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  1. Wealth
May 20, 2009

Spying from the Bench?

By Spear's

Documents that indicate the former a Supreme Court Justice could have been a Soviet spy.

New Cold War documents have emerged from GB’s archives in Moscow that indicate Arthur Goldberg, the former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of Labor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, could have been a Soviet spy.

The astonishing disclosure is revealed by Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB officer who copied thousands of documents when he was working in Moscow between 1993 and 1996, and is now the co-author of Spies, now released by Yale University Press. (Buy it here in the Spear’s/Amazon store.)

During World War II Goldberg served as an intelligence officer with the Office of Strategic Services, and for the past nineteen years his identity as a Soviet espionage suspect has been concealed. He died in January 1990, well-known for his left-wing views, but few knew he had been considered a spy for Stalin.

In July 1995 a collection of decrypted Soviet intercepts was declassified by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. Buried among the 1,986 secret messages was one that had been heavily redacted, dated 15 September 1944.
It contained a list of officers drawn up by Duncan Lee, then principal assistant to General ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, the OSS chief, who were suspected by OSS’s Security Division of having infiltrated the organization for the NKVD and, as covert Communists, were actively passing classified material to their Soviet contacts.

Lee was also a spy and the list was intended to warn Moscow of sources under suspicion and investigation.

Many efforts have been made over the past nearly two decades to have the full list released but the NSA has consistently refused, citing privacy and nation security grounds to justify the censorship which blocked the identification of all the suspects with the sole exception of a self avowed Communist, Douglas Wheeler, who became an academic after he had abandoned his espionage role.

Now Vassiliev has circumvented the NSA by finding the original text in the KGB’s archives. The list is breathtaking and has the most profound political implications, both for Goldberg’s reputation and successive administrations which have deliberately concealed the truth.

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Curiously, the full list is not actually contained in the book, but a reference to the relevant VENONA message guides the reader to the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., where his version of the list can be found in Vassiliev’s notes, taken down in ‘White Notebook, No.3’. The list reads:

Major Arthur Goldberg, T.D. Schocken, E.A. Mosk, Fleisher, A.O. Hirshman, Julius Rosenfeld, Carlo A. Prato, Manuel T. Jiminez, Irving Goff, Michael A. Jiminez, David Zablodowsky, Carl Marzani, Virginia Gerson, Bert D. Schwartz, Victor Dimitrievich, Leo Drozdov, Alexander Lesser, Louis E. Madison, Donald Wheeler, Gerald Davidson, Seymore Shulberg, Fena Harrison, Robert M. McGregor, Netty Solovitz, Tilly Solovitz, Frederick Pollock.

Whilst it has been known since the original declassification of the VENONA series that OSS had been heavily penetrated, there had walways been a mystery surrounding the reason why message number 1325 should have been singled out for special treatment. Now we know.

Vassiliev’s disclosures, backed by his detailed notes, represent the severest haemorrhage of information from the KGB since the defection of Vasili Mitrokhin in 1992 which resulted in the publication of The Mitrokhin Archive seven years later.

Although Vassiliev was never a defector, the chances of him being able to return to Moscow must be rather slim. His material will certainly be taken very seriously by historians and counter-intelligence personnel because he had posted all his original notes, and their translations into English, on the Woodrow Wilson website, making the resource one of the significant of the entire postwar era.

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