Cover image for Venona : decoding Soviet espionage in America
Venona : decoding Soviet espionage in America
Haynes, John Earl.
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Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 487 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
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JK2391.C5 H39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For nearly 50 years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the USA during World War II by its own allies. This is an analysis of the Venona Project and some of the messages.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Venona Project, a U.S. secret revealed only in 1995, decrypted Soviet intelligence's wartime cable traffic. It purportedly not only exposed an astounding scale of Soviet espionage but also undermined the liberal critique of the postwar Red scare. The Nation irately denounced Venona as a government forgery. The authors systematically recount Venona's references to approximately 350 Soviet spies in U.S. government and industry--some of them highly placed, most notoriously Alger Hiss. The damage wrought by Hiss and others is not yet known, as Venona does not contain the actual documents they stole, but their espionage appears now irrefutable. Apparently U.S. intelligence was aware of that in the 1940s, raising the historical question of whether keeping Venona secret was worth it, given how liberal and conservative vitriol over causes celebres such as Hiss and the Rosenbergs poisoned U.S. politics at the time. Venona may open a fundamental revision of U.S. history and lend foundation to The Haunted Wood [BKL N 15 98] by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Those who were convinced that the Soviets were spying on us during the 1930s and 1940s were right. Haynes and Klehr have provided the most extensive evidence to date that the KGB had operatives at all levels of American society and government. Where Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassilievs The Haunted Wood (LJ 11/15/98) provided a peek at Soviet spying, Haynes and Klehr throw open the door, revealing a level of espionage in this country that only the most paranoid had dreamed of. Building on the research for their earlier books, The Secret World of American Communism (LJ 6/1/95) and The Soviet World of American Communism (Yale Univ., 1998), Haynes and Klehr describe the astonishing dimensions of spying reflected in the cable traffic between the United States and Moscow. Venona is the name of the sophisticated National Security Agency project that in 1946 finally broke the Soviet code. This is better than anything John le Carr could produce, because in this case, truth is really stranger than fiction. Highly recommended.Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Although rumored during the 1980s, it was not until 1995 that American intelligence officially admitted the existence of Venona, a project that decrypted Soviet wartime and immediate postwar communications between intelligence officers in the US and their superiors in the USSR. Between 1995 and 1997 the 3,000 Venona messages, many only partially decrypted, were released, opening a door to a previously hidden and critical aspect of Cold War history. The intercepts revealed the existence of a major intelligence campaign against the US, identifying most of the Soviet spies uncovered by US intelligence between 1948 and the mid-1950s. Because fewer than half of the cover names used in the cables could be attributed to real persons, Venona also contributed to a lack of trust among American officials and to the development of the Cold War security state. The authors argue that even those who did not know of the cables--which was the majority of officials, as well as the public--were affected by the range of information uncovered. In the process of covering the origins and impact of Venona, Hayes and Klehr can only scratch the surface of a story that will be examined and argued for years to come. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Cold War history. D. McIntosh; Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
A Note about Transcription of the Documentsp. ix
Glossaryp. xi
Introduction: The Road to Venonap. 1
1 Venona and the Cold Warp. 8
2 Breaking the Codep. 23
3 The American Communist Party Undergroundp. 57
4 The Golos-Bentley Networkp. 93
5 Friends in High Placesp. 116
6 Military Espionagep. 164
7 Spies in the U.S. Governmentp. 191
8 Fellowcountrymenp. 208
9 Hunting Stalin's Enemies on American Soilp. 250
10 Industrial and Atomic Espionagep. 287
11 Soviet Espionage and American Historyp. 331
Appendix A Source Venona: Americans and U.S. Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agenciesp. 339
Appendix B Americans and U.S. Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies but Were Not Identified in the Venona Cablesp. 371
Appendix C Foreigners Temporarily in the United States Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agenciesp. 383
Appendix D Americans and U.S. Residents Targeted as Potential Sources by Soviet Intelligence Agenciesp. 387
Appendix E Biographical Sketches of Leading KGB Officers Involved in Soviet Espionage in the United Statesp. 391
Notesp. 395
Indexp. 477