Judith Coplon–and why the Venona Project was stopped

A generation of adults has now arisen which never experienced the dreadful certainty felt by those just a few years ahead of them (especially if they grew up in Europe): that ultimately Communism would win the Cold War.

Consequently they do not perhaps fully comprehend the iniquity of some of the actors in this drama. Such a one was Judith Coplon (Socolov) who died on February 26th.

Coplon was revealed by the Venona Project to be spying for the Russians. Because the authorities wanted to keep secret the fact they were able to read Russian cable traffic, her two convictions were able to be overturned on grounds of flawed procedure. She was never punished. The facts are well recounted here.

What younger observers will be able to recognize, however, is the familiar pattern of fanatical denial of truth and willful ignoring of reality still occurring in MSM discussions of these matters, for instance in the New York Times obituary for Coplon: Judith Coplon, Haunted by Espionage Case, Dies at 89 by Sam Roberts (March 1, 2011).

Judith Socolov, who as a diminutive Barnard graduate named Judith Coplon was convicted of espionage more than 60 years ago after embracing a utopian vision of communism and falling in love with a Soviet agent, died Saturday in Manhattan.

Coplon was convicted of course not for utopianism or falling in love, but for betraying her (putative) country at the time of its greatest peril – Germany and Japan never threatened America the way the Soviet Union did.

Over at Human Events Daniel J Flynn has an excellent evisceration of the ethical situation these traitors are in: Spies Like Us 03/07/11

This denial of reality at first glance is strange because the Russians themselves are quite cheerfully frank about their Cold War activities.

It stems of course from the fact that the overwhelming majority of the important spies for Russia were Jews. Coplon, the Rosenbergs, Harry Dexter White, Theodore Hall , Maurice Halperin – the list goes on and on. There were a few leftist WASPS – Alger Hiss, Lauchlin Currie, Elizabeth Bentley – but they were distinctly a minority.

The predictably unenthusiastic Wikipedia Venona discussion notes

According to authors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, the Venona transcripts identify approximately 349 Americans whom they claim had a covert relationship with Soviet intelligence, though fewer than half of these have been matched to real-name identities.

In 1980, with the Cold War approaching its climax and the overwhelming bulk of the material untranscribed, the Venona Project was stopped. The excuse was that the information contained was too old. This of course was absurd – its historical significance alone was immense – justice needed to be served — and in any case the laboriousness of the decrypting must have been rapidly evaporating with the arrival of computers. Furthermore, a key element of Soviet espionage had turned out to be the use of “agents of influence” – having traitors secretly influence policy and personnel selections. There was plenty of purpose in identifying even retired operatives.

When I read of this over a decade ago I was puzzled. Now the answer is obvious: too many Jews would have been uncovered — engaged as they were in the community’s first great attempt to destroy America.  For idealistic reasons, of course. The second attempt, so far humming along quite successfully, is massive non-White immigration–the outcome of which remains to be seen.

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