who claimed that they had participated in the
1980 Reagan campaign deal to delay the release of the hostages
in Iran. One of the CIA informants was a contract arms dealer
named Richard Brenneke. Mr. Brenneke had just been charged
with perjury by the US Attorney's office out of Denver.
Mr. Brenneke claimed that Donald Gregg had been on board
the plane that he had flown to Paris so George Bush could
finalize the deal. The US Attorney had supenaed Donald Gregg
who would try to prove to the jury that he was somewhere else
on that day.
Captain Russbacher was aware that his bride knew Richard
Brenneke. Mrs. Russbacher knew that her husband knew Richard
well enough to consider him a friend. In fact it was their
mutual friendship with Richard Brenneke that had thrown them
together in the first place. One can only wonder how those
precious hours could have slipped away without either of them
sharing the missing pieces of the puzzle which would have
alerted the other of the eminent danger.
Captain and Mrs. Russbacher enjoyed a two day honeymoon. On
September 1, 1989, the third day of their married life,
Captain Russbacher was arrested by the FBI. Mrs. Russbacher
was told that he was a conman on a crime spree marrying and
defrauding widows. She was advised to annul the marriage
immediately. He was led away in handcuffs. She protested that
he was a Naval officer that she had known for years. The FBI
told her that he was a pathological liar with a photographic
memory who could weave bits and pieces of information into a
believable story. She told them about the Learjet. They told
her he stole it.
For three months she searched for answers. From Washington,
D.C. to St. Louis to Portland...she interviewed and
interrogated every government official and intelligence
operative she knew. Finally she convinced herself that the FBI
had lied and her husband was a deep cover CIA operative. But
still she didn't know why he was in jail. Even though Captain
Russbacher knew more of the picture than did his bride, he was
now unable to tell her anymore information that might help her
in her search because every piece of information that he
shared with her was monitored by the jail.
It would be one year before he would be released and the
two of them would be together. It would be one year before
Raye Russbacher would understand that you don't mess with the
career of a CIA operative and get away with it. You don't use
your friendship with the chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee to try to sabotage the nomination of an
ambassador. Donald Gregg must have been overjoyed when he
heard about the marriage of Captain Russbacher to Raye Allan.
There was no love loss between Mr. Gregg and Captain
Russbacher. Mr. Gregg had tried on numerous occasions to
derail Captain Russbacher's career, and now he finally had
him. Captain Russbacher had disobeyed orders and violated an
internal security contract when he married Raye Allan. He
could punish them anyway he saw fit. Fate deals strange hands,
and there was no hand stranger than the one that had been
dealt on this occasion.
At the time the Captain and his lady married, Donald Gregg
was the head of the CIA discipline committee. It was Donald
Gregg who was in charge of the investigation into the
Russbacher affair, and it was Donald Gregg who decided their
It would take one full year for them to figure out what had
really happened to them. It would not be until Captain
Russbacher was forced to plead guilty to four counts of
securities fraud and be placed on five years probation. It was
a choice between a guilty plea and staying in a county jail
for an indeterminable amount of time. Captain Russbacher
learned the hard way that there is no justice for a CIA
operative who violates the rules of the Company.
But it was not until he was released and they were together
that they were finally able to discover that Donald Gregg was
the man responsible for the hell they had endured. But it was
over and they were together. They had taken their punishment
and now they could get on with their lives. The Captain took
his new bride to a top secret meeting on Offutt Air Force Base
in Nebraska. He took her there to meet his bosses and his
William Webster, the Director of Central Intelligence
invited them to lunch. When the Captain introduced his bride
to the Director Raye finally felt that at last she knew the
truth about her husband.
This feeling was not to last for long. Her husband was
ordered to an Air Force Base in California. He was told that
it was for a promotion ceremony and press conference. The Navy
had to come up with a story to explain why one of their
officers had just spent a year in jail. The story was a good
one, but the papers never saw it.
Captain Russbacher, in full Navy uniform, was arrested by
the same FBI agents who had arrested him one year before. This
time he was arrested for impersonating a Naval officer. Within
a week that charge was dropped and he was charged with misuse
of a government airplane, namely the one he had used to fly
the love of his life to Reno to marry.
Captain Russbacher is still in prison. It has now been two
years and three months. Mrs. Russbacher no longer wonders
about who her husband is. Now she wonders if he will be
murdered before they have a chance to live together. The story
and the reason for him being in jail has changed dramatically.
In May of 1991 an attempt was made on the life of Navy
Captain Gunther Russbacher. That attempt took the lives of
three Navy Intelligence officers. When Captain Russbacher
realized that a contract had been put out on him, he felt it
was necessary to let people know who wanted him dead and why.
He made a telephone call to a friend who transcribed the
information and released it to many different newspapers. The
story that was finally told reads as follows:
(Reprinted with permission from the Napa Sentinel)
BUSH MADE DEAL WITH IRANIANS, PILOT SAYS
Navy flier testifies he flew Bush to Paris for deal
to block release of hostages
A BAC 111 aircraft, which had been reconfigured to carry a
sufficient amount of fuel to travel 3,600 miles, left Andrews
Air Force Base in the late afternoon of October 19, 1980. The
aircraft's destination: Paris, France. The passengers aboard
the aircraft included the command pilot U.S. Navy Captain
Gunther Russbacher, Richard Brenneke as the co-pilot. In the
cabin was William Casey, soon to be the Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency; Donald Gregg, soon to be the
vice-president's National Security Advisor and eventually
Ambassador to Korea; and George Bush, soon to be the vice
president of the United States and eventually the president.
This is the weekend, three weeks before the November 1980
Presidential Election, an election so close that the outcome
hung on the 52 embassy hostages held by Iranian militants. If
Jimmy Carter could free them before the election, he would
win. The Reagan campaign worried about that possibility more
than any other in the crucial weeks before the election. If
Carter was successful in arranging an "October
Surprise" and bringing the hostages home in time for the
election, then Carter would win. The only way a Reagan victory
could be assured was to make sure the hostages were held until
after the election.
Testifying to this flight is Russbacher, the command
When Raye finally heard the full story her two year descent
into hell made sense. The pilot who flew George Bush to Paris
to finalize the "October Surprise" deal had married
an investigative researcher who had worked to expose the deal
Captain Russbacher's love for his wife forced him to admit
to himself that he had been part of a well orchestrated coup
d'etat. He had kept his mouth shut for eleven years even
though he knew that the scandals, drugs and corruption that
were rampant in the country were directly related to the
cover-up of the October Suprise. The attempt on his life
killed a woman he had worked with for years. He wondered how
many more people would die because of this treasonous deal? He
had to come forward. He had to tell his story. His love for
his wife had given him back his soul. But the only thing that
could save it was for him to tell the truth.
Captain Russbacher is scheduled to testify before the House
and Senate Committees which are investigating the
"October Surprise." He is scheduled to be released
from federal custody December 23rd, 1991. However, his five
year probation has been revoked and he will return to the
county jail where he pled guilty in 1990. At this point, the
prosecutor in that case is trying to put him in jail for
twenty eight years for violation of his probation.
For two years the United States government has persecuted
two people because they fell in love. Intelligence operatives
are taught not to feel emotion. This case is a perfect example
of why that precedent exists. Men talk when they are in love.
And when a high ranking operative falls in love with an
investigative researcher it is only a matter of time before
all the secrets of the government are exposed.