Correspondence

Correspondence Cold War Wars Harvey Klehr's review of my book How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies claims that I "misstate key pieces of evidence" and...

...I point out that, in reproducing these documents, obtained by his coauthor Alexander Vassiliev from the SVR archives, Weinstein inserted (against the protestations of Vassiliev) Hiss's name in brackets...
...Having pored over the secret messages in Russian that appeared in the newly released Gouzenko materials, I have a new appreciation for how easily these messages might be misconstrued...
...Klehr accuses me of ignoring "the detailed information [against Alger Hiss] uncovered by Allen Weinstein" and criticizes me for accepting "at face value the statements of spokesmen for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) that Alger Hiss's name does not appear in their archives...
...Without Venona . . . the Americans and their allies would not have realized the extent of the Soviet espionage effort...
...In her letter she admits Fuchs turned over valuable information, but also repeats what I quoted from her bookóthat there were "no real atomic secrets to be lost...
...The problem for Klehr, a firm believer in the infallibility of the Venona documents, is apparently my contention that the Venona messages should be treated with caution because the decrypted texts were often difficult to interpret, and they represented only a small portion of the Russian communications to and from North America...
...Klehr goes on to assert that "although Knight is aware of the Venona transcripts [Soviet intelligence messages from the 1940s, deciphered by the Americans], she does not have much confidence in what they reveal...
...She can't have it both ways...
...Weinstein's "guesswork" has been cited again and again by Cold War historians, including Klehr, as a key piece of evidence against Hiss...
...To buttress his argument that I do not appreciate the seriousness of Soviet spying in America, Klehr writes: "Although she acknowledges that Klaus Fuchs [who passed to the Russians secret information from the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos] was an atomic spy, she absurdly sniffs that there were 'no real atomic secrets to be lost.'" I by no means brush off Fuchs's spying as insignificant: I mention more than once how much Fuchs's information helped the Soviets develop the bomb, and I note that "in comparison with Klaus Fuchs, who was passing valuable information about the American bomb project to the Soviets, the Canadian recruits had much less to offer...
...Correspondence Cold War Wars Harvey Klehr's review of my book How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies claims that I "misstate key pieces of evidence" and "misunderstand" the threat of Soviet espionage ("Spy vs...
...The SVR later refused to comment on the insertions of Hiss's name in The Haunted Wood documents, except to say that it was "mere guesswork...
...My discussion of how the Gouzenko affair was used to stir up a spy mania that resulted in unwarranted violations of individual rights seems especially to rankle Klehr...
...Amy Knight Basel, Switzerland Harvey Klehr responds: Amy Knight apparently believes what Venona says about Klaus Fuchs and Donald MacLeanóboth British spiesóbut she can't bring herself to acknowledge that it also exposed hundreds of Americans who worked for Soviet intelligence...
...As Klehr rightly observes, "the SVR's official policy is not to identify as an agent anyone who has not admitted it himself, including Hiss...
...Spy," Dec...
...In fact, I say explicitly that "Venona was an invaluable tool in the effort to expose Soviet spies...
...In fact, I discuss Weinstein's presentation in The Haunted Wood of Soviet intelligence messages that supposedly incriminate Hiss...

Vol. 12 • February 2007 • No. 20


 
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