Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2000 - History - 487 pages
Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona messages--documents of unparalleled importance for our understanding of the history and politics of the Stalin era and the early Cold War years.

Hidden away in a former girls' school in the late 1940s, Venona Project cryptanalysts, linguists, and mathematicians attempted to decode more than twenty-five thousand intercepted Soviet intelligence telegrams. When they cracked the unbreakable Soviet code, a breakthrough leading eventually to the decryption of nearly three thousand of the messages, analysts uncovered information of powerful significance: the first indication of Julius Rosenberg's espionage efforts; references to the espionage activities of Alger Hiss; startling proof of Soviet infiltration of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb; evidence that spies had reached the highest levels of the U.S. State and Treasury Departments; indications that more than three hundred Americans had assisted in the Soviet theft of American industrial, scientific, military, and diplomatic secrets; and confirmation that the Communist party of the United States was consciously and willingly involved in Soviet espionage against America. Drawing not only on the Venona papers but also on newly opened Russian and U. S. archives, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr provide in this book the clearest, most rigorously documented analysis ever written on Soviet espionage and the Americans who abetted it in the early Cold War years.


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VENONA: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

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This first comprehensive analysis of the 3,000 telegrams between Soviet spies in the US and their superiors in Moscow, decoded shortly after WWII, may well, as the authors believe, "change the way we ... Read full review

Venona: decoding Soviet espionage in America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

Selected pages


Venona and the Cold War
Breaking the Code
The American Communist Party Underground
The GolosBentley Network
Friends in High Places
Military Espionage
Spies in the US Government
Soviet Espionage and American History
Source Venona Americans and US Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies
Americans and US Residents Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies but Were Not Identifi
Foreigners Temporarily in the United States Who Had Covert Relationships with Soviet Intelligence Agencies
Americans and US Residents Targeted as Potential Sources by Soviet Intelligence Agencies
Biographical Sketches of Leading KGB Officers Involved in Soviet Espionage in the United States

Hunting Stalins Enemies on American Soil
Industrial and Atomic Espionage

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About the author (2000)

John Earl Haynes is 20th Century Political Historian, Manuscript Division, the Library of Congress. Harvey Klehr is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History at Emory University.

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