It seems that some things never change. A few moments ago, this breaking story came in from the website of the New York Times. It seems, as this early report informs us, that ten Americans have been arrested for spying on behalf of Putin’s new Russia. The story has eerie reminiscences of the arrest, trial, and eventual execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, over half a century ago on June 19th, 1953 — only a week apart from the current date of these newly arrested accused spies.
Just as with the Venona papers, the U.S. government intercepted messages from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow addressed to two defendants — Richard and Cynthia Murphy of Montclair, New Jersey. This time, the government has let it be known how they came to find out about their involvement. With Venona, the codes that were being broken — and which led the FBI to have full knowledge of the existence of Rosenberg’s spy ring — could not be revealed out of concern it would alert the KGB to the fact that their top secret codes had been broken. Therefore, some spies they knew were guilty — like the top atomic spy Theodore Hall — got away with espionage. Hall refused to admit his guilt to the Bureau, and left for Great Britain, where he was able to have a distinguished lifelong career in science. Before he passed away a few years ago, he not only admitted his guilt, but bragged about how he had done his part to preserve peace, by helping the Soviets break America’s atomic monopoly.
Unlike Hall, the Rosenbergs and others, today’s spies have no ideological reasons to pursue their traitorous activity; their motivation is the old one — greed. The Russians undoubtedly were paying them big bucks! But what is of great interest is what goal the Russians had in mind: “To search and develop ties in policymaking circles” in the United States, as Russian intelligence instructed the Murphys. “You were sent to USA for long-term service trip,” Moscow central told them. “Your education, bank accounts, car, house- etc.-all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and sent intels.”
That of course, is precisely what the Soviets did when they developed agents like Alger Hiss, Lauchlin Currie, Judith Coplon, Laurence Duggan, Duncan Lee, Harry Dexter White and many others. During the FDR years, these agents infiltrated various departments of government, with the intention of giving the Soviets advance knowledge of developing policy, as well as influencing policy, especially so in the case of Dexter White.
Many pundits have said, time and time again, that Barack Obama is similar to FDR, and his goals as president are to achieve the kind of change FDR attempted but could not complete. Evidently Russian intelligence feels the same. One of their control agents must have said to his colleagues, “We managed to infiltrate top government departments during the FDR years, when the US and the USSR were allies. Now that Barack Obama sees our current government as a solid ally, the opportunity has arisen to again accomplish great things for our service.”
How ironic and how embarrassing for the State Department and the Obama administration. At least this time around, our FBI and CIA were on top of things, and have acted before the spies accomplished their goals. Let us be thankful for small blessings.