Effects of Soviet Espionage Operations in the West during the Cold War, Advantages of HUMINT and TECHINT Collections – Assignment Example

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The paper “ Effects of Soviet Espionage Operations in the West during the Cold War, Advantages of HUMINT and TECHINT Collections” is a  good example of an assignment on the military. The Cold War could be described as a period marked by conflict, tension, and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s. Throughout the period, was marked by the rivalry between the two superpowers that reflected in all areas as military coalitions; ideology, psychology, and espionage; military, industrial, and technological developments, and even in the space race; costly defense spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars.

Since the late 1920s, the Soviet Union, by the channel of its OGPU and NKVD intelligence services, used Russians, foreign -born nationals, Communist and left-leaning Americans to perform espionage activities in the United States. These various espionage networks eventually succeeded in penetrating various U. S. government agencies, transmitting classified or confidential information to Moscow, while influencing U. S. government officials to support policies favorable to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's greatest espionage achievement was in obtaining plans and specifications for the U. S.

atomic bomb. In the late 1940s, the shock waves that followed the sensational news of Communist spy rings operating deep inside the government in Washington, D.C. , affected American politics, culture, and society for the next decade. The first reverberations of spy activities began in the summer of 1945 when six people, including a high-ranking State Department official, were arrested for passing classified government documents to the left-leaning journal, Amerasia, Shortly afterward, the American public learned of other spy operations through the revelations of Elizabeth Bentley, a former Communist and courier for a Soviet spy network.

These reports revealed the existence of an atomic spy ring headed by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; two spy rings operating in Washington, D.C. As a result of this espionage activity, there were widespread fears of Communist infiltration into American institutions intensified as U. S. relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated, China fell to the Communists in 1949, and the Korean War began in 1950. Republicans used the spy cases to attack Roosevelt’ s New Deal government and its successor, the Truman administration, for having ignored the insidious nature of Soviet communism.

The Truman administration responded by pursuing policies to root out disloyal employees in government. At the same time, liberal anti-Communists, through groups such as the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), joined efforts to regain control of unions, political organizations, and student groups in which Communists had gained control. In Hollywood, studio executives blacklisted Communist screenwriters and actors who refused to swear loyalty oaths to the United States. The issue of Soviet espionage raised important issues for a democratic system founded on the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties.

The legal cases of American citizens accused of Soviet espionage revealed the precarious balance between protecting national security and preserving individual civil liberties. Government officials seeking legal prosecution of those accused of Soviet espionage found that their cases were often made difficult because their evidence of guilt was based on classified intelligence that, if revealed, would be of use to Soviet spies. As a result, catching one spy meant providing active Soviet espionage agents with detailed information about American intelligence operations.

In some cases, federal officials decided it was not worth it. As a consequence, a number of American agents working for the Soviet Union went scot-free.


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