While police are preparing to deport former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent Bob Marshall, who was arrested in January 2008 in Bogor, his motives for entering Indonesia remain a mystery.
The Indonesian police said last week that Marshall, 61, was wanted by the US spy organization for a number of violations and being a renegade agent for a number of years.
However, observers here have alleged that Marshall’s arrest has highlighted intensive CIA operations in Indonesia.
“It’s no secret that many CIA agents operate here. Of course, they have their own mission as Indonesia is an important country for the US,” intelligence expert from the Indonesian Institute of Science, Ikrar Nusa Bhakti said here Sunday.
The police have refused to reveal why the US citizen entered the country, saying only that it had received a request to arrest Marshall from the US government for his alleged involvement in illegal arms trade in several countries, including in his home country.
National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi said Friday the deportation of Bob Marshall was being processed by the National Central Bureau Interpol Indonesia upon request from the US.
Bogor immigration officials arrested Marshall in January 2008 as he was applying for a passport.
Marshall told the officials that he was an Indonesian citizen, but as he could not speak Indonesian, the officials were suspicious, and subsequently found his document to be fake.
He was charged for illegal entry and staying in the country without proper documentation.
The US national was charged under the 1992 Immigration Law for staying in the country illegally and not holding a valid passport, which carries a combined punishment of six years in jail.
Ito said that Marshall had entered Indonesia through Batam in December 2007, along with seven illegal migrants by boat from Johor in Malaysia, and held 40 passports.
The Bogor District Court subsequently gave him a two-year jail term.
Marshall has reportedly been a US fugitive since 1974.
Until 2004, US officials said that he had committed various crimes, including fraud, theft and illegal use of weapons.
In 1978 he managed to flee a prison in the US after being arrested a year earlier.
In 1984, the London police were searching for him over the illegal use of guns and ammunition. He returned to the US in 1992, but was again wanted for faking passports and checks.
From then on, Marshall traveled to a number of countries to avoid arrests using different passports before entering Indonesia in December 2007.
The Bogor Immigration Office said that he arrived in Batam in Riau Islands from Johor, Malaysia together with seven others illegal immigrants after evading the Indonesian police’s patrol.
The CIA’s presence in Indonesia’s politics has long been speculated about, stirred recently by the publication of Tim Weiner’s book The Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, which claims Indonesia’s former vice president Adam Malik was a US spy.
The Pulitzer-winning book also alleged that Adam received US$10,000 from the CIA to overthrow former president Sukarno.
Weiner, a New York Times journalist, quoted former CIA agent Clyde McAvoy in his book as saying, “Adam Malik was a CIA agent in 1964”.
The book, recently published in Indonesian, said Adam used the money to spearhead a movement aimed at cleansing communists following their abortive coup attempt on Sept. 30, 1965.
Many people here immediately blasted the book as a foreign conspiracy to destabilize Indonesia. The Attorney General’s Office is looking at having the book banned.