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Steve Usdin

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Seller Inventory n. Steven T. Publisher: Yale University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Drawing on extensive interviews with Barr and new archival evidence, Steve Usdin explains why Barr and Sarant became spies, how they obtained military secrets, and how FBI blunders led to their escape.

He chronicles their pioneering role in the Soviet computer industry, including their success in convincing Nikita Khrushchev to build a secret Silicon Valley. Book Description : This book tells the almost unbelievable story of American engineers Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, accomplices in the Rosenberg spy ring, who escaped with stolen military secrets and helped to develop the first advanced weapons systems in the USSR.

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Search for all books with this author and title. Alongside other documents available in the U. National Archives, this history shows that, as it sought to shift America out of neutrality, British intelligence was restrained only by the certainty that the blowback from public exposure would have been disastrous. The story of British government efforts to influence American elections and public opinion is a cautionary tale, providing a lesson that is all too relevant today about the power of propaganda and covert operations to alter history.

It also demonstrates how difficult it can be to differentiate in real time between legitimate concerns and imaginary conspiracy theories—and, perhaps, provides a glimmer of hope about the resilience of American democracy.

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American communists, fascists and isolationists complained bitterly and loudly in and that Britain was secretly manipulating the U. These accusations, confidently dismissed by liberal politicians and newspapers as paranoid ravings, were inaccurate only in that they were understated. Even the most alarmist commentators and conspiracy-mongers underestimated the depth and effectiveness of British covert activity. British intelligence employed the full range of cloak-and-dagger techniques in America in and forgeries, seductions, burglaries, electoral dirty tricks, physical surveillance, intercepting and reading letters sent under diplomatic seal, illegally bugging offices and tapping phones.

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British intelligence even listened in on a telephone call in June between President Franklin D. Kennedy Sr. A report on the call was quickly relayed to Churchill, alerting him that the U. While the British government strongly backed Roosevelt, it hedged its bets by working behind the scenes to increase the chances that Republicans would pick a presidential candidate in who would join the fight against fascism. The Republican Party, lacking a consensus about a standard-bearer or platform, was in disarray in June as its national convention approached.

BSC worked behind the scenes to smooth the path for a nominee who favored intervention. Its head, Sanford Griffith, was an American who had secretly been working for British intelligence since the s, and regardless of the population surveyed, its polls consistently advocated U. In addition to Griffith's operation, BSC funded and coordinated the activities and messaging of a number of American anti-fascist organizations. One of these, an informal group of wealthy businessmen and journalists called the Century Group, operated during the campaign as a liaison between the British government, the White House and the Willkie campaign.

It brokered an agreement from Willkie to refrain from criticizing a proposal that allowed Roosevelt to unilaterally authorize the transfer of scores of mothballed destroyers to Britain. As the first president to snub George Washington's precedent of voluntarily stepping down after two terms, FDR was acutely aware of the threat posed by accusations that he was behaving like a dictator, so even the hint of such an accusation from the Republican candidate may have scuttled the deal. Assured that he wouldn't pay a devastating political price, Roosevelt announced the deal at a press conference four days later.

The BSC's work on Willkie's behalf was an exception. For the most part, it focused not on promoting candidates, but rather on defeating elected officials who opposed American intervention in the war. Among those opponents was Rep. The photo had been taken at a public hearing that Congressman Fish had organized to discuss a proposed ban on paramilitary groups like the Bund. Another bit of British-engineered fake news had an ironic twist, accusing Fish of being a pawn of a foreign power.

They alleged that Nazis funneled money to Fish by renting his properties at inflated high rates as a means of subsidizing pro-German propaganda efforts. Though Fish won reelection, his margin of victory was just 9, votes, half the size of his win in In , they finally beat him. In addition to secretly intervening in campaigns , BSC funded and coordinated the efforts of pro-intervention American political organizations and of associations of emigres from Nazi-occupied countries that lobbied Congress and the public for a muscular U.

BSC also tried to shape public opinion by feeding a stream of true, partially true and completely fabricated stories to sympathetic reporters and columnists.