October 31, 2007


Alexander Feklisov, Who Ran Red Atom Spies, Is Dead at 93 (RON RADOSH, October 31, 2007, NY Sun)

Alexander Feklisov, who died Friday at 93, was the spymaster who oversaw Julius Rosenberg and Klaus Fuchs as they stole secrets that helped the Soviet Union develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War. [...]

Decades later, in 1997, he went public with the full story. The reason, he made clear, was that he wanted Julius Rosenberg to be regarded as a hero for his valiant effort on behalf of the Soviet Union's great anti-fascist cause. Rosenberg, he wrote, was an "unreconstructed idealist," a "partisan" who "did not want to betray his Russian comrades."

In working for the Soviets, Feklisov wrote, Rosenberg "helped the USSR fight the Nazis" so he could "build a peaceful future for his children." He did not explain how Rosenberg, who enlisted as an agent during the years of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, was doing his service because of his opposition to fascism. He was a hero because Rosenberg "brought our common victory closer to becoming reality."

Feklisov's account provided missing links about the extent of the damage done by the Rosenberg spy network. He testified about the major successes. The most important piece of information that the Rosenberg gave the Soviets was an actual proximity fuse detonator. The fuse allows a shell to explode at a short distance from an airborne target, guaranteeing a direct hit. It also corrects the path of an explosive charge toward a plane, a precursor of missile homing devices. The Soviets used one to shoot down Major Francis Gary Powers's U–2 plane in 1960, thereby derailing the Eisenhower-Khrushchev summit.

Other members of the ring, Joel Barr, Al Sarant and William Perl, provided equally important data such as the SCR584, a device that determines the speed and trajectory of V–2 rockets, that was part of some 600 pages of texts and drawing photographed by the ring members in one evening. Perl, a scientist working for NACA, the predecessor of NASA, gave Feklisov advanced aeronautical data about high-performance military jet aircraft. Through this material, the Soviets build the MIG fighter jets used against the Americans in the Korean War.

Feklisov also provided more information about Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, who had given Julius Rosenberg a sketch of the A-bomb that he had obtained working at Los Alamos during the war. He also provided evidence that co-defendant Morton Sobell was another spy who gave Feklisov major military data. Mr. Sobell has continued to deny that he spied.

Witch hunts find witches.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2007 2:46 PM
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