Academic journal article Military Review

Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

Academic journal article Military Review

Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

Article excerpt

VENONA: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. 487 pages. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 1999. $30.00.

The Cold War was as aggressive as any hot war, and the stakes were just as great. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America analyzes Soviet Communist Party archives and declassified, deciphered messages of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (KGB).

Venona, a project code word, was a highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) effort to decode cables from diplomats at the Soviet consulate and the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. These cables concerned not diplomacy but espionage. They dealt with the KGB's active recruiting of US communists as spies and conducting background checks with the Communist International. The American Communist Party became an underground network for launching an "unrestrained espionage offensive." The names within the cables became the who's who of exposed spies in western governments, industry and atomic projects.

John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr provide thumbnail sketches of such prominent spies as British Intelligence liaison Kim Philby a Soviet agent within the British government, and William Weisband, a linguist on the project at Arlington Hall. …

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