Learn more. As it had been sent from New York and had its origins in the British Embassy in Washington, Philby, who would not have known Maclean's cryptonym, deduced the sender's identity.  Samuel Chew and Cecil Phillips also made valuable contributions.  Lowenthal's critique focused on one message (Venona 1822 KGB Washington-Moscow 30 March 1945), in which the comments identified the covername 'Ales' as "probably Alger Hiss." Controversy arose in 2009 over the Texas State Board of Education's revision of their high school history class curricula to suggest Venona shows Senator Joseph McCarthy to have been justified in his zeal in exposing those whom he believed to be Soviet spies or communist sympathizers. , In the memo, Belmont discusses the possibility of using the Venona translations in court to prosecute Soviet agents, and comes out strongly opposed to their use. A young Meredith Gardner then used this material to break into what turned out to be NKVD (and later GRU) traffic by reconstructing the code used to convert text to numbers. “But despite the effort less than 1 percent of the 200,000 messages we held were ever broken into, and many of those were broken only to the extent of a few words.”. Venona has added information—some unequivocal, some ambiguous—to several espionage cases. Each of those 349 persons may have had many others working for, and reporting only to, them. With as much as 99 percent of the traffic unknowable, that is hard to say. One after another, when possible, the guilty parties were tracked down. One significant aid (mentioned by the NSA) in the early stages may have been work done in cooperation between the Japanese and Finnish cryptanalysis organizations; when the Americans broke into Japanese codes during World War II, they gained access to this information. Codes and Ciphers have been found Call of Duty fans go on a frenzy of investigation with more information planned for tomorrow. Writers Walter and Miriam Schneir, in a lengthy 1999 review of one of the first book-length studies of the messages, object to what they see as the book's overconfidence in the translations' accuracy, noting that the undecrypted gaps in the texts can make interpretation difficult, and emphasizing the problem of identifying the individuals mentioned under covernames. , Kim Philby had access to CIA and FBI files, and more damaging, access to Venona Project briefings. And contrary to Ehrman’s evaluation of the VENONA cables 20 years ago, their release did not end the debate about what they actually proved. Some of the earliest messages decrypted concerned information from a scientist at the Manhattan Project, who was referred to by the code names of CHARLES and REST. Venona "cipher" encoder/decoder for CoD Cold War reveal EE hunt. And to signal to the recipient what they were doing, they would write “spell” at the beginning of a word or phrase, then “endspell” when they’d finished it. Noting that the information included "data on the atomic mass of the nuclear explosive" and "details on the explosive method of actuating" the atomic bomb, the message requested further technical details from CHARLES.  It is not clear whether the Soviets knew how much of the message traffic or which messages had been successfully decrypted. According to Alexander Vassiliev's notes from KGB archive, "Quantum" was Boris Podolsky and "Pers" was Russell W. McNutt, an engineer from the uranium processing plant in Oak Ridge.  Critics such as Emory University history professor Harvey Klehr assert most people and organizations identified by McCarthy, such as those brought forward in the Army-McCarthy hearings or rival politicians in the Democratic party, were not mentioned in the Venona content and that his accusations remain largely unsupported by evidence. (Russian interest in American elections goes way back.). , The Venona decryptions were also important in the exposure of the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs. Among those identified are Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; Alger Hiss; Harry Dexter White, the second-highest official in the Treasury Department; Lauchlin Currie, a personal aide to Franklin Roosevelt; and Maurice Halperin, a section head in the Office of Strategic Services. The messages show that the U.S. and other nations were targeted in major espionage campaigns by the Soviet Union as early as 1942. She would stay on the job for the next 36 years, working on what one British spy called “the greatest counterintelligence secret in the Western world,” first dubbed “The Blue Problem,” and then “VENONA”: the breaking of the Soviet code. In Britain, according to Wright, Prime Minister Winston Churchill “had ordered all anti-Soviet intelligence work to cease during the wartime alliance.”. The president received the substance of the material only through FBI, Justice Department, and CIA reports on counterintelligence and intelligence matters. When used correctly, the one-time pad encryption system, which has been used for all the most-secret military and diplomatic communication since the 1930s, is unbreakable. These included the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg spying case (which was based on events during World War II) and the defections of Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess to the Soviet Union. Some of the decoded Soviet messages were not declassified and published by the United States until 1995. The FBI told Philby about an agent cryptonymed "Homer", whose 1945 message to Moscow had been decoded. His problem: lack of resources. To what extent the various individuals referred to in the messages were involved with Soviet intelligence is a topic of historical dispute. Lowenthal raised a number of objections to this identification, rejecting it as "a conclusion psychologically motivated and politically correct but factually wrong. Army Chief of Staff Omar Bradley, concerned about the White House's history of leaking sensitive information, decided to deny President Truman direct knowledge of the project.  Moreover, Oleg Gordievsky, a high-level KGB officer who also defected from the Soviet Union, reported that Iskhak Akhmerov, the KGB officer who controlled the clandestine Soviet agents in the U.S. during the war, had said Hopkins was "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States". He continued Venona-related work in London with MI5 from November 1952 and went on to lead Operation Cabin 12, the high-profile 1953–1954 defection to Australia of Soviet spy Vladimir Petrov.. The duplication—which undermines the security of a one-time system—was discovered and attempts to lessen its impact were made by sending the duplicates to widely separated users. He claimed Harry Hopkins was a secret Russian agent. According to authors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, the Venona transcripts identify approximately 349 Americans who they claim had a covert relationship with Soviet intelligence, though fewer than half of these have been matched to real-name identities. All that Grabeel and her colleagues could do at first was try to sort the traffic by its point of origin, which might suggest it was either for trade or for diplomatic correspondence. A decade before the existence of the program was officially acknowledged and some of its contents declassified, Wright described in vivid detail how VENONA worked, the impact it had, and some of the problems it created. And then, there they were. Smith in charge. Hallock and his colleagues, amongst whom were Genevieve Feinstein, Cecil Phillips, Frank Lewis, Frank Wanat, and Lucille Campbell, went on to break into a significant amount of Trade traffic, recovering many one-time pad additive key tables in the process. Although unknown to the public, and even to Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, these programs were of importance concerning crucial events of the early Cold War. ", Media related to Venona project at Wikimedia Commons. Amy Knight, author of How the Cold War Began, notes, “Venona must be treated with caution by historians.” While some cables seemed to confirm … and even the White House. Most decipherable messages were transmitted and intercepted between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, when the Soviet Union was an ally of the US.  Despite this, the reuse was detected by cryptanalysts in the US. But some, including Gardner, had regrets. Navasky claims the Venona material is being used to "distort ... our understanding of the cold war" and that the files are potential "time bombs of misinformation. , In addition to British and American operatives, Australians collected Venona intercepts at a remote base in the Outback. Nigel West, Venona, największa tajemnica zimnej wojny, Warszawa 2006, p.138. Recruiting centers were set up in heartland towns like Lynchburg, where a young Signal Corps officer, Lt. Pasvo Carlson, was dispatched to “troll for civilian female volunteers,” as Howard Blum wrote in his recent history of the era’s code breakers, In the Enemy’s House. The decryption rate of the NKVD cables was as follows: Out of some hundreds of thousands of intercepted encrypted texts, it is claimed under 3,000 have been partially or wholly decrypted. Both outlined massive Soviet espionage operations against Moscow’s supposed allies throughout the war, especially against the United States, with nuclear secrets the priority. (Review of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr)", the h-net list for the history of American communism, "Ales is Still Hiss: The Wilder Foote Red Herring", "Hiss in VENONA: The Continuing Controversy", "The American Response to Soviet Espionage", "Report of the Commission On Protecting And Reducing Government Secrecy", "Red Files: Interview with Cecil Philips, US Signal Intelligence Service", "In the Enemy's House: Venona and the Maturation of American Counterintelligence", "Venona Documents on the Internet Archive", "Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies", PBS Transcript, Airdate: February 5, 2002, Venona Documents - National Security Agency, Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Venona_project&oldid=984430040, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2011, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 October 2020, at 01:59.