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Thursday, July 19, 2007
AIM Ignores Questions About Alger Hiss
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 19 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report" by Wes Vernon attacks those who defend accused Soviet spy Alger Hiss. Among the evidence Vernon cites as proof Hiss was a Soviet spy is taken from Herb Romerstein's book on the declassified Soviet cables from World War II, known as the Venona documents:

In a March 30, 1945 message (decrypted in August of 1969) the Washington D.C. Residentua reported to Moscow headquarters on a meeting between "illegal" Resident Akhmerov and an agent for military intelligence called "Ales." In reading the message, "one sees clearly that 'Ales' was Alger Hiss."


Summing it up to AIM, Romerstein puts it this way: "When you read the Venona documents, you sort it out that he [Hiss] was a longtime agent of [Soviet] military intelligence, which is precisely what Chambers said.  And [Hiss] says he received a medal from Vyshinski when he was in Moscow right after the Yalta conference, and that he went on the American plane from Yalta to Moscow. And there [was] only a handful of people on that plane. And none of the others could possibly be Ales, including the man who was Secretary of State [Edward Stettinius]. And so it's just ridiculous that it could be anybody but [Hiss]."

Vernon does not acknowledge that doubt has been raised about whether Ales was Hiss. In particular, a recent American Scholar article by Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya that posits that Henry Wilder Foote, then-assistant to secretary of state Edward Stettinius, was Ales.

The whole Alger Hiss/Whitaker Chambers thing has been a minor obsession at AIM this week. A July 16 article by Cliff Kincaid features the opening of a library of Chambers' papers. While Kincaid cites Romerstein's book as proof that "decoded Soviet messages identified Hiss as working for Soviet military intelligence," he doesn't mention Ales specifically or that there is doubt about the ID of Hiss as Ales, as forwarded in Romerstein's book.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 PM EDT

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