More Cold War Espionage Transcripts Released

On October 24, 2008, in response to a petition filed by the National Security Archive and several historical associations, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the previously secret grand jury transcripts of eight witnesses related to Cold War espionage prosecutions. The nearly 300 pages of transcripts from the Brothman/Moskowitz grand jury reveal important new details about the testimony of Elizabeth Bentley, the so-called “Red Spy Queen,” and Harry Gold, who led authorities to David Greenglass and the Rosenbergs. In addition, NARA released the testimonies of Vivian Glassman, Edith Levitov, and Frank Wilentz from the Rosenberg grand jury.

“The release of these additional grand jury records marks an important victory for historians, archivists, and the American people,” stated Meredith Fuchs, the National Security Archive’s General Counsel. “It adds to the historical record on the most important espionage trial in American history, which was a defining moment of the Cold War, and helps us better understand how our society responded to the threat of Soviet espionage.”

The government, through the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, had opposed the release of the Brothman/Moskowitz materials. On August 26, 2008, however, Judge Alvin Hellerstein decided they were of “substantial historical importance” and ordered them released. The government declined to appeal that ruling.