Moments in Time

December 1976

The Falcon and The Snowman

Childhood friends, Christopher Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee, were arrested and convicted of espionage. Lee, a drug trafficker, earned the 'The Snowman' nickname, and Boyce, 'The Falcon' due to his interest in falconry.

Boyce, also a code clerk with the US defense contractor TRW, began stealing classified documents detailing how to decrypt secure US government message traffic and detailed specifications of the latest US spy satellites with the intention of delivering them to agents of the Soviet Union.

Lee travelled to Mexico City with Boyce's documents and used the trips as an opportunity to engage in drug deals when not working on espionage. In December 1976, Lee was arrested by Mexican police in front of the Soviet Embassy on the misplaced suspicion of having killed a Mexico City police officer. In his possession was top secret microfilm and he confessed to espionage and implicated Boyce.

Boyce was convicted and received forty years; Lee was convicted of espionage and received a life sentence - a longer sentence due to drug trafficking and a previous record. On 21 January 1980, Boyce escaped from prison. While a fugitive, he carried out 17 bank robberies in Idaho and Washington state and was re-arrested and sentenced to an additional three years for his escape and 25 years for bank robbery, conspiracy, and breaking federal gun laws.

Lee was released on parole in 1998 and Boyce was released from prison on parole on 16 September 2002, after serving a little over 25 years.

Lee was portrayed by actor Sean Penn in director John Schlesinger's 1985 movie The Falcon and the Snowman, based on the book of the same name by Robert Lindsey. Boyce was played in the film by actor Timothy Hutton.





Previous 'Moments in Time'

Mathias Rust
Death of Diana
Resignation of George Tenet
Flight 77 The Pentagon Crash
The Assassination of CIA Man Richard Welch
The Yeti Conspiracy and the CIA
Checkpoint Charlie's Bay of Pig's
George Blake Escapes from Prison