Elizabeth Bentley

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Elizabeth Bentley
Elizabeth Bentley.jpg
Elizabeth Bentley in 1948
Born Elizabeth Terrill Bentley
(1908-01-01)January 1, 1908
New Milford, Connecticut
Died December 3, 1963(1963-12-03) (aged 55)
Grace-New Haven Hospital
New Haven, Connecticut
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality American
Alma mater Vassar College (1926–1930)
Columbia University (1933)
University of Florence
Occupation Teacher, Spy
Parent(s) Charles Prentiss Bentley
May Charlotte Turrill
Spying career
Allegiance Soviet Union (defected)
United States
Service Communist Party of the United States (defected)
Codename(s) Gregory

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley (January 1, 1908 – December 3, 1963) was an American spy for the Soviet Union from 1938 until 1945. In 1945, she defected from the Communist Party and Soviet intelligence and later (1952) became an informer for the U.S. She exposed two networks of spies, ultimately naming over 80 Americans who had engaged in espionage.[1][2]

Early life

Elizabeth Terrill[3] Bentley was born in New Milford, Connecticut, to Charles Prentiss Bentley, a dry-goods merchant, and May Charlotte Turrill, a schoolteacher.[4] In 1915 her parents had moved to Ithaca, New York, and by 1920, the family had moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and then to Rochester, New York.[5] Her parents were described as strait-laced old family Episcopalian New Englanders.[6]

She attended Vassar College, graduating in 1930 with a degree in English, Italian, and French.[7] In 1933, while she was attending graduate school at Columbia University, she won a fellowship to the University of Florence. While in Italy, she briefly joined a local student fascist group, the Gruppo Universitario Fascista.[8][9] Under the influence of her anti-Fascist faculty advisor Mario Casella, with whom she had an affair,[10] she soon moved to another part of the political spectrum, however. While completing her master's degree at Columbia University, she attended meetings of the American League Against War and Fascism. Although she would later state that she found Communist literature unreadable and "dry as dust,"[11] she was attracted by the sense of community and social conscience she found with her friends in the league. When she learned that most of them were members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA), she joined the party herself in March 1935.[12]

Espionage activity

Bentley's entry into espionage came at her own initiative. In 1935, she obtained a job at the Italian Library of Information in New York City; this was fascist Italy's propaganda bureau in the United States. She then reported to CPUSA headquarters, telling them of her willingness to spy on the fascists.[13] Juliet Stuart Poyntz, who also worked at the Italian Library of Information, approached and recruited Bentley.[14][15][16] The Communists were interested in the information Bentley could provide, and NKVD officer[17] Jacob Golos was assigned to be her contact and controller. Golos was a Russian émigré who had been a naturalized United States citizen since 1915.[18]

At this point, Bentley thought she was spying solely for the American Communist Party. In fact, Golos was one of the Soviet Union's most important intelligence agents in the United States. At the time when he and Bentley met, Golos was involved in planning the assassination of Leon Trotsky, which would take place in Mexico in 1940.[19] Bentley and Golos soon became lovers, although it would be more than a year before she learned his true name, and, according to her later testimony, two years before she knew that he was working for Soviet intelligence.

In 1940, two years into their relationship, the Justice Department forced Golos to register as an agent of the Soviet government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This made it dangerous for him to contact and take documents from the network of American spies he controlled, and he gradually transferred this responsibility to Bentley. Golos also needed someone to take charge of the day-to-day business of the United States Service and Shipping Corporation, a Comintern front organization for espionage activities.[20] Bentley stepped into this role as well. Although she was never directly paid for any of her espionage work, she would eventually earn $800 a month as vice president of U.S. Service and Shipping, a considerable salary for the time,[21] equivalent to $13,974 in 2017 (per month). As Bentley acquired an important role in Soviet intelligence, the Soviets gave her the code name Umnitsa, loosely translated as "Wise girl". (In some literature it is less correctly translated as "good girl".)

Silvermaster group

Most of Bentley's contacts were in what prosecutors and historians would later call the "Silvermaster group", a network of spies centered around Nathan Gregory Silvermaster. This network would become one of the most important Soviet espionage operations in the United States.[22] Silvermaster worked with the Resettlement Administration and later with the Board of Economic Warfare. He didn't have access to much sensitive information himself, but he knew several Communists and sympathizers within the government who were willing to pass information to him, and by way of Elizabeth Bentley, ultimately to Moscow. At this time, the Soviet Union and the United States were allies in the Second World War, and much of the information Silvermaster collected for the Soviets had to do with the war against Nazi Germany. It included secret estimates of German military strength, data on U.S. munitions production, and information on the Allies' schedule for opening a second front in Europe. The contacts in Golos and Bentley's extended network ranged from dedicated Stalinists to, in the words of Bentley's biographer Kathryn Olmsted, "romantic idealists" who "wanted to help the brave Russians beat the Nazi war machine".[23]

Conflicts with Soviet spymasters

Late in 1943, Jacob Golos suffered a fatal heart attack. After meeting with CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder, Bentley decided to continue her espionage work, taking Golos's place. Her new contact in Soviet intelligence was Iskhak Akhmerov, the leading NKGB Illegal Rezident, or undercover spy chief working without a diplomatic cover. Under orders from Moscow, Akhmerov wanted to have Bentley's contacts report directly to him. Bentley, Browder and Golos had been resisting this move, believing that an American intermediary was the best way to handle their sources, and fearing that Russian agents would endanger the American spies and possibly drive them away. With Browder's support, Bentley initially ignored a series of orders that she "hand over" her agents to Akhmerov. Indeed, she expanded her spy network when Browder gave her control over another group of agents. This was the "Perlo group", with contacts in the War Production Board, the United States Senate and the Treasury Department.[24]

Bentley had been noted as suffering from bouts of depression and having a drinking problem since her days in Florence. Now, despondent and lonely after the death of Golos and under increasing pressure from Soviet intelligence, she began to drink more heavily. She missed work at U.S. Service and Shipping, and neighbors described her as drinking "all the time".[25]

In early June 1944, Browder gave in to Akhmerov's demands and agreed to instruct the Silvermaster group to report directly to the NKGB. After her defection, Bentley would describe this as the event that turned her against Communism. "I discovered then that Earl Browder was just a puppet, that somebody pulled the strings in Moscow," she would say.[26] Her biographers suggest that Bentley's objections, rather than being ideological, were more a lifelong dislike for being given orders and a sense that the reassignments left her with no meaningful role.[27] Late in 1944, Bentley was ordered to give up all of her remaining sources, including the Perlo group she had recently acquired. Her Soviet superior also told her she would have to leave her position as vice president of U.S. Service and Shipping.

Break with Soviets

Things did not improve for Bentley in 1945. She began an affair with a man whom she came to suspect was either an FBI or a Soviet agent sent to spy on her, and her Soviet contact suggested that she should emigrate to the Soviet Union—a move Bentley feared would end with her execution.[28] In August 1945, Bentley went to the FBI office in New Haven, Connecticut and met with the agent in charge. She did not immediately defect, however. Instead, she seemed to be "feeling out" the FBI, and it would not be until November that she began to tell her full story to the FBI. In the meantime, her situation continued to worsen. In September she met with Anatoly Gorsky, her latest NKGB controller, and arrived at the meeting drunk.[29] She became angry with Gorsky, called him and his fellow Russian agents "gangsters", and obliquely threatened to become an informer. She soon realized that her tirade could have put her life in danger and, in fact, when Gorsky reported to Moscow, his recommendation was to "get rid of her".[30]

Moscow advised Gorsky to be patient with Bentley and calm her down. Only a few weeks later it was revealed that Louis Budenz, editor of the CPUSA newspaper and one of Bentley's sources, had defected. Budenz had not yet revealed any of his knowledge of espionage activity, but he knew Elizabeth Bentley's name and knew she was a spy. Imperiled on both sides, Bentley made her final decision to defect on November 6, 1945.[citation needed]

Defection and after

In a series of debriefing interviews with the FBI beginning November 7, 1945, Bentley implicated close to 150 people in spying for the Soviet Union,[31] including 37 federal employees. The FBI already suspected many of those she named, and some of them had been named by earlier defectors Igor Gouzenko and Whittaker Chambers, so the FBI was fairly confident that her story was genuine. They gave her the code name "Gregory," and J. Edgar Hoover ordered the strictest secrecy measures be taken to hide her identity and defection. Hoover advised Sir William Stephenson, head of British Security Coordination for the Western hemisphere, of Bentley's defection, and Stephenson duly notified London. However, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service's (SIS or "MI6") new Section IX (counter-espionage against the Soviet Union), was the Soviet double agent Kim Philby, who would flee to the Soviet Union in 1963. Philby promptly alerted Moscow, which immediately shut down all contact with Bentley's people, just as the FBI was beginning surveillance of them.[32] Bentley's NKGB contact Gorsky once again recommended to Moscow that she be "liquidated", and again Moscow rejected the idea.[33]

The breach of secrecy around Bentley's defection foiled a year-long attempt by the FBI to have her act as a double agent. Additionally, because of the shutdown of Soviet espionage activity, the FBI surveillance of the agents Bentley had named turned up no evidence that could be used to prosecute them.[34] Some 250 FBI agents were assigned to the Bentley case, following up the leads she had provided and, through phone tap, surveillance and mail openings, investigating people she had named. The FBI, grand juries and congressional committees would eventually interview many of these alleged spies, but all of them would either invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to testify or maintain their innocence.

For J. Edgar Hoover and a few highly placed FBI and army intelligence personnel, the definitive corroboration of Bentley's story came some time in the late 1940s to early 1950s, when the highly secret Venona project succeeded in decrypting some wartime cables sent between Soviet intelligence agents and Moscow. In these cables, Bentley was referred to by the codename she told to the FBI, and several of her contacts and documents she had collected were discussed.[35][36]

However, Venona was considered so secret that the US Government was unwilling to expose it by allowing it to be used as evidence in any trial. In fact, even presidents Roosevelt and Harry Truman were unaware of Venona; when Hoover delivered intelligence reports based on Venona data, the source of the information was not named.

Public testimony

With the chances of successful prosecution looking unlikely, Hoover chose to give Bentley's information to certain U.S. Congressmen with the understanding that the accused spies would be questioned before congressional committees, and the publicized suspicion and accusations would be sufficient to ruin their careers.[37] Additionally, Attorney General Tom C. Clark decided to present the Bentley case to a grand jury, although he thought there was little chance they would be able to return any indictments. Bentley's appearances before this grand jury lasted until April 1948, and during this time, some details of her case began to leak to the press.

However, Bentley decided to reveal her full story. She met with Nelson Frank and Norton Mockridge, journalists from the New York World-Telegram. During four consecutive days, the newspaper published a series of front-page stories about the unnamed "beautiful young blonde" who had exposed a ring of spies. The articles[38] were:

  • "Red Ring Bared by Blond Queen" (July 21, 1948)
  • "Super-Secrecy Veiled Russia's Spy Cells Here" (July 22, 1948)
  • "Citizens Tricked into Spy Ring by U.S. Reds" (July 23, 1948)
  • "Commie Chieftains Ordered Budenz to Aid Red Spy Queen" (July 26, 1948)

Almost immediately following the World-Telegram articles, Bentley was subpoenaed to testify at a public hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on July 31, 1948, (see hearing transcript[39]).

Descriptions and analyses of Bentley's testimony varied wildly with the politics of the reporter. The strongly anti-communist New York Journal-American described her as a "shapely" "blonde and blue-eyed New Yorker" who "lured" secrets from her sources, while A. J. Liebling of The New Yorker ridiculed her story and called her the "Nutmeg Mata Hari."[40] For her part, Bentley portrayed herself as naïve and innocent; corrupted by her liberal professors at Vassar and seduced into espionage by Golos.

Starting on August 3, 1948, during further HUAC hearings, Bentley received corroboration from Whittaker Chambers, who, under subpoena by HUAC, testified that he knew at least two of Bentley contacts, Victor Perlo and Charles Kramer as communists and members of his earlier Ware Group. He also supported her charge that Harry Dexter White, a prominent economist who had worked in the Treasury Department, was a Communist sympathizer. Of his testimony compared to hers, Chambers wrote in his memoir:

I knew that I was simply back-stopping Miss Bentley, that hers was the current testimony. The things that I had to tell were ten years old and I had only to let the shadows, dust and cobwebs conspicuously drape them to leave the stand unscathed.[41]

Still there was considerable skepticism in some quarters about Bentley's claims. Since some of those she accused were prominent figures in two Democratic administrations, Democrats in particular were eager to have her discredited. President Truman at one point characterized her testimony as a Republican-inspired "red herring." Republicans, in turn, accused Truman of "covering up" Communist espionage. Conflicts of this nature, along with the increasingly publicized hearings of HUAC, were setting the stage for McCarthyism, which would become a central factor in domestic American politics in the 1950s.

Meet the Press

On August 6, 1948, at 10:00 PM, Bentley appeared on NBC Radio's Meet the Press, broadcast via WOR.[42]

On Sunday, September 12, 1948, at 8:30 PM, she appeared on the first-ever television broadcast via WNBT of NBC's Meet the Press and was the first interviewed. Journalists included: Nelson Frank, Inez Robb, Cecil Brown, and Lawrence Spivak. Cecil Brown asked her three times whether she would accuse William Remington of being a communist outside of congressional protection, and she finally did so. Joseph L. Rauh Jr. defended him before a Truman Loyalty Review Board. His attorney Richard Green asked on Remington's behalf for her to withdraw the allegations by September 30. When she did not, Green filed a libel suit against Bentley, NBC, and its television sponsor General Foods Corporation on October 6, 1948. Bentley failed to appear in court in October. On December 29, 1948, Green said he had personally served a summons on her (while, on the same day, judges and lawyers agreed to suspend Alger Hiss's libel suit against Whittaker Chambers due to Justice indictments against Hiss on two counts of perjury two weeks before).[43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50]

Trials and credibility

Most of the people accused by Bentley invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer her charges. A few, however, specifically denied them. Most notable of these was Harry Dexter White. White was suffering from heart disease, and he died of a heart attack a few days after his testimony before HUAC. Others who denied Bentley's charges were Lauchlin Currie, formerly President Roosevelt's economic affairs advisor, William Remington and William Henry Taylor, both midlevel government economists, Duncan Lee, formerly with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Abe Brothman, a private sector chemist who worked on defense projects. In September 1948, William Remington sued Bentley and NBC for libel. In hopes of discrediting her, Remington's attorneys hired private detectives to look into her past. They were able to produce evidence of her alcoholism, her periods of severe depression and a suicide attempt while a student in Florence, that her master's thesis had been written by someone else, and that, by the standards of her day, she had been sexually promiscuous since her college days. Bentley declined to testify at a Remington loyalty board hearing, and NBC settled the libel case out of court for $10,000.

Bentley would give testimony in the trials of three accused spies: The perjury trial of William Remington, a case against Abe Brothman for obstruction of justice, and the famous case of the "atomic spies" Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Bentley's involvement with the Rosenberg case was peripheral. She was used to develop two points for the prosecution: first, the proclivity of American Communists to be spies for the Soviet Union; and second, to establish, if only vaguely in the jury's mind, a connection between Julius Rosenberg and Golos. She testified that she would receive calls from a man who identified himself as Julius, after which Golos would go out to meet him.

Bentley's personal life became increasingly tumultuous after her defection. She continued to drink heavily, was involved in car accidents and had a relationship with a man who beat her severely. She also avoided subpoenas on a number of occasions. These incidents, along with generally erratic behavior, led her FBI handlers to worry that she was "bordering on some mental pitfall".[51] Nevertheless, she was invariably calm and professional on the witness stand, earning praise from the prosecutors whose cases she was supporting. As she repeatedly testified before grand juries, congressional committees and jury trials, however, some details of her story became embellished over time. Information passed to her about a process for manufacturing synthetic rubber that was originally "vague" and "probably of no value" became "super-secret" and "an extremely complicated thing."[52] She would also assert that her espionage gave her advance notice of the Doolittle raid on Japan and the D-Day invasions, both claims that appeared to be exaggerated.[53]

William Remington

Remington's first trial began in late December 1950. Roy Cohn, later to become famous as Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel and already a noted anti-communist, joined the prosecution's legal team. "Elizabeth Bentley later supplied a wealth of detail about Remington's involvement with her and the espionage conspiracy. Remington's defense was that he had never handled any classified material, hence could not have given any to Miss Bentley. But she remembered all the facts about the rubber-from-garbage invention. We had searched through the archives and discovered the files on the process. We also found the aircraft schedules, which were set up exactly as she said, and inter office memos and tables of personnel which proved Remington had access to both these items. We also discovered Remington's application for a naval commission in which he specifically pointed out that he was, in his present position with the Commerce Department, entrusted with secret military information involving airplanes, armaments, radar, and the Manhattan Project (the atomic bomb)." [54]

During the trial eleven witnesses claimed they knew Remington was a communist. This included Elizabeth Bentley, Ann Remington, Professor Howard Bridgeman of Tufts University, Kenneth McConnell, a Communist organizer in Knoxville, Rudolph Bertram and Christine Benson, who worked with him at the Tennessee Valley Authority and Paul Crouch, who provided him with copies of the southern edition of the communist newspaper, the Daily Worker.[55]

Occupation currency plates

Bentley also testified that Harry Dexter White was responsible for passing treasury plates for printing Allied currency in occupied Germany to the Soviet Union, which then used them to print millions of marks.[56] Russian soldiers exchanged these marks for goods and hard currency, sparking a black market and serious inflation throughout the occupied country,[57] and costing the U.S. a quarter of a billion dollars.[58]

Bentley wrote in her 1951 autobiography Out of Bondage (New York: Devin-Adair, 1951) that she had been "able through Harry Dexter White to arrange that the United States Treasury Department turn the actual printing plates over to the Russians."[59] In her 1953 testimony before Joseph McCarthy's Senate subcommittee, she elaborated, testifying that she was following instructions from NKVD New York rezident Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov to pass word through Ludwig Ullmann and Nathan Gregory Silvermaster for White to "put the pressure on for the delivery of the plates to Russia."[60]

Bentley had not previously mentioned this in any of her earlier debriefings or testimonies, and there was no evidence at the time that Bentley had any role in this transfer. Bentley biographer Kathryn Olmsted concluded that Bentley was "lying about her role in the scandal",[61] citing historian Bruce Craig's conclusion "that the whole 'scheme' was a complete fabrication";[62] i.e., that neither Bentley nor Harry Dexter White had a role in the plate transfer.[63]

After the publication of Olmsted's 2002 biography, Bentley's testimony in this matter would be corroborated by a memorandum found in Soviet archives and also published in 2002. In it, Gaik Ovakimian, head of the American desk of the NKVD cites an April 14, 1944 report reporting that, "following our instructions" via Silvermaster, White had "attained the positive decision of the Treasury Department to provide the Soviet side with the plates for engraving German occupation marks."[64]

Since Bentley was the Soviet's contact to Silvermaster at this time, her involvement in this incident is substantiated.

After her defection, calls to give evidence before various bodies would become a fixture in Bentley's life for many years. Occasional consultations with the FBI would continue for the rest of her life. In 1952, she began taking payments for her testimony, making her a "paid informer" for the FBI.[65]

Though she had been a successful executive with a profitable shipping company while she was with the Communists, after her defection she earned a living first through secretarial work and then at a variety of teaching jobs.[66] Having been converted to Roman Catholicism by (later Archbishop) Fulton Sheen in 1948, she was frequently invited to lecture on the Communist threat by Catholic groups happy to pay her $300 fee.[67]


Bentley died on December 3, 1963, aged 55, from abdominal cancer at Grace-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. Obituaries appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.[68][69] However, in her biography of Bentley, Kathryn Olmsted notes a sharp contrast between the notice paid to Bentley's death and that of Whittaker Chambers, who had died two years earlier. The National Review, which had put out a special memorial issue on the death of Chambers, allotted only a paragraph to Elizabeth Bentley. Time magazine had devoted two pages to its Chambers obituary, but gave Bentley's death a two-sentence mention in its "Milestones" section.[70][71]


Although Bentley did not name Whittaker Chambers in her late July 1948 testimony, Robert E. Stripling stated that it was her testimony that made him "think of Chambers" and have him subpoenaed and appear only a few days after Bentley, thus launching the Hiss Case.[72]

In sum, Bentley exposed two networks of spies, ultimately naming over 80 Americans who had engaged in espionage for the Soviets.[73] Her public testimony, which began in July 1948, became a media sensation and had a major impact on Soviet espionage cases of the 1950s.[74]

However, Bentley provided no documentary evidence to support her claims, while the accuracy of her allegations underwent long years of dispute. In the 1990s, declassification of both Soviet documents and the U.S. codebreaking Venona project lent some credence to the basis of Bentley's allegations and showed that, after her defection, the Soviet Union temporarily suspended espionage activities in the United States. Nonetheless, some of Bentley's claims remain controversial due to questions about the accuracy of translations and vague nature of the exact identities of those with code names in Venona (along with several dubious claims made in the years following her defection to the United States).[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 100
  2. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2005-10-25). In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage. Encounter Books. pp. 76, 77. ISBN 1-59403-088-X.
  3. ^ Lauren Kessler's biography spells Bentley's middle name 'Turrill'. Kessler 2003, p. 14
  4. ^ "Red Spy Tells Of Childhood In Connecticut Town". Associated Press in Hartford Courant. August 4, 1948. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  5. ^ Kessler 2003, p. 15
  6. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 1
  7. ^ "The Network". Time. August 9, 1948. Retrieved 2008-05-29. She was born in Connecticut, graduated from Vassar (1930) and had taken an M.A. degree at Columbia.
  8. ^ "The Network". Time. August 9, 1948. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  9. ^ Galagher, Dorothy (November 3, 2002). "The Witness; review of Red Spy Queen". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 6"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
  11. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 122
  12. ^ Kessler 2003, p. 40
  13. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 18
  14. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 15
  15. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley". PBS NOVA: Secrets, Lpies, and Atomic Spies. 5 February 2002. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Juliet Poyntz". Sparacus Educational. 5 February 2002. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  17. ^ Benson, Robert Louis; Warner, Michael (March 19, 2007). "Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response 1939–1957". Central Intelligence Agency.
  18. ^ Kessler 2003, p. 63
  19. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 22
  20. ^ Kessler 2003, p. 77
  21. ^ Kessler 2003, p. 150
  22. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 45
  23. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 50, 51
  24. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 63–65
  25. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 67
  26. ^ Grand jury testimony in United States of America vs. Alger Hiss, quoted in Olmsted 2002, p. 69
  27. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 69, Kessler 2003, p. 100
  28. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 78
  29. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 93
  30. ^ Weinstein, Allen; Vassiliev, Alexander (2000). The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era. Modern Library. p. 102. ISBN 0-375-75536-5.
  31. ^ Amy W. Knight, How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (Carroll & Graf, 2006) ISBN 0-7867-1816-1, p. 93
  32. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 105
  33. ^ Weinstein, Allen; Vassiliev, Alexander (2000). The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era. Modern Library. pp. 106–108. ISBN 0-375-75536-5.
  34. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 106–107
  35. ^ Kessler 2003, pp. 144–147
  36. ^ Schrecker, Ellen (1998). Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Little, Brown. pp. 173, 174. ISBN 0-316-77470-7.
  37. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 117
  38. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series: 1948. 430. 1948. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, 80th Congress, 2nd Session, Public Law 601 (Section 121, Subsection Q (2))". Government Printing Office (via Archive.org). Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  40. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 134
  41. ^ Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. p. 533. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05.
  42. ^ "Progrsms on the Air: Radio". The New York Times. 6 August 1948. p. 34. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  43. ^ "Radio and Television: 'Meet the Press' Goes on NBC Video Network Starting Sunday". The New York Times. 10 September 1948. p. 46. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  44. ^ "Radio and Television Programs: Today's Leading Events: Television". The New York Times. 12 September 1948. p. X8. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  45. ^ "Remington Makes Libel Suit Threats". Washington Post. 24 September 1948. p. 10. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  46. ^ "Board Doubts If Remington Was Loyal". Washington Post. 29 September 1948. p. 3. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  47. ^ "Fact or Libel". Washington Post. 30 September 1948. p. 14. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  48. ^ "Remington Files $100,000 Libel Suit: Names Miss Bentley, Who Said He Was a Communist, NBC and Television Sponsor". The New York Times. 7 October 1948. p. 9. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  49. ^ "Leonard Lyons". The New York Times. 14 October 1948. p. B14. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  50. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley Served in Libel Suit". Washington Post. 30 December 1948. p. 10. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  51. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 161
  52. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 102, 163
  53. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 195
  54. ^ Roy Cohn, McCarthy (1968) page 38
  55. ^ William Remington
  56. ^ Van Hook, James C. (2005). "Review of Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case". Studies in Intelligence. 49 (1).
  57. ^ Radosh, Ronald (February 24, 2003). "The Truth-Spiller; review of Red Spy queen". National Review. [dead link]
  58. ^ Craig, R. Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. p. ch. 5. ISBN 0-7006-1311-0.
  59. ^ Bentley 1951, p. 241
  60. ^ "Testimony of Elizabeth Bentley," S. Prt. 107-84 – Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations (McCarthy Hearings 1953-54), Vol. 4, p. 3427
  61. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 187
  62. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 186
  63. ^ Craig, R. Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. p. 245. ISBN 0-7006-1311-0.
  64. ^ Schecter, Jerrold L. (2002). Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History. Potomac Books. p. 122. ISBN 1-57488-522-7.
  65. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 179–180
  66. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 112, 197–198, 200
  67. ^ Olmsted 2002, pp. 147–148, 150
  68. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley Is Dead at 55. Soviet Spy Later Aided U.S. Wartime Agent Went to F.B.I. in 1945. Testified at Trial of Rosenbergs". The New York Times. December 4, 1963. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  69. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley, Ex-Red Agent Who Bared Spy Network". Associated Press in The Washington Post. December 4, 1963. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  70. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 203
  71. ^ "Died". Time. December 13, 1963. Retrieved 2008-05-07. Elizabeth Turrill Bentley, 55, onetime Communist whose disclosures of wartime Soviet espionage led to the conviction of more than a dozen top Reds between 1948 and 1951; following surgery for an abdominal tumor; in New Haven, Conn.
  72. ^ Stripling, Robert E. (1949). The Red Plot Against America. Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania: Bell Publishing Company. pp. 95–96. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  73. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 100
  74. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2005-10-25). In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage. Encounter Books. pp. 76, 77. ISBN 1-59403-088-X.



Currently, two biographies of Elizabeth Bentley have been published:

  • Olmsted, Kathryn S. (2002). Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2739-8.
  • Kessler, Lauren (2003). Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-095973-8.

Other references

  • Bentley, Elizabeth (1951). Out of Bondage. Devin-Adair Publishing Company. p. 326. ISBN 0-8041-0164-7.
  • Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-8488-0958-4. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05.
  • Craig, R. Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1311-0.
  • Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2005). In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage. Encounter Books. ISBN 1-59403-088-X.
  • Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2000). Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08462-5.
  • May, Gary (1994). Un-American Activities: The Trials of William Remington. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504980-2.
  • Schrecker, Ellen (1998). Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-77470-7.
  • Usdin, Steven T. (2005). Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10874-5.
  • Trahair, Richard C.S. and Robert Miller (2008). Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. Enigma Books. ISBN 978-1-929631-75-9.
  • Weinstein Allen, & Vassiliev, Alexander (1998–1999). The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America -- The Stalin Era. Random House/Modern Library Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-375-75536-1.
  • Rafalko, Frank J. (ed.). "A Counterintelligence Reader, vol. 2, chap. 4: Venona" (PDF). Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 7, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-02.

External links

  • Vassiliev, Alexander (2003), Alexander Vassiliev's Notes on Anatoly Gorsky's December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks, retrieved 2012-04-21
The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) has the full text of former KGB agent Alexander Vassiliev's Notebooks, containing evidence on Bentley's cooperation with the Soviets.
  • An Interactive Rosenberg Espionage Ring Timeline and Archive
  • Scully, Eileen (April 2003). "Engendering Treachery; review of Red Spy Queen". Humanities and Social Sciences Online.
  • Truman Presidential Library Oral History Interview with Stephen J. Spingarn
  • Underground Soviet Espionage (NKVD) in Agencies of the United States Government October 21, 1946, FBI (350+ page file describing Bentley's allegations, and FBI surveillance reports on the people she named.)


  • Library of Congress
  • Getty Images
  • Vassar Encyclopedia
  • Vassar Info
  • Fine Art America
  • Wired
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  • Spartacus Educational
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  • AuthenticHistory.com
  • AllPosters.com


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  • NBC Meet the Press

Further reading

  • Kessler, Lauren (2003). Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-018519-8.
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