Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr
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Yale University Press
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Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona messages—documents of unparalleled importance for our understanding of the history and politics of the Stalin era and the early Cold War years.

Hidden away in a former girls’ school in the late 1940s, Venona Project cryptanalysts, linguists, and mathematicians attempted to decode more than twenty-five thousand intercepted Soviet intelligence telegrams. When they cracked the unbreakable Soviet code, a breakthrough leading eventually to the decryption of nearly three thousand of the messages, analysts uncovered information of powerful significance: the first indication of Julius Rosenberg’s espionage efforts; references to the espionage activities of Alger Hiss; startling proof of Soviet infiltration of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb; evidence that spies had reached the highest levels of the U.S. State and Treasury Departments; indications that more than three hundred Americans had assisted in the Soviet theft of American industrial, scientific, military, and diplomatic secrets; and confirmation that the Communist party of the United States was consciously and willingly involved in Soviet espionage against America. Drawing not only on the Venona papers but also on newly opened Russian and U. S. archives, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr provide in this book the clearest, most rigorously documented analysis ever written on Soviet espionage and the Americans who abetted it in the early Cold War years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300084627
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2000
Pages: 504
Sales rank: 533,073
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

A Note about Transcription of the Documentsix
Introduction: The Road to Venona1
1Venona and the Cold War8
2Breaking the Code23
3The American Communist Party Underground57
4The Golos-Bentley Network93
5Friends in High Places116
6Military Espionage164
7Spies in the U.S. Government191
9Hunting Stalin's Enemies on American Soil250
10Industrial and Atomic Espionage287
11Soviet Espionage and American History331
Appendix ASource Venona: Americans and U.S. Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies339
Appendix BAmericans and U.S. Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies but Were Not Identified in the Venona Cables371
Appendix CForeigners Temporarily in the United States Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies383
Appendix DAmericans and U.S. Residents Targeted as Potential Sources by Soviet Intelligence Agencies387
Appendix EBiographical Sketches of Leading KGB Officers Involved in Soviet Espionage in the United States391

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Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fascinating in concept, and a good read for those who had thought that the whole McCarthy Commie scare in the 50's with the Hollywood blacklist, and State Department purges was all the product of stupid scared drunks who saw Reds under every bed. Let's start with this one: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg - persecuted innocents or Soviet Spies? Answer - not just a little guilty -very guilty. The US government cracked Soviet codes (The Venona project the book is about) and discovered a whole lot of spyin' goin' on, but couldn't disclose how they had found this out as they couldn't compromise the program. Unfortunately, while the facts presented are fascinating and scary (There WERE Commies under a lot of beds), the book seems to devolve into lists of names and accounts of minor players. It gets to be wearying reading after 100 pages or so. Still, it's worthwhile as it explains both a lot of otherwise mysterious U.S. Government actions, reveals that a good dose of paranoia was actually a wise thing, and reminds the reader that there is still (no doubt) an active attack -seriously folks- on the democratic governments of the West. If you're sneering at that last sentence... you should absolutely read this book. You might be surprised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a student of 'contemporay American history,' I found the book both interesting and informative reading. The basic premise is that during World War II, our government was reading Soviet diplomatic cables which contained much information documenting Russian spy agents, operations, etc. What is interesting to note is that the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy is vindicated by this book. Even though he was a demogue, the accusations that he made were, in fact, truthful. The next item in line with this is how did McCarthy gain his information and why was he ostracised as he was if all of this was true? Indeed, the NSA claims that they couldn't reveal what they had learned because of 'national security.' Read this book and you will change mind about American history. You will begin to see our govenment at work behind the scenes.
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