WASHINGTON (Jun. 13)
President Carter today rejected the charge by Soviet authorities that Moscow Jewish activist Anatoly Sharansky, who has been charged with treason, worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The President said he had “double checked” with both the CIA and the State Department and was told that Sharansky had no connections with the American government.
Carter made his statements at a press conference this afternoon when he was asked if he had plans to meet Sharansky’s wife, Natalya, who is in Washington to seek help in obtaining her husband’s freedom. Mrs. Sharansky, who lives in Israel, said yesterday she hoped to see the President but Carter said today he has no plans to meet her.
However, he noted that he asked the CIA and the State Department to check the Soviet allegations against Sharansky. He said he had been hesitant about making any public statements but now was assured that Sharansky never worked for the CIA.
The State Department said on June 2 it was “deeply concerned” about the treason charge against Sharansky which had been reported from Moscow a day earlier. Sharansky has been held in a Moscow prison since his arrest March 15 while talking to two American correspondents. The 29-year-old computer specialist is a member of a group monitoring the Soviet compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki accord and frequently briefed Western correspondents because of his fluency in English. He and fellow Jewish activist Vladimir Slepak were accused in an Izvestia article early this year of working for the CIA.