The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss

The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss

The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss

The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss

Excerpt

Alger Hiss, tall and boyish-looking in a tweedy, English-country-gentleman way, stood in Federal Court in New York on January 25, 1950, and spoke a few final words in his own defense. He had just been sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary for perjury -- a charge that, because of the technicalities of the law, had been substituted for the real crime, treason. After reasserting his innocence, Hiss said:

"I want to add that I am confident that in the future the full facts of how Whittaker Chambers was able to carry out forgery by typewriter will be disclosed."

This was a new charge, made belatedly after two marathon trials. And it was, at best, an oversimplification of the real issue. For the story told by Whittaker Chambers had received the full endorsement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney General's office; and if, in this sensational case, there is truly such an element as "forgery by typewriter," it is almost inconceivable that Whittaker Chambers, alone and unaided, could have concocted the plot. He would have had to have collaborators.

Today, more than eight years after Alger Hiss injected the . . .

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