A top CIA spy killed himself in front of his wife, whom he wanted to take to the “afterlife” — and she later discovered a massive stash of bondage and S&M gear, as well as hundreds of sex toys, guns and ammo in their home.
Anthony Schinella, 52, the national intelligence officer for military issues, shot himself in the head outside his Arlington home on June 14, but US intelligence officials have remained mum about his suicide as the CIA conducted a probe, The Intercept reported.
“My husband was planning on murdering me. He had talked about taking me to the afterlife before,” Washington, DC-based journalist Sara Corcoran, 46 – who had only recently married Schinella – told The Sun.
“We would often watch documentaries on Egypt, Valley of the Kings, pharaohs. He had a love of Egypt, he spent a great deal of time in the Middle East, he spent several years living in Bahrain,” she told the outlet.
Corcoran told The Sun she believes her late husband – who was just weeks away from retirement after a 30-year career in the CIA – had been suffering from stress after being involved in four wars.
Corcoran said she believes her husband had been planning to blow up their home.
“I went back in the house a few days later to see what he was doing with the stove. He was dismantling it, he only had to let gas run for about half-hour, 45 minutes, light a match, the whole house would have blown up,” she told The Sun.
Right before Schinella shot himself, the couple had been caring for their newly adopted kitten and she offered to spend the night in the basement with their pet to allow him to get some peace and quiet, the outlet reported.
Schinella prepared for bed by placing a number of odd items on his bedside table, including Chinese Zodiac cards, handcuffs and a collection of his wife’s love letters to him, according to The Sun.
“To have those three things together, you’re only going to sit there and kind of go through all of the notes I’ve ever written to you if you’re getting ready to leave this world,” said Corcoran, adding that she began to panic after he drank a cup and a half of vodka.
“He pulled out a Glock and threatened to kill himself for two hours,” she told the outlet.
“I was trying to talk him out of it. It was a traumatic ordeal. I was only fearful he was going to kill me when he started asking me about my grandfather,” she added, referring to Thomas G. Corcoran, an adviser in President Roosevelt’s brain trust known as Tommy the Cork.
She said Schinella asked her whom she loved more and who was a better man.
“I didn’t call 911 at first because I was afraid he would shoot himself and me,” Corcoran told The Sun, adding that she ran out of the house with the kitten while he fiddled with the stove.
“I ran out with no shoes on, I was absolutely terrified,” she recalled. “And I’m trying to start the car but I pressed the accelerator versus the brake so the car didn’t start right away.
“So he comes out, he’s pulling on the car handle yelling. He is frantic. He tried to smash the back window, which I’d heard is the weaker spot. He had a gun and could have shot me in the back of the head,” Corcoran continued.
But as she pulled out in reverse, Schinella yelled her name and shot himself in the head.
“I’ve never heard a gunshot that loud before, I’m going to need therapy for the rest of my life,” Corcoran added. “He was so upset that I’d escaped. I put the car in park, screaming, I knocked on the neighbors’ door and called 911. He was pronounced dead on the scene.”
Asked if she knew her husband had been struggling with mental health issues, she said: “I would say, maybe he was sad about leaving the agency.
“Somebody [else] would say, ‘Wait, he was so happy, he was going to do his own consulting business, join the board of a private equity firm, and be head of research British think tank IISS… I don’t know,” Corcoran told The Sun.
“I let my husband have so much privacy as he worked at the CIA, I didn’t know anything, I didn’t even know about the bondage,” she added, referring to the sex items she found.
“I feel just traumatized, it’s been a little over two months. At first I had all these dreams of spies killing me for, for weeks on end, I’ve lost like 15 pounds. The stress is overwhelming,” she said.
After Schinella’s death, an FBI liaison to the CIA searched the couple’s home and removed his passports and phone, The Sun reported.
Schinella, the highest-ranking military affairs analyst in the US intelligence community, also was a member of the powerful National Intelligence Council, which produces reports that go to the president and other top officials, according to The Intercept.
His suicide came less than two weeks before The New York Times reported that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kills US troops in Afghanistan.
The National Intelligence Council — which is under the control of Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe – later drafted a memo saying the intelligence about the bounties was inconclusive.
In late June, Ratcliffe, CIA Director Gina Haspel and national security adviser Robert O’Brien denounced the leaks of the sensitive information to the media.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a senior official with the Kremlin, has called the allegations “100 percent bulls—.”
At the time that the memo became public, there was no mention that the CIA official, an expert on the Taliban and its military capabilities, had killed himself just days earlier, The Intercept reported.
Asked if she believes these issues could have contributed to her husband’s suicide, Corcoran told The Sun: “They could. It would give me a little sense of relief to know that there was some sort of trigger that drove him into this downward spiral, but I wish he’d have told me.”
She added that her “whole family felt a sense of betrayal that this guy who, again, we all thought was the most amazing, gentle guy, would actually be capable of such a violent act.
“If I hadn’t have escaped, which I wouldn’t have been able to if he wasn’t working on the stove, he would not have let me leave the house, that I know for sure,” she continued.
“I thank my lucky stars, a guardian angel must be looking out for me because I was able to get out of there. He said he’d left me everything, but he left me nothing, he just wasn’t planning on me living, he didn’t have a will,” she told the outlet.
“I do hope my husband is at peace. To have this amazing illustrious career of [almost] 30 years, to not think about your family, and end your career this way, to me that wasn’t the man I was married to, it really wasn’t.”
Tim Kilbourn, a friend and former colleague of Schinella, described him to The Intercept as an “American patriot,” and said his death was a “tragedy.”
Arlington County police spokesperson Ashley Savage said the department’s investigation into the suicide is ongoing, adding that police notified the CIA about the death.
“We will defer any questions related to the CIA investigation to their agency,” she told the outlet.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Post.
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