Earl Edwin Pitts (born September 23, 1953) is a former FBI special agent who, in 1996, was arrested at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Pitts was charged with several offenses, including spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. In February 1997, he pled guilty to conspiring and attempting to commit espionage in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.
On June 27, 1997, Earl Pitts was sentenced by a federal judge to 27 years in prison for spying for Moscow both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Prosecutors had requested only 24½ years. A former FBI agent, Pitts had been charged with selling U.S. intelligence secrets to the Russians for payments in excess of $224,000 from 1987 to 1992. The FBI gained knowledge of Pitts as a Soviet spy through the use of human intelligence. (His KGB handler, Alexsandr Karpov, later defected to the United States and named Pitts as a Soviet mole in the FBI during his debriefings.) Pitts was snared in a 16-month FBI sting that ended with his arrest while he was stationed at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI caught Pitts by convincing him that the Russian government wanted to reactivate him as a spy. Pitts offered his services to the Soviets in 1987 while he was assigned to the FBI's New York office where he was assigned to hunt and recruit KGB officers.
While working in the FBI New York office, Pitts had access to "a wide range of sensitive and highly classified operations" that included "recruitment operations involving Russian intelligence officers, double agent operations, operations targeting Russian intelligence officers, true identities of human assets, operations against Russian illegals, defector sources, surveillance schedules of known meet sites, internal policies, documents, and procedures concerning surveillance of Russian intelligence officers, and the identification, targeting, and reporting on known and suspected KGB intelligence officers in the New York area."