WASHINGTON – Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers were the kind of spies any intelligence service would want. They did it for love of country, not for money.

According to federal prosecutors, the two stole U.S. secrets and gave them to Cuba for nearly 30 years because of a shared communist ideology and an adoration of the Cuban revolution.

Now, Kendall Myers, a retired State Department worker, faces life in prison and his wife faces at least six years behind bars, the outcome of a plea deal driven by the government’s need to find out all of the secrets the two stole.

Pursuing the same criminal charges through a contested trial risked further significant harm to the national security, prosecutors said. The government has not revealed the secrets the two took.

Myers was contacted by the Cuban intelligence service to be a covert agent, and he recruited Gwendolyn in 1979, prosecutors said. The couple married three years later. He was Agent 202, his wife Agent E-634.

In 1978, Myers began teaching at the Foreign Service Institute within the State Department and eventually served as director of European studies. He retired in 2007.

An FBI sting snagged the couple. A bureau operative approached Myers on the street on the defendant’s birthday, April 15, gave him a cigar, said he knew his Cuban handler and asked that they meet later, according to court papers. The Myerses met three times with the operative at Washington hotels, caught on videotape making incriminating statements.

Prosecutors want Myers, 73, to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and Gwendolyn Myers, 72, to 7 1/2 years.

As for telling the FBI what they did, the government says the picture is mixed. There were times when Kendall Myers, in particular, gave inconsistent or uncooperative responses or was intentionally withholding information, the government said in court papers. Prosecutors are “certainly troubled” by that assessment, but the government has received all of the value it believes it is going to derive from the debriefing process, the court papers concluded.

The couple agreed to forfeit $1.7 million to the government, the amount Kendall Myers defrauded the government out of by receiving a federal salary when he actually was working for the Cuban government.