Thief Arrested for Stealing His Grandfather’s Documents from from the U.S. Navy’s Archive in Washington, D.C.

Samuel L. Morison was charged this week with stealing documents from the U.S. Navy’s archive in Washington He reportedly stole three boxes of files used by his grandfather, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Samuel Eliot Morison.

Federal agents recovered some of the Navy’s stolen documents during a raid of Morison’s house in May, according to charging documents. They found others through a bookseller who had bought them from Morison, authorities said. An investigation is still underway to determine how the documents were smuggled out.

The theft and Morison’s arrest have been reported in numerous news publications. You can find many stories by starting at

In 1985, Morison gave a British military publication, Jane’s Defence Weekly, classified pictures of Soviet military assets. Convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, he was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Details of that incident may be found at


Donald R. Hoff (Huff) June 15, 2014 at 6:48 am

Important as this story is, you jumped the gun on convicting and labeling this man. Headline says he is a “Thief ” who was arrested, and continues along in the manner which assumes he was convicted, and now all that is necessary is to have a trial. Referring to the conviction in 1985 may appear to be justified, but is legally questionable as in “he did it once, there he did it again!” I am pleased that you report such serious news, as we can not allow our priceless public treasures to be free for the harvest for criminals.


Donald R. Hoff (Huff) June 16, 2014 at 7:30 am

Nate, thank you for the update and clarification.


If he was pardoned there must have been a reason. And if he has stolen now there must be a reason for that too. And I don’t think Morrison is going to jail, he will probably get a good defence attorney to appear for him and will get off serious punishment.


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