The following ought to be of interest to any security-minded archivist:
- This isn't Morison's first brush with the law: in the mid-1980s, he gave three classified spy satellite photographs to a British magazine and was subsequently convicted of violating the Espionage Act. He was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001, but by that time his career was in tatters.
- Relatives indicate that Samuel Loring Morison "revered his grandfather" but also has some longstanding shortcomings of character. One cousin told the Washington Post that "I just think he’s always had a slight bent toward doing things that are not quite on the level . . . . He’s one of those people that never seems to have enough money.”
- Morison offered some of the items he stole to a Maryland book dealer, but he also arranged with the bookseller to to sell the purloined materials on eBay.
I am by no means blaming front-line staff -- one of whom noticed that some Samuel Eliot Morison materials were missing and set in motion the investigation that ultimately led to the arrest of Samuel Loring Morrison -- for what happened. Morison, who has evidently signed a statement admitting his misdeeds, is responsible for his own actions. However, the command-level officials who allowed the Navy Archives to fall into such a state made it easy for Morison to succumb to temptation. If you fail to staff a facility adequately, go out of your way to discourage and demoralize the few people you do have on your payroll, and treat your security program as an afterthought, you might as well hang a big "TAKE OUR STUFF!" sign over the front door.
As noted above, the criminal complaint against Samuel Loring Morison remains sealed as of this date. However, the document outlining the conditions of his pretrial release is publicly accessible, and you'll find it below. You'll be pleased to note that two of the conditions are: "no access to any library or archives without prior approval of [the U.S. Office of Probation and Pretrial Services]" and "no offer for sale or sale of any personal property, including papers."