Document release offers new clues on MI5 activities

Sam Wanamaker

S. Wanamaker

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A batch of intelligence documents from the immediate post-World War II period released this week by Britain’s National Archives offer glimpses into previously unknown activities by MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence service. One set of documents shows that the MI5 closely monitored liberal Americans who escaped McCarthyism by emigrating to the isles in the 1940s and 1950s. Among such targets was Sam Wanamaker, father of actor Zoe Wanamaker, who played in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone among other films. Her father left the US shortly before being called to testify in Senator Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. He became an important figure in British theater, but was monitored by MI5, who at one point considered including him in a list of domestic radicals to be “interned” during a possible military confrontation with the USSR. Another set of documents shows that British spies spent years looking for Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, in places such as Switzerland, Italy and Brazil. Read more of this post

Analysis: The timeliness of the Alger Hiss case

Susan Jacoby

Susan Jacoby

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Susan Jacoby, author of Alger Hiss and the Battle for History, has written a noteworthy opinion piece on the symbolism of the Alger Hiss spy case. The veteran reporter and author’s piece was published by The Los Angeles Times on March 22, 58 years to the day after Hiss began serving a 44-month prison sentence. Alger Hiss was a US State Department official and alleged former member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). He served as US President F.D. Roosevelt’s chief aide during the 1945 Yalta Conference, and at the 1945 San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations Charter. In 1948, former CPUSA member Whittaker Chambers alleged that Hiss had been a covert communist sympathizer who had used his State Department privileges to supply classified government documents to the Soviets. Hiss was convicted of perjury, not spying, and never admitted collaborating with the Soviets. Susan Jacoby, who says she is “95% certain that [Hiss] did pass on government documents”, considers the Hiss case to be symbolic of the politics McCarthyism, which continue to split America today. Read more of this post