The Magazine

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VENONA

May 13, 1996, Vol. 1, No. 34 • By HARVEY KLEHR and JOHN EARL HAYNES
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It is true that overzealous or irresponsible anti- Communists did unjustly accuse innocent public servants of Communist links in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But the claim that the congressional committees investigating Communist infiltration into the U.S. government were engaging in witch hunts can no longer be sustained. Witches don't exist; Communist spies did. What these long-secret government archives now make manifest is that most of those accused by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers and pilloried by HUAC were Soviet agents. Harry Dexter White and Laurence Duggan were not martyrs. They were among the most important American officials ever to betray their country.