The Sword AND The Stone (Part Ten)

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Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Clyde Conrad
convicted in Germany of high treason June 6, 1990

Was there a suspect, quickly known to federal authorities, but beyond their reach? Someone they would have been reluctant to identify publicly from the beginning?

One possible suspect the FBI might be constrained from revealing if he were known to be one of the robbers is convicted spy Rod Ramsay.  

A Boston native and admitted fomer bank robber, at the time of the Gardner Heist, Ramsay, who was arrested just ten weeks after the Gardner Heist for espionage, was facing a possible life sentence, for acts of espionage he had already admitted to, months before, starting in November of 1989.  As a spy and not a mere robber, Ramsay is someone whose misdeeds might not qualify him for a deal with a federal prosecutor for the return of some paintings,  and he was also someone whose name might not be released to the public for a number of reasons, if he were involved.  Ramsay is just one possible example, there could be others in similar circumstances during those final days of the Cold War. 

At the time it was received, a ransom note sent to the museum in 1994 was considered the best lead the museum ever had by Museum Director Anne Hawley, and was still considered credible by FBI Agent Geoff Kelly 14 years later, he said on Epsisode 3, Season 2 of the TV documentary crime show American Greed.

Nearly two decades after the robbery, then Gardner Museum Director Anne Hawley revealed some of the harrowing incidents she and the Museum staff endured in the aftermath of the robbery: "The museum was experiencing these bomb threats coming from people in penitentiaries that were trying to negotiate with the FBI on information they said they had — and the FBI wasn’t responding to them so they were hitting us."  

These threats were a persistent and ongoing problem for the museum. "Amid heightened anxieties over security following the theft, Hawley evacuated the museum several times following bomb threats. The authorities instructed her to take a different route home every night from work, warning that her daughter was not to be picked up by anyone who wasn’t known to her school," the Boston Globe reported in February of 2015,and in March of that year, the Globe reported Hawley had endured death threats "in the months immediately following the robbery."  

During an interview in 2013 an FBI agent ascribed the chronic threats to people coming out of the woodwork. But the threats were kept secret from the public and the media.  The only threats made against the museum reported in a New York Times article three months after the Heist, were those of an enraged Boston Globe editor, who had not been not permitted by the museum, at the request of the FBI, to have a news photographer take pictures in the Museum's Dutch Room, the day after the robbery. 

One possible explanation was that authorities knew who the person was, knew they were not interested in making a deal with the person,  but also knew they were not in a position to prosecute the individual for the crime of stealing the paintings.

Why create a paper trail of having engaged with someone who credibly claims to have been involved in the robbery if you can neither prosecute nor make a deal for the paintings return with them? That is one scenario might possibly explain the persistent and threatening calls to the museum. 

A 1994 ransom note to the Museum stated, perhaps as a means of demonstrating an inside knowledge of the crime and its aftermath, that: "The paintings had been stolen to gain someone a reduction in a prison sentence, but as that opportunity had dwindled dramatically there was no longer a primary motive for keeping the artwork."

Ramsay for example in the Spring of 1990, shortly after the Gardner Heist was a star witness (in absentia) in the trial and conviction of spy ringleader, Clyde Lee Conrad. Even prosecuting Ramsay after Conrad's conviction could throw Ramsay's testimony and the legitimacy of Conrad's conviction into question. The portrayal of Ramsay as an impressionable young soldier who had been exploited by the older and treacherous Conrad, whom Ramsay was said to have looked to as a father figure might be put int doubt.  

Boston Museum of Arts robber Myles Connor had successfully stolen and exchanged a Rembrandt for a reduced sentence in 1975, but while the deal with Connor merely had to go through the Massachusetts U. S. Attorney’s office, any deal with someone like Ramsay (if he were involved) would likely also have to be approved, not only by a federal prosecutor, but the United States Army, the FBI, U. S. Intelligence agencies and perhaps the State Department.

The feelings of the public might also be of some consideration. Should a deal with a spy (Ramsay), if he were involved, be made made known, there would be a public outcry and if the suspect was not made public, but a deal was made in secret, people might be upset that a spy had received such a short sentence. Another consideration might be that given the capabilities of rival intelligence agencies, trading paintings for spies is not something that the government would ever be involved in, or we would likely see many more museum robberies.   

Ramsay’s testimony (in absentia) had been essential to the conviction of the spy ringleader retired American Army Sergeant Clyde Lee Conrad in Germany. By incriminating Conrad, however, Ramsay had also incriminated himself, putting his espionage activities on the public record.

Giving Ramsay a short sentence or no sentence in exchange for the stolen Gardner Paintings (if he were involved) might also lead to problems in Germany where the U.S. had put pressure on the authorities to give Clyde Lee Conrad life in prison. A light sentence for Ramsay could also undermine the prosecutions chance of a conviction, since it could then be argued that Ramsay’s testimony against Conrad had been motivated by a need to purchase his own freedom. In fact this argument was made by Conrad's attorney but the U.S. authorities stated that Ramsay had not been given any deal in exchange for his testimony against Conrad. 

There was also the potential for controversy in the United States over whether Ramsay should have been arrested and jailed long before the Gardner Heist or at least under closer supervision (surveillance) if it became know that he was involved in the Gardner Heist (if he was indeed involved, which very well might not have been)

Could Ramsay be a Myles Connor copycat?   

Using fine art as a “Get Out of Jail Free card was well established by 1990 in Boston’s criminal underworld, but that was not a world Ramsay belong to, despite his criminal background, nothing links him to it.  

Still, it was no secret that Myles Connor used a Rembrandt he stole on April 14,1975,  in what was a violent and armed attack on the Museum of Fine Arts, as a bargaining chip, to have federal charges against him dropped, for trying to sell an Andrew Wyeth and three N. C. Wyeth paintings to and F.B.I. undercover agent. 

The paintings were stolen from the Woolworth Estate in Monmouth, Maine over the Memorial Day weekend in 1974.  Connor was caught in the trap in the Cape Cod community of Mashpee, MA, in July of that same year. 

An article in the August 30, 1979 Boston Globe article about Connor reported: 

“Facing a possible 10-year federal prison sentence and nearly four years in a Massachusetts prison, he [Connor] made a deal with investigators, who recovered the priceless Rembrandt, "Portrait of Elizabeth van Rijn… As a result, he avoided a federal prison sentence, served his time in a Massachusetts institution, went on work release, and was paroled in January of 1978.”

When Ramsay attended Northeastern University briefly in 1980 and 1981, a sprawling urban campus almost directly across the street from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, he shared a luxury apartment with a fellow Northeastern student, named Edward Fallon. Though twenty years younger, Fallon, like Myles Connor, was from Milton, MA. The apartment they shared with other roommates, overlooking the Charles River was also just a few miles from the Gardner Museum. Both Ramsay and his roommate Edward Fallon, whose father was a Boston area bookmaker, also named Edward Fallon, were 1980 graduates of the New York Military Academy, a high priced boarding school, whose graduates include, organized crime figure John Gotti, and President Donald Trump. 

Between news reports, friendships and his proximity to the Museum of Fine Arts, for a time, Ramsay had more than an average opportunity to know about how Myles Connor had used a Rembrandt as a “get out of jail free card," to have heard about Myles Connor and his daring and violent assault on Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Spies are not typically associated with crimes of force and coercion, like the robbery of the Gardner Museum, for instance.  But before Ramsay was a spy, before he was even out of his teens, Ramsay already had a background in robbery.

As a 19 year old living in Boston Ramsay “told [FBI agent Joe Navarro] that he had planned and participated in an armed bank robbery in Vermont in 1981,” and the Army claimed in 1997 that his past brushes with the law included forgery and shoplifting prior to enlisting.   

In 1990, the time of the Gardner Heist, Ramsay faced a far worse legal challenge than Myles Connor did in 1975. He was looking at a possible life sentence for espionage, according to Traitors Among Us written by Colonel Stuart A. Herrington, Retired. Herrington was the Army’s top counterintelligence officer at the time of the Ramsay spy case and was involved in the oversight of the investigation.  

Navarro also said that Ramsay, while working as a security officer in a hospital, had attempted to break into a safe.” Gardner Security Director Anthony Amore has stated that one of the thieves might have worked in the “same type of field” because of the empathetic way they spoke to the guards in the museum basement.  Did David Turner or any of Merlino’s gang ever work as a security guard, or show empathy for their victims in the course of their robberies?  

While Ramsay attended Northeastern University he had other roommates at Longfellow Place in the Charles River Park luxury apartment complex, including Darryl Nitke.

Nitke was from New York City, his father had been a boxing match promoter and later on was  involved in and very high up in the distribution channel of the pornography industry in the 1970's.

Nitke had had a long term friendship with Mohammed Khahshoggi, the eldest son of Adnan Khashoggi. Nitke and the younger Khashoggi attended the famous boarding school for boys in the United Kingdom, Eton College. Nitke was Mohammed Khashoggi’s roommate. The two remained friends at least until the early eighties.  Nitke’s sister became good friends with Mohammed’s sister, Nabila Khashoggi. Years after he left Eton, Nitke was still friendly enough with Mohammed to be his invited guest on Adnan Khashoggi’s famous yacht, the Nabila in 1982.

In the mid-eighties Nitke’s brother-in-law Bedros Bedrossian was business partners with Nabila Khashoggi in an offline search engine forerunner called Infolex. Later Nitke was Chief Information officer at company founded and partly owned by Bedrossian called Cosa Instruments, where Bedrossian was for a time president and COO. 

Ramsay was not the only past associate of Darryl Nitke facing criminal charges that spring of 1990.  At the time of the Gardner Heist Adnan Khashoggi, Mohammed Khahsoggi’s famous and influential father was having serious legal problems of his own.

On the Friday before the Gardner Heist, Adnan Khashoggi was arraigned in New York City along with former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos who was accused of plundering “more than $160 million of her country`s money through racketeering, bribery, extortion, and embezzlement.”  “Khashoggi assisted in the conspiracy, according to the indictment, and could potentially have received a ten year sentence and a $500,000 fine. 

Both Marcos and Khashoggi were acquitted In June of that year, but in the year before the trial, Khashoggi had spent three months in a Swiss jail. He was then extradited to the United States and was required to wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle for several months while he awaited trial in New York City.  

In 2009, the New York Times reported that: 

“Mr. Khashoggi [And not for nothinghas been  linked to — but never convicted in — almost every major scandal of the late 20th century: Wedtech, B.C.C.I., the indictment of the Marcoses in the Philippines, as well as Iran-Contra.”  

Khashoggi was not an American and he and his family were no doubt concerned that even though the case against him was weak, he might still be found guilty.  Khashoggi, or perhaps someone in his inner circle may have wanted some leverage with the authorities in the event of a guilty verdict.  

The Khashoggi operation certainly had experience in surreptitious stolen art logistics. An Australian TV program claimed that “dozens of Marcos paintings had been flown out of the US on a private plane; 38 others had been shipped from Hawaii. Acting on a request from The Philippines’ Presidential Commission on Good Government, French police raided two of Khashoggi’s apartments and found paperwork confirming that many of the masterpieces were now in his hands.” 

The September 1989 issue of Vanity Fair reported that “In addition, more than thirty paintings, valued at $200 million, that Imelda Marcos had allegedly purloined from the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, including works by Rubens, El Greco, Picasso, and Degas, were being stored by Khashoggi for the Marcoses, but it turned out that the pictures had been sold to Khashoggi as part of a cover-up.

The art treasures were first hidden on his yacht and then moved to his penthouse in Cannes. The penthouse was raided by the French police in a search for the pictures in April 1987, but it is believed that Khashoggi had been tipped off. He turned over nine of the paintings to the police, claiming to have sold the others to a Panamanian company.”

“French police turned over nine valuable paintings to United States Attorney General  Edwin Meese III at the U.S. Embassy in Paris on January 6, 1988.”

So in the Spring of 1990 Darryl Nitke had one former roommate with a background in robbery who was potentially facing a life sentence, and another former roommate who potentially had at his disposal the logistical ways and means to whisk the paintings around,  and whose father was potentially also facing a long prison term.  

These two associates both with a powerful potential need for leverage with the United States criminal justice system, at the same time, could have combined in a way that led to the museum having their paintings stolen and transported to a secure location. The haul may have been a hoped for sufficient quantity of priceless art paintings to leverage the sentence of one or both individuals, as needed.  As it turned out Khashoggi was acquitted on July 2, 1990 and thus had no need for a get out of jail free card. 

In addition to the most valuable paining taken, the Vermeer, the thieves also stole not just one Rembrandt, like Myles Connor, but three Rembrandts (one an etching), plus another painting by Govert Flinck, that might well be re-attributed to Rembrandt if it were in the possession of the museum and could be re-evaluated using the latest technolgoy, which the thieves may have believed was a Rembrandt. “Another large Rembrandt painted on panel, a self-portrait of the young artist in a feathered cap, was torn from the wall but abandoned, apparently as too unwieldy.”    

A little over 27 years later, the Gardner Museum doubled the reward for their stolen paintings to ten million dollars. And it was only two weeks later that Adnan Khashoggi died, not unexpectedly, at the age 81 in London, after a long illness, Parkinson’s disease, suggesting a possible belief on the part of investigator's of Khashoggi's inolvement. 

The way the crime was executed perhaps shows elements of a background in spy craft, like Rod Ramsay had.  The robbers took their time entering the building as well as leaving once they were done taking paintings from the galleries.  One eyewitness said she and her boyfriend were on the street for 10 to 15 minutes, maybe more, and they never saw the robbers get out of their parked car.  In Master Thieves, Kurkjian estimates the two were parked outside of the Museum for about 40 minutes.  A timeline for the Boston Globe shows that the visitors did not attempt to make their exit out of the museum until 13 minutes after they left the galleries, where they had already spent a mind boggling and unprecedented amount of time. One thief was in the Dutch Room 40 minutes and another one was in that same gallery for over ten minutes in total.

In contrast with traditional robbers, spies often rely upon elaborate and time consuming countermeasures when picking up or dropping off incriminating documents, as a means of  minimizing the risk of getting caught. This unique aspect of the crime's possibly points to a culprit with a background in espionage.  

Another possibility, that the government would have to consider, for any Gardner Heist suspect who had been involved with espionage, at that time, would be that the paintings were taken with the assistance of members of a hostile intelligence service. One of these groups may be willing to help a Ramsay get his freedom, but in exchange for some information he already had or they believed he had the means of acquiring somehow at some point down the road.  

That possibility at the very least would serve as one more giant roadblock for a known spy to be able to exchange the Gardner art for dropped charges or a sentence reduction, unlike a street criminal such as Myles Connor. It is doubtful a spy would ever be able to make a deal for stolen art, but someone facing a potential life sentence, as Ramsa was, might be desperate enough to try it.   


One question, when considering Ramsay’s possible involvement is opportunity.  Ramsay was in Tampa, presumably under the watchful eye of the FBI.  He was to a key witness (in absentia) in what was being called “the trial of the century” in Germany too. The trial began in January, but Ramsay's second hand testimony was relayed in court until the first week of May, 1990.  The defendant in the German spy trial was a retired American Army Segeant, Clyde Lee Conrad, who was being tried for “high treason.” Conrad was “arguably the worst traitor in the more than two hundred year history of the U.S. Army," according to retired Colonel Stuart A. Herrington, author of Traitors Among Us about Conrad and other American Cold War spies who had betrayed their country. 

FBI Agent Joe Navarro testified to what Ramsay had told him, which is permitted in the  German court system.   After a trial lasting over five months, Conrad was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for “high treason” on June 6, 1990. The next day, Rod Ramsay was arrested on a Tampa, FL street by the FBI.  

Navarro has talked and written extensively about his experience as Rod Ramsay's "handler," has been asked directly about the possibility of Ramsay's involvement in the Gardner Heist and to date has not offered a firm alibi for Ramsay. Although Ramsay was under surveillance at that time, there is no record or discussion of any travel restrictions having been placed on Ramsay. 

In the early morning hours of August 28, 2014, Stephen Kurkjian sent Joe Navarro an email asking him if he  “had ever run across any Gardner connection with Ramsay. “

Navarro replied:  “Stephen, interesting story. For nearly 6 months, including the period you indicate, Ramsay was under surveillance and or meeting with me almost twice a week but at least once a week and at the time; also, sources close to his employer (cab company) showed him going to work every day. HIs phones were being monitored so I don't know how it would be possible. Do you have pictures of the bad guys.? I wish I could be of more help. J”

In a book published in 2017, which Navarro wrote with Howard Means called Three Minutes to Doomsday  Navarro recounts the former FBI agent's relationship with Ramsay.  In one of the last chapters of the book, there is a power struggle between Navarro and the FBI’s Washington Field Office over which FBI regional office will control the Ramsay investigation. In that exchange Navarro says they lost Ramsay on surveillance just one time for twenty hours. 

But describing that same meeting he also claims to have said: “Have any of you here ever tried to do surveillance in an airport taxi queue?” to the Washington bureaucrats trying to discredit the investigation of Ramsay over a surveillance of slip up.  

Somehow Navarro and his crew managed to perform surveillance on Ramsay in an airport taxi queue without drawing attention to their actions, which calls into quesion the extent of the surveillance.  Ramsay’s fellow cab drivers at the Orlando airport did not notice anything unusual about him, the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time of his arrest, in an article that included quotes from a half dozen cab drivers:

“Cab drivers Gary Sorem and Karen Bailey thought of Ramsay as their friend. ‘He treated us real fine,'' Sorem said. ‘He was a real intelligent man. Just in general, a nice guy. I thought he did well driving a cab.’ Bailey, who rented a room to Ramsay in her Orlando home, described him as a ‘regular person leading a regular life, as far as we knew.’''  

In 1990 Ramsay would have had access to hundreds of pay phone within the Orlando airport.  A kiss-off personal reference from the operators of a cab company (he showed up to work everyday) would be unnecessary if he was under close supervision by the FBI. In an case Ramsay was not an employee, he was an independent contractor.  The book says Ramsay paid a rental fee on his cab. 

What if Ramsay had left his own car in front of his residence and sneaked out the back for a few days or week, would the FBI have knocked down his door? If there were any restrictions on Ramsay’s movement they are never mentioned in the book. In a Boston Globe story less than two months after the Heist and one month before Ramsay's arrest on espionage charges, the Boston Globe reported on its front page: "Law enforcement sources said that the suspects' movements are under close scrutiny by federal agents, including one suspect who was under surveillance during a recent arrival at Logan Airport." 

Ramsay would probably want to cooperate with investigators to avoid being incarcerated  during Conrad's trial. But whatever limitations were put on Ramsay's movement if any, they were never mentioned in Navarro's book.  A trip to Boston, if it were known about, would not prove he was guilty and someone trying to negotiate the paintings for a reduced prison sentence, might not care, if being in Boston at the time of the Heist was more likely to make him a suspect, if he were involved. It is unrealistic to to try negotiate a sentence reduction for yourself or a close associate without keeping your identity unknown to authorities.  

Navarro writes in his book that:

“Back in November [1989] when he blew through the Tampa office, [FBI] Director [William S.] Sessions tasked me with proving round the clock surveillance on Rod, one more load on my plate but a reasonable request.”

Navarro describes how the round the clock surveillance had put a strain on the Tampa field office, especially since agents were expected to pay their own expenses and then apply for reimbursement. The system was starting to break down, possibly about the time of the Gardner Heist it seems from the book, Agents had maxed out their credit cards, and so the government came through with an upfront payment plan for the surveillance detail after that.   

Asking Joe Navarro about a “Ramsay connection,” means asking the person who was directly responsible for making sure something like this did not happen, if it had happened.

Seven months after Kurkjian asked Navarro about Ramsay, at a time when no work had yet begun on the book according to its uncredited co-author, Howard Means, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures sent out a press release that the company had bought the movie rights  to Navarro’s book, Three Minutes to Doomsday about his relationship with Rod Ramsay, which began on August 23, 1988 and ended a short time after June 7, 1990, the time when Navarro was involved with the investigation of the former Army sergeant for espionage in Germany in 1983-85, and in Boston in 1986. 
Nine of the first 15 chapters in Three Minutes to Doomsday begin with a date. It is very much a first person account. It is practically diary style at the start.

Ironically, however, Chapter 15, called “First Date” starts with: “February 12, 1990,” and after that chapter none of the remaining chapters begin with a date. Dates nearly vanish from the book. There is no reference to anything, explicitly or inferred for the month of March 1990, in the book, and only one indirect reference to an event taking place in the month of April, a bit of office dialogue not involving Ramsay about a scheduled court appearance for "next month," concerning an event that took place in May.    

The chapter “First Date” starts with Navarro describing his meeting with a new colleague Marc Reeser in December of 1989, and then another meeting they had in 1990.

Does February 12, 1990 signify that the meeting with Ramsay, which takes up the bulk of the chapter, occurred on that February 12.  Probably, but it is less than certain.  

The four subsequent meetings mentioned in the book prior to his June 7th arrest could have plausibly spilled into March or even April, and up to very early May.  Aside from the February 12th [?] meeting in Chapter 15, the only time Rod is pinpointed (by his absence) to a specific time and place is in early May of 1990, when he is lost by the  surveillance team tracking him at the Orlando airport and he goes missing for twenty hours.   

Navarro’s book also describes how the knowledge that Ramsay had not as yet been arrested was controversial in Germany. It was even an issue in the trial, raised by the defense, something the author Joe Navarro himself found completely understandable in the way that he describes it during cross examination.   

From Navarro's book:

“[Clyde Conrad’s] Defense counsel also wanted to know if the government has made promises to Ramsay, if he’s received Miranda warnings, if Ramsay is being paid, if he’s worked a deal with the prosecutors, and most unnerving and this is when all of the reporters, even the Russian ones break out their pens and start writing furiously – why is Ramsay not under arrest? …

“What can I say?”, Navarro writes, “That spineless bureaucrats fretting over their careers have refused to act? That Ramsay’s arrest is hung up in a pissing match between Tampa, the Washington Field Office, and FBIHQ?”

After Rod Ramsay's arrest on espionage charges, the Associated Press reported: "FBI agents would not discuss why they investigated Ramsay and kept him under surveillance for two years before making an arrest, but Navarro said agents hoped his cooperation would lead to other suspects."

Does Three Minutes To Doomsday Give Rod Ramsay an alibi?

Three Minutes To Doomsday does not, in my view, give Rod Ramsay a definitive alibi for the Gardner Heist, but the book does provide information that makes is seem like it would be unlikely Ramsay could get out of Florida for a few days without causing a stir.

Since he had been asked by a well respected, Pulitzer Prize winning  journalist about Ramsay’s possible involvement in the biggest property crime in the 20th century under his watch, long before the book came out or was even written, Navarro at that point had an opportunity  to set the record straight directly at that time, and then again with the publication of his book. That is two occasions. The fact that he did not and has not suggests to me that he cannot, and so he does not.    

Navarro can be quite unequivocal, concerning things for which he has little direct knowledge.  For example, in his condemnation of others in the federal criminal justice systems for failing to lock up Ramsay sooner (“spineless bureaucrats fretting over their careers”), a harsh public judgement, over an issue with national security considerations, which he may well not have been informed about.  

"Control of a high-profile case is an art form," Judge Kenneth Burr, a former prosecutor and judge on the Alameda County Superior Court bench said in 2004. "Like any art form, you don't see the people skills and decisiveness behind it.”

In the case of the Clyde Lee Conrad, the U.S. was trying to control as much as they could of what was being dubbed in Germany “the trial of the century," as well as requesting and hoping for an unprecedented, for Germany, life sentence.

Conrad was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on June 6, 1990. Ramsay was arrested the following day. 

But the takeaway is clear enough in Three Minutes To Doomsday: It is not Agent Joe Navarro’s fault if Ramsay was not already under arrest by the time he testified in Germany that May of 1990, and perhaps even up to two months earlier at the time of the Gardner Heist or longer back to 1989 when he had incriminated himself and had already been implicated by three members of Conrad’s spy ring.  It was a calculated risk to wait until after the Conrad verdict and sentencing before arresting Ramsay, seemingly a justifiable one, though maybe not in hindsight. 

It would also have been risky to arrest Ramsay prior to Conrad’s conviction. He might panic once he had a taste of incarceration, try to recant his testimony, get a lawyer finally, or make some other desperate move that could derail, or discredit the investigation of Conrad. 

Clearly Conrad was the priority target. Conrad was the ringleader. He recruited Ramsay and garnered millions of dollars from his espionage activities. The judge at his trial called him "the worst traitor since the end of World War 2."

In the Spring of 1990 M.C. Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This” was climbing the charts. Through what Americans would consider a quirk in German extradition laws, the United States could not touch Clyde Lee Conrad, at least not without the help of Germany. And   there would be other Clyde Lee Conrads if the U.S. and Germany did not quickly and forcefully demonstrate their ability to bring Americans stationed, and formerly stationed in Germany to justice, who engage in espionage activities. 

 If the people of Germany could not understand why Ramsay was still free, and if Ramsay’s FBI handler Joe Navarro says he could not understand it, although at no point in the book does he describe advocating for Ramsay’s arrest any earlier, then it might well be difficult for the American public to understand why Ramsay was still out free if he were indeed involved with some other serious crime, like the Gardner Heist during that time. 

The government was also depending on Ramsay's cooperation against two other spies, whom he himself had recruited, Jeffrey Rondeau and Jeffrey Gregory and possibly more since those investigations were not in their final stages. 

So while Rod Ramsay and his associates were quite possibly not involved in any way whatsoever in the Gardner Heist, in the case of Rod Ramsay, we see an individual who if he had been involved,  would not be able to make a deal for the paintings and whose identity would not be made known to the public, possibly. 

by Kerry Joyce

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