Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America by John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr

This is a book review.

The second major book to cover the evidence from the Venona papers. It is more detailed than the Romerstein and Breindel “The Venona Secrets” and is available in paperback. More importantly, the authors had the opportunity to visit Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union and inspect some of the Comintern records and so were enabled to verify the Venona facts from the other end. Unfortunately, Russian officials soon brought the curtain down on such investigations, but enough was learned to show that Venona veracity was beyond doubt. Most likely we will never learn the identities of many traitors and we can conclude that there were far more than the 349 identified so far. This book lacks the outrage that is surely appropriate and the authors seem to regret that the Rosenburgs were executed. Many US citizens might feel that not enough of the traitors were executed and that it was scandalous that because of the American legal system and the security services’ need to keep sources secret, few were even prosecuted. Two things are worth noting for they fly in the face of the ‘Blame America’ intellectuals who are rewriting history. America owes a big debt to J Edgar Hoover and the FBI, for while the other counter intelligence services were sleeping, the FBI was not. Hoover, like Joe McCarthy needs to be reinstated as an American hero. Secondly, Americans should not conclude that those who find refuge in the generous USA will be grateful. In dealing with new threats from Islamic Imperialism, from China, from Iran and Russia we should be aware that many with past ties to these and other hostile countries and alien religions will be willing to betray the country that has given them citizenship.