Materials on Venona

D - L

Dobbs, Michael.

1. "Code Name Mlad: The 'Crime of the Century' Is Not Yet Closed." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 4-10 Mar. 1996, 9-10.

Based on "a review of dozens of recently declassified Soviet and U.S. documents," Dobbs develops the argument that Theodore Alvin Hall was the Soviet spy known previously only by the code name Mlad.

2. "Pointing the Finger at Mlad. Newly Declassified Intercepts of Soviet Spy Messages Also Renew Suspicions about Alger Hiss." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 11-17 Mar. 1996, 34.

A new release of Venona documents with NSA notes identifying U.S. officials and others as the Soviet agents mentioned by code name in the Soviet cables names Theodore Alvin Hall as the Atomic spy known previously only as Mlad ("Youngster").

Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. "Scourge of McCarthyism was Red Spy." Electronic Telegraph, 8 Apr. 1996. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

The recently released Venona documents identify "Cedric Belfrage, the British writer who worked for wartime British intelligence, as a Soviet agent in the early 1940s." While Belfrage worked for British Security Coordination (BSC) in New York from 1941 to 1943, he was also "agent UCN/9, a source for a KGB officer named Vasilij Zubilin.... Apparently he was not the only Soviet spy on the staff there. The identification of another agent known as 'Havre' is blacked out in the declassified documents."

Fischer, Ben. "'Mr. Guver': Anonymous Soviet Letter to the FBI." Center for the Study of Intelligence Newsletter 7 (Winter-Spring 1997): 10-11.

The author looks at one of the documents in the Venona collection [Document No. 10 in Benson and Warner, eds., Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (1996)]. The item in question is an anonymous letter, dated 7 August 1943, to "Mr. Guver" (Hoover). It identifies Soviet "intelligence officers and operations that stretched from Canada to Mexico." It also includes accusations of war crimes against the KGB rezident in Washington, Vassili M. Zarubin (a.k.a. Zubilin), and his deputy, Markov (in the United States under the alias of Lt. Col. Vassili D. Mironov). The author sees the letter, a mix of fact and fantasy, as probably the result of a personal vendetta either by Markov or another enemy of Zarubin's within the rezidentura.

Hatch, David A. "VENONA: An Overview." American Intelligence Journal 17, no. 1/2 (1996): 71-77.

This is an excellent overview of the Venona project, in terms of the nature of the activity and what was obtained from it and what was not. The author includes a brief but lucid section on the relation of the materials to the Rosenberg espionage case. For individuals coming to a discussion of the Venona decrypts without some background in the project, this is a good place to start.

Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.

Isserman, NYT, 9 May 1999, points out that in their initial collaborative effort, The American Communist Movement: Storming Heaven Itself (1992), the authors concluded that: "'Few American Communists were spies,' ... and 'espionage was not a regular activity of the American C.P.' Haynes and Klehr have since changed their minds.... There is still room for honest debate about many aspects of the history of American Communism. But about the involvement of ... American Communists as accomplices of Soviet espionage during World War II, there are no longer grounds for serious disagreement....

"This book clearly establishes the main contours of the previously hidden landscape of Soviet espionage in the United States in the 30's and 40's. One can disagree about details; the authors speak far too authoritatively about the presumed guilt of several alleged spies.... In general, however, they are cautious in their judgments of guilt and innocence.... Weinstein and Vassiliev did a better job in exploring the motives of Stalin's American spies in The Haunted Wood."

Powers, NYRB (11 May 2000) and Intelligence Wars (2004), notes that this work portrays "[t]he immense intellectual task of reading the Soviet traffic." He describes Venona as "a rich, convincing, and vivid report." Unsinger, NIPQ 16.3, comments that "[t]he story here is ... a straight forward look at what we learned [from Venona] about the extent of espionage and those who played the game.... [The authors] have done a good job in a readable and interesting manner."

For Peake, NWCR 53.3 and Intelligencer 11.2, "Haynes and Klehr have done a masterful job of analysis and have presented it in a very readable fashion." The reviewer notes that while the Venona decrypts may not have convinced everyone of the magnitude of Soviet penetration in the United States, "[f]or most, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America is the final word."

Herken, I&NS 16.3, calls this "[f]ar and away the best historical and analytical work on Venona thus far... [T]he authors have written a highly readable and even fascinating history of Soviet espionage in America.... An invaluable resource for spy buffs are the five appendices, which give details on known and suspected Soviet agents by name and codename." To Friend, IJI&C 13.3, the authors have provided "a well-informed and quietly moderate book, devoid of sensationalism on a sensational subject."

Hyde, Earl M., Jr. "Bernard Schuster and Joseph Katz: KGB Master Spies in United States." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12, no. 1 (Spring 1999): 35-57.

Hyde uses the Venona materials "to show ... the extent and technique of KGB operations [in the United States], and the use of the Communist Party" of the USA (CPUSA). He focuses on "Joseph Katz, who served the KGB for more than ten years as a supurb multifunctional agent and who managed..., Bernard L. Schuster, the organizational secretary of the Communist Party in New York."

Lamphere, Robert J., and Tom Shachtman. The FBI-KGB War: A Special Agent's Story. New York: Random House, 1986. New York: Berkley, 1986. [pb] New Ed., with Post-Cold War Afterword. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995. [pb]

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