Atomic spy David Greenglass, who spied for the USSR, dead at 92

David GreenglassBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
David Greenglass, an American spy for the Soviet Union, who played a key role in the most widely publicized case of atomic espionage during the Cold War, has died in New York, aged 92. Born in Manhattan in 1922, Greenglass became an active communist at a young age, and in 1943 joined the ranks of the Young Communist League —the youth wing of the Communist Party USA. Shortly afterwards he joined the United States Army and entered the top-secret Manhattan Project as a machinist. He initially worked for the Project —America’s secret effort to build an atomic bomb— in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, before being transferred to the its headquarters in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He later told a US court that he firmly believed that the USSR should have access to nuclear technology and actively tried to share information on the Manhattan Project with Moscow. He did so through his sister, Ethel Rosenberg, and her husband, Julius, who, like him, were committed communists. After all of them were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of espionage, Greenglass agreed to testify for the US government. He told the court that he saw his sister transcribe top-secret information from the Manhattan Project on her personal typewriter in her apartment in 1945. His testimony was central in securing convictions for the Rosenbergs. The two refused to cooperate with the FBI and in 1951 were sentenced to death in the electric chair. In 1953, the husband and wife were executed in New York, leaving behind two young children, Michael and Robert. The orphans were soon adopted by close personal friends of the Rosenbergs and took the name Meeropol. Meanwhile, Greenglass served nearly 10 years of a 15-year sentence for conspiring to conduct espionage against the US. Upon his release from prison in 1960, he changed his name and settled in Queens, New York. On Tuesday, The New York Times disclosed that it had accidentally found out that Greenglass had died on July 1, 2014, after calling the nursing home where he had been living in recent years. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #293

  • US DHS monitors websites. According to a document released by the US Department of Homeland Security, Cryptome, Wired‘s Danger Room blog, and WikiLeaks, are among websites the DHS systematically monitors “in order to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture”. IntelNews wants to take this opportunity to say ‘hi’ to members of the DHS lurking around.
  • Russian spy lived in Dayton, stole secrets. Iowa-born and -bred communist and US Army engineer, George Koval, was a master at blending in. And, as it turns out, he was also a master spy for the Soviet Union. He did just that while working on the Manhattan Project in Dayton for six months in 1945.
  • Niger army suspends constitution. No word yet in Niger about the elections promised by the military coup plotters who appear to have staged a successful coup. For those who may not know, in international politics, Niger means uranium –lots of it. It’s also worth asking what ten agents of Bulgaria’s counterterrorism unit were doing in Niger on the day of the coup.

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Article on formerly unknown Soviet spy published

George Koval

George Koval

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On November 2, 2007, some of Russia’s most senior military and intelligence officials gathered at the Kremlin to honor a Soviet spy whose name was until then completely absent from the annals of espionage history. Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) chief Valentin Korabelnikov were among several officials who joined Russian president Vladimir Putin to pay tribute to George Koval. Koval was an American citizen born in Iowa to immigrant parents from Belarus. In 1932, Koval, his parents and two brothers, all of whom were US citizens, moved back to the then rapidly developing Soviet Union to escape the effects of the Great Depression. It was there that the young George Koval was recruited by the GRU, the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces. He received Soviet citizenship and returned to the US through San Francisco in October 1940. Read more of this post

Former KGB officer to publish “new data” on nuclear espionage

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Alexander Vassiliev, who worked in the American Division of the KGB from 1987 to 1990, is well known to intelligence historians. His first book, Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) included information the author claims to have copied from internal KGB records. Among several critics of the book was Rutgers University professor John Lowenthal, who dismissed it as containing a “plethora of errors, and […] strategic omissions [that] leave it demonstrably untrustworthy [and] far below minimal standards of scholarly or journalistic rigor for any serious consideration”. Now Vassiliev is preparing his return with a second book, entitled Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which he co-wrote with John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. The book, which is scheduled for publication by Yale University Press in March, is also based on internal KGB “files, copied by Mr. Vassiliev into notebooks” before he resigned from his post at the KGB. Read more of this post