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    Michael Soussoudis, the Ghanaian spy who used love to turn a CIA agent into a double agent in 1985

    What was meant to be one of the biggest operations for America’s Central Intelligence Agency in Ghana turned out to be one of the most regrettable decisions for the United States of America.

    The year I985 which resonates clearly with Ghanaians and Americans who were around at the time saw the most unlikely romantic relationship between a CIA agent and a Ghanaian man who is alleged to have been a cousin to the late Jerry John Rawlings, the then military leader of Ghana.

    Sharon Scranage who was an intelligence officer with the CIA was transferred to the American Embassy in Ghana in the role of Operations Support Assistant.

    Sharon did her job diligently until she met the man who would later become her lover in 1983.

    Love swept Sharon off her feet when she met Michael Soussoudis who grew up in West Germany and had a permanent residency in the USA.

    Michael Soussoudis was alleged to be an intelligence officer with the Ghanaian Provisional National Defence Council military government that came to power after Jerry Rawlings overthrew the elected People’s National Party government in 1981.

    The Scranage-Soussoudis love story shook the cores of the relationship between Ghana and the United States of America in 1985 after the CIA realised its agent was passing information about the agency’s operations in Ghana to her lover.

    Despite warnings and cautions from her superior, Sharon continued her 18-month-long relationship with Michael.

    “Scranage said that she had told the CIA station chief in Ghana–whom she did not identify–that she was seeing Soussoudis but was instructed only ‘to be careful’.

    “In November 1983, she said, the station chief told her that Ghanaian officials had complained that someone who fit her description was holding ‘secret meetings’ with Ghanaian citizens. She was advised to ‘gradually break off’ with Soussoudis,” the Los Angeles Times reported on November 26, 1985.

    Sharon shared information about some eight Ghanaians who were disclosing information about Ghana to the CIA.

    Sharon Scranage further shared information about a planned coup d’état which was allegedly being sponsored by the CIA and led by one Godfrey Osei.

    Sharon Scranage was later transferred to the CIA headquarters in Washington where she failed a regular polygraph test.

    The embattled CIA agent admitted to divulging classified information about the eight Ghanaian informants of the CIA and a planned coup whose planners were awaiting ammunition from Libya.

    Sharon was later investigated by the FBI and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, had her sentence reduced to two years but served eight months as she was eligible for parole.

    Sharon also aided the FBI in arresting Michael Soussoudis by luring him to the Springfield Holiday Inn in Virginia.

    This was followed up with the foiling of the supposed coup and the arrest of the eight informants of the CIA by the Ghana government.

    The eight CIA informants were stripped of their Ghanaian citizenship and sentenced to 25 years or more.

    Michael Soussoudis was also sentenced to 20 years after he was charged with espionage in the US in November 1985.

    The Ghana government, however, later agreed to a prisoner swap for the deportation of Soussoudis from the US to Ghana as the CIA sought to transfer the eight informants.

    Michael Soussoudis returned to Accra in December 1985 while the eight CIA informants were transferred to Virginia with their families.

    Nothing has been heard about Sharon Scranage since then.

    Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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