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The Venona Secrets; Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors

Romerstein, Herbert, and Breindel, Eric

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ISBN 10: 0895262754 / ISBN 13: 9780895262752
Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc, Washington DC, 2000
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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xvi, 608 pages. Illustrations. Notes. Bibliography. Index. DJ has slight wear and soiling. Herbert "Herb" Romerstein (August 19, 1931 - May 7, 2013) was an American government employee, historian, and writer who specialized in Anti-communism. He became a research analyst and investigator for American Business Consultants, publishers of the anti-Communist newsletter Counterattack as well as for Bookmailer, which published his first book, Communism and Your Child in 1962. From 1965 to 1983, Romerstein served as a staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives. Romerstein worked as investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), as minority chief investigator for the House Committee on Internal Security, and on the staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was director of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency. He became director of the Center for Security Research at the Education and Research Institute. He worked at the Institute of World Politics as a specialist on espionage, Soviet political warfare, terrorism, and internal security. Romerstein's published works concern Anti-Communism almost exclusively from 1962 to his last book in 2012. He conducted research in both U.S. and foreign archives, e.g., Ukrainian archives in 1992 and the archives of the Communist International in Moscow, Russia, in 1993. In 1992, Romerstein and Ray Kerrison reported that Oleg Kalugin had identified I. F. Stone as a Soviet agent. The Venona project was a counterintelligence program initiated by the United States Army's Signal Intelligence Service (later the National Security Agency) that ran for nearly four decades, spanning 1943 to 1980. The purpose of the Venona project was the decryption of messages transmitted by the intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union, e.g. the NKVD, the KGB (First Chief Directorate) and the GRU (military intelligence). During the 37-year duration of the Venona project, the Signal Intelligence Service obtained approximately 3,000 Soviet messages (only some of which were ever decrypted); the Signal-Intelligence yield included discovery of the Cambridge Five espionage ring in the UK and Soviet espionage of the Manhattan Project in the U.S. The Venona project remained secret for more than 15 years after it concluded, and some of the decoded Soviet messages were not declassified and published until 1995. The Venona Project was initiated in 1943, under orders from the deputy Chief of Military Intelligence (G-2), Carter W. Clarke. Clarke distrusted Joseph Stalin, and feared that the Soviet Union would sign a separate peace with the Third Reich, allowing Germany to focus its military forces against Great Britain and the United States. Code-breakers of the US Army's Signal Intelligence Service (commonly called Arlington Hall) analyzed encrypted high-level Soviet diplomatic intelligence messages intercepted in large volumes during and immediately after World War II by American, British, and Australian listening posts. Venona has added information-some unequivocal, some ambiguous-to several espionage cases. Some known spies, including Theodore Hall, were neither prosecuted nor publicly implicated, because the Venona evidence against them was withheld. The identity of Soviet source cryptonymed "19" remains unclear. According to British writer Nigel West, "19" was president of Czechoslovak government-in-exile Edvard Bene? Military historian Eduard Mark and American authors Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel concluded it was Roosevelt's aide Harry Hopkins. According to American authors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, "19" could be someone from the British delegation to the Washington Conference in May 1943. Moreover, they argue no evidence of Hopkins as an agent has been found in other archives, and the partial message relating to "19" does not indicate if this source was a spy. However, Vasily Mitrokhin was a KGB archivist who defected to t. Bookseller Inventory # 73378

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Venona Secrets; Exposing Soviet ...

Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc, Washington DC

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very good

Edition: First Printing [Stated].

About this title


The Venona Secrets presents one of the last great, untold stories of World War II and the Cold War. In 1995 the Venona documents secret Soviet cable traffic from the 1940s that the United States intercepted and eventually decrypted finally became available to American historians. Now, after spending more than five years researching all the available evidence, espionage experts Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel reveal the full, shocking story of the days when Soviet spies ran their fingers through America s atomic-age secrets.


Some historians and journalists are starting to regard the cold-war-era American Communist Party as nothing more than a quaint club of polite if misguided ideologues. In The Venona Secrets, Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel intend to create a new impression of treacherous Americans "who willfully gave their primary allegiance to a foreign power, the USSR.... For Communists, true patriotism meant helping to make the world a better place by advancing the interests of the Soviet Union in any way possible." By using the now-celebrated Venona documents--top-secret Soviet cables sent between Moscow and Washington, D.C., in the 1940s--Romerstein and Breindel tell a frightening story of how deeply spies penetrated the U.S. government. There was the famous case of Alger Hiss, whose guilt as a Soviet spy is now beyond doubt thanks to Venona. Less well known, but still important, were the roles of Harry Hopkins in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's White House and Harry Dexter White in the Treasury Department.

Romerstein, a veteran cold warrior, and Breindel, the former editorial-page editor of The New York Post (he died before the book's publication, at the age of 42), are not the first to discuss the Venona papers in depth--readers of The Haunted Wood, by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, and Whittaker Chambers, by Sam Tanenhaus, will know much of the story. Yet this may its most aggressive telling. Romerstein and Breindel include necessary chapters on the Hiss-Chambers dispute, the Elizabeth Bentley spy ring, and the charges against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They are particularly forceful in arguing that journalist I.F. Stone and atomic scientist Robert Oppenheimer were Soviet spies. Another target--and a provocative one--is Albert Einstein, whom they describe as "tainted" by his indirect ties to Soviet intelligence. The Venona Secrets will make heads turn, and it will show that the debates over the cold war and its meaning can be as hot now as they were then. --John J. Miller

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