One of the things I picked up about the time I learned that the Soviets and Nazis had proxy connections with the Islamic clerical leadership and ME region, was that the Islamic Jihad is using the propaganda apparatus left over from the Cold War. And probably a load of anti-semitism left over from the Nazi propaganda bureacracy. It just seemed like an obvious conclusion given the final ending of the Soviet union If Rome could leave Britain as a new seed of civilization, why couldn’t the Soviets leave the seed of their propaganda apparatus after the Soviet Union went kaput?
I am fully aware that the VENONA transcripts identified communist agents in the US government. Of course, there were also US agents in the Kremlin. But both sides occasionally found that having a spy in your midst presents an excellent opportunity to feed the other side bogus intelligence. I can’t speak authoritatively on this because I don’t know how many spies that were identified by VERONA VENONA were also working for the US or at least thought they were. But having a known foreign agent in your midst is not always a bad thing. Ideology as a motivating factor can only go so far if you are a spy – operatives can be flipped for something as crass as money, drugs, or sex. So the argument that the “liberals” in Washington didn’t want to get rid of them because they were soft on communism is a bit misleading.
That was from this post here. Link
Wouldn’t you have to be competent to be able to run counter-espionage in this fashion? It isn’t misleading, simply because there were no benefits that I can recall from disinformation given to the Soviets, probably because the amount of disinformation given was not high. And that was because a lot of high echelon positions weren’t feeding known spies disinformation, they were protecting them from exposure. In this light, it is related to McCarthy.
Venona had contributed to just one of these cases. Only a handful of American intelligence officials knew the truth behind the big spy cases of 1957: that US counterintelligence efforts against the Soviets, at least in the United States, had relied on volunteers since the Venona program peaked. This was not for want of trying. NSA had pored over the Soviet traffic and had kept its shrinking Venona team looking for additional leads. The FBI had penetrated the CPUSA and searched for illegals–but still did not catch Rudolf Abel for almost a decade. CIA divisions created clever but only marginally effective programs designed to establish coverage of Soviet installations abroad, to induce Soviet intelligence officers to defect (the REDCAP program), and to monitor the mail of Soviet illegals in America (HTLINGUAL). Despite all these efforts, the Intelligence Community’s most important counterintelligence leads in the late 1950s came from volunteers–both walk-ins like Hayhanen and KGB Maj. Peter S. Deriabin, as well as agents-in-place like Popov and Polish intelligence officer Michal Goleniewski.(71) American counterintelligence was once again, as it had before Venona, left to rely on voluntary sources.
Venona, according to US policy at the time, could only be shared with a small, witting cadre of senior American intelligence officers. The tiny fraction of Soviet messages that were read convinced the CIA and FBI that Soviet espionage, at least in the 1940s, was aggressive, capable, and far-reaching–and that at least some wartime spies and agents of influence remained unidentified. Nothing that the West learned in subsequent years suggested that Soviet intelligence had grown any less capable or aggressive. Senior American intelligence officers also knew how poorly American intelligence had fared in its efforts to recruit agents to report on Soviet intelligence operations in the United States. Direct approaches to Soviet officers and illegals in the early Cold War usually failed, and by the 1960s American intelligence was relying on voluntary defectors such as Anatoli Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko, and defectors-in-place such as Aleksi I. Kulak and Dmitri F. Polyakov, for relatively recent information about Soviet intelligence services. The leads they provided were often valuable but sometimes troubling for Western counterintelligence officers. Remembering how many clues to Soviet penetrations had accumulated in the files before Venona finally provided incontrovertible evidence of espionage against the West, molehunters in the CIA and FBI privately resolved to leave no defector’s tip uninvestigated.
Only a short step led from this conclusion to a new concern among some, particularly in the CIA, that the Soviets might try to stage such defections to feed misinformation to American and Western intelligence services. While this possibility is now considered to have been remote, it could not be resolved beyond all doubt at the time. It was impossible to prove the negative and rule out the possible existence of Soviet misinformation operations designed to distract Western services from the most damaging penetrations in their midst. Even so, American counterintelligence services would spend much of the 1960s doing all they could to prove that negative, and to minimize the possibility of deception.
The extreme secrecy of the Venona information tended to ensure that any precautions would be viewed skeptically by some of the very intelligence personnel they were designed to protect. Only a handful of American intelligence officers had access to the Venona secret, and those who did not have such access had no way, in many cases, to judge the reliability of the evidence gathered against alleged Soviet agents in the 1940s. As a result, even seasoned intelligence professionals viewed the spy cases and internal security debates of the 1940s and early 1950s as McCarthyite hysteria. This attitude probably influenced some in the Intelligence Community as a whole to underestimate the Soviet espionage threat.
Elizabeth Bentley died in Connecticut in December 1963, long before the end of the Cold War she had helped to start. She never knew about the Venona secret, or about the way in which her testimony (among that of others) assisted the program. Before she died, she had been denounced as a traitor, a liar, and a criminal by everyone from her old comrades to a former President of the United States. The controversy over her testimony was only a skirmish in the national debate over the true extent of Soviet espionage, and over the federal government’s attempts to balance competing requirements of civil liberties and internal security. The declassification of Venona augments and clarifies the evidence in the public domain, and consequently should move the debate from the politics and personalities of those who testified in public to the capabilities and actions of political leaders and intelligence officers–both American and Soviet–who worked in many cases behind the scenes.
The US didn’t have much success at picking out spies and making them defect, to aid in counter-espionage. The Soviets were good at espionage and the US was good at signals analysis. Human agents vs cryptoanalysis. Makes sense, the Soviets after all had a totalitarian police state. you either got really good at dodging the informant cum friends around you or you got really dead.
I’m still trying to piece together what occured, from the sources at my disposal. I’m not quoting everything of note, because I’ve already spent an hour reading this material.
More leads dropped into the Bureau’s mailbox in August 1943, in the form of an anonymous letter drafted on a Russian typewriter and mailed in Washington, DC. This extraordinary note–the author’s identity still is uncertain–denounced Zarubin and 10 other KGB officers in North America, along with two of their assets.(30) Special Agents quickly concluded that the letter was genuine and largely accurate, although they gave little credence to its claim that the Soviets were passing secrets to Japan. The FBI subsequently increased surveillance of persons named in the letter and even doubled two agents recruited by one of them, KGB officer Andrei Shevchenko.(31) Nevertheless, the FBI did apparently not pass copies of the anonymous letter to other agencies until after World War II, nor did Special Agents try to recruit Soviet officers named by its author.
The actual letter in question is I believe this one. Part one and part two.
Q. Granted that congressional investigating committees can serve an important purpose, weren’t McCarthy’s methods terrible and didn’t he subject witnesses to awful harassment?
A. Now we’re into an entirely different phase of McCarthy’s career. For three years, he had been one lone senator crying in the wilderness. With the Republicans taking control of the Senate in January 1953, however, Joe McCarthy became chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee. No longer did he have to rely solely upon public speeches to inform the American people of the communist threat to America. He was now chairman of a Senate committee with a mandate to search out graft, incompetence, and disloyalty inside the vast reaches of the American government.
McCarthy’s methods were no different from those of other senators who were generally applauded for vigorous cross-examination of organized crime figures, for instance. The question of methods seemed to come up only when subversives or spies were on the witness stand. And those who most loudly deplored McCarthy’s methods often resorted to the foulest methods themselves, including the use of lies, half-truths, and innuendos designed to stir up hysteria against him. What some people seemingly do not understand is that communists are evildoers and that those who give aid and comfort to communists – whether they are called dupes, fellow travelers, liberals, or progressives – are complicit in the evil and should be exposed and removed from positions of influence.
Traitors and spies in high places are not easy to identify. They do not wear sweatshirts with the hammer and sickle emblazoned on the front. Only painstaking investigation and exhaustive questioning can reveal them as enemies. So why all the condemnation for those who expose spies and none for the spies themselves? Why didn’t McCarthy’s critics expose a traitor now and then and show everyone how much better they could do it? No, it was much easier to hound out of public life such determined enemies of the Reds as Martin Dies, Parnell Thomas, and Joe McCarthy than to muster the courage to face the howling communist wolfpack themselves.
Again, recent history bears that out. Remember Senate interrogations of various organizations and people. Condi Rice and the Supreme Court justice nominations, remember those. That was sourced from this piece on a sort of Q and A rebutal of anti-mccarthy sentiment.
This piece The Hidden Truth, also explores McCarthy’s time in detail.
For generations of American students, the name Joe McCarthy and not Joe Stalin has been synonymous with evil. A practitioner of “black arts,” a “demon,” “ogreish,” and a “seditionist” are a few of the descriptions of him handed down to us from his first major biographer. The passage of time hasn’t tempered these hysterical reactions.
The late senator, the story goes, created a climate of fear in the early 1950s by conducting a witchhunt that called liberals “Communists” and Communists “spies.” We now know better. The witches were real. Today, even many of McCarthy’s most extreme and ridiculed statements—alleging “a conspiracy on a scale so immense” or lambasting “twenty years of treason” in Democratic administrations—seem, if anything, to understate the pervasiveness of Communist infiltration of the U.S. government and the enormity of its damage.
Documents from the Soviet Union’s archives, USSR spy messages deciphered by the U.S. government’s Venona program, and declassified FBI files and wiretaps all prove that hundreds of U.S. officials were agents of an international Communist conspiracy. If these previously inaccessible documents shed light on only a few of McCarthy’s specific charges, they certainly vindicate his general charge that security in the U.S. government was lax and that large numbers of Communists penetratedpositions of great importance.
Alger Hiss, Roosevelt foreign policy advisor and first secretary general of the United Nations; Harry Dexter White, assistant secretary of the Treasury and Truman’s appointee as director of the International Monetary Fund; and Lauchlin Currie, administrative assistant to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, have all been confirmed, among hundreds of others, to have been agents of the USSR. In addition to the multitudes of executive branch agents, we also know of at least three Congressmen working clandestinely for the Soviet Union during this time period.
The muggy Washington summer of 1948 grew even hotter when news media reported that a “blonde spy queen” three years earlier had given federal investigators convincing evidence of widespread Soviet espionage in America during World War II. In a few days the world learned her name–Elizabeth Bentley–and heard her and another ex-Communist agent, Whittaker Chambers, repeat their charges before Congress. Republican congressmen and candidates cited the stories as further evidence of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations’ softness toward Communism and neglect of national security. Outraged officials both in and out of government, as well as Democrats fearing a campaign issue that would sink President Truman’s apparently foundering re-election chances, insisted that Bentley and Chambers were peddling hearsay and innuendo.
Almost lost in the furor was one isolated recollection of Bentley’s that ultimately would provide a clue to the truth behind the charges and denials. Bentley, according to press reports, had told a federal grand jury that an aide to President Roosevelt had learned during the war that American intelligence was on the verge of breaking “the Russian secret code.” The aide, said Bentley, had passed this nugget to his Soviet contact. (1) For almost 30 years this fragmentary anecdote remained virtually all that the public would hear about one of the Cold War’s greatest intelligence coups.
Bentley’s charges, and the debates they fueled, typified the American experience with intelligence and related “internal security” issues in the era of totalitarianism and total war. For roughly 60 years the Western democracies struggled to preserve civil liberties and due process while ascertaining the extent of clandestine penetrations by the intelligence services of fascist and Communist regimes. At midcentury the Soviet Union’s main strength was “human” intelligence–the collection of information through agents with access to foreign secrets. Washington’s forte was “signals” intelligence–the procurement and analysis of coded foreign messages. At the beginning of the Cold War strength met strength in a struggle that still reverberates 50 years later. The tale of this struggle is the Venona story.
That aide? That was Lauchlin Currie.
Philby probably reported nothing at that time about American efforts against the Soviet messages. (US analysts did not begin to collaborate with their British counterparts on Soviet communications in general until about August 1945.) Nevertheless, senior KGB officials may have become worried when White House aide Lauchlin Currie apparently told Soviet contacts (possibly in spring 1944) that the Americans were about to break a Soviet code. Currie had access to signals intelligence at the White House and could have heard overoptimistic rumors that Arlington Hall would soon be reading Soviet messages. Currie’s tip probably was too vague to have alarmed Soviet cryptographers, but it might have worried higher-ups in Moscow. Indeed, the only change observed in the characteristics of the Soviet messages around that time appeared to be a cosmetic correction implemented to please higher authority. On 1 May 1944, KGB code clerks began using a new message starting-point indicator for telegrams–a change that ironically would make work easier for Arlington Hall crypt-analysts.(22)
The sheer amount on this subject via the various websites is overwhelming. I can only narrow it down a few specific instances concerning McCarthy and the time in question.
All this is of course designed to be explore comment 36′s topic here at this post of Don at Bookworm.