Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957

In This Review

Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957

Edited by Obert Louis Benson and Michael Warner
National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, 1996
450 pp.

Last year the National Security Agency, the chief American signal intelligence organization, released hundreds of decryptions of intercepted "Venona" traffic -- Soviet communications between Moscow and secret agents operating in the United States during World War II. Their content not deciphered until after the war, these intercepts paved the way for the most dramatic breaks into Soviet espionage in the United States, including the Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss, and Julius Rosenberg cases. Historians at the NSA and CIA have assembled some hundred documents, two-thirds of them decryptions, introduced by a balanced and informative historical essay. The result is a fascinating glimpse of compromised intelligence operations that helped shape the early phase of the Cold War.

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