- Del Meyer, MD - http://delmeyer.net -

Modern Espionage may not BE RECOGNIZABLE


Modern information technology (IT) is sometimes not well understood. It may be employed in such a way that its use can be hidden. It may be well hidden for such a long time that national damage may have been done and its perpetrators can no longer be apprehended. While we may remember how spies operated in the cold war which commenced after the Second World War, the nature of the current damage may not yet be apparent. The genre of spy stories written around the mid twentieth century well displayed the risks of passing information physically and physically receiving monies subsequently. Today’s perpetrators, however, may be living normal lives amongst us and have escaped detection, prosecution and punishment.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple convicted of the charge of conspiracy to commit espionage in 1951, were put to death in the electric chair. The execution marked the dramatic finale of the most controversial espionage case of the Cold War.

Julius was arrested in July 1950, and Ethel in August of that same year. Specifically, they were accused of heading a spy ring that passed top-secret information concerning the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. The Rosenbergs vigorously protested their innocence, but after a brief trial in March 1951 they were convicted. On April 5, 1951, a judge sentenced them to death. The pair was taken to Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, to await execution since the federal government had no electric chair. During the next two years, the couple became the subject of both national and international debate.

Many people believed that the Rosenbergs were the victims of a surge of hysterical anticommunist feeling in the United States, and protested that the death sentence handed down was cruel and unusual punishment. Most Americans, however, believed that the Rosenbergs had been dealt with justly. President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke for many Americans when he issued a statement declining to invoke executive clemency for the pair. He stated, “I can only say that, by immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic war, the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done.”

Julius Rosenberg was the first to be executed, at about 8 p.m. on June 19, 1953. Just a few minutes after his body was removed from the chamber containing the electric chair, Ethel Rosenberg was led in and strapped to the chair. She was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed their innocence right up to the time of their deaths. Two sons, Michael and Robert, survived them.

The Rosenbergs were convicted and sentenced to death by Judge Kaufman under Section 2 of the Espionage Act of 1917, 50 U.S. Code 32 (now 18U.S. Code 794), which was passed shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I. It was intended to prevent the support of United States enemies during wartime by prohibiting transmitting or attempting to transmit to foreign government information “relating to the national defense”.[30] Prosecutor Roy Cohn, who would play a major role assisting Joseph McCarthy with his hearings as his chief counsel, later claimed that his influence led to both Kaufman and Irving Saypol, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, being appointed to the case, and that Kaufman imposed the death penalty based on Cohn’s personal recommendation.[31]

In imposing the death penalty, Kaufman noted that he held the Rosenbergs responsible not only for espionage but also for the deaths of the Korean War:

“I consider your crime worse than murder… I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-Bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country. No one can say that we do not live in a constant state of tension. We have evidence of your treachery all around us every day for the civilian defense activities throughout the nation are aimed at preparing us for an atom bomb attack.”[32]

No one in this day and age would physically transfer top secret classified information to a spy in return for money physically handed over. It may take another generation to fully appreciate how this transfer occurs in our technologically sophisticated society. But those of us, who work in government, appreciate the rigors we go through to ensure our email is fully protected and secure. Working in the VA, I’m interrupted at least 20 to 30 times a day to enter my password or my signature before my email is sent or an email is received. We are daily monitored as we work in this environment.

It is incredible that Hillary Clinton, an attorney, was able to circumvent this secret and secure environment by simply making secret and classified information available in a personal data base with the probable knowledge that our enemies in Russian and China (and possibly Iran and North Korea) were surreptitiously obtaining this information directly from her inbox in which case she didn’t have to make a deal for payment from our foes that could be discoverable. Did she get paid by a seemingly unrelated venture?

She and her husband, Bill Clinton, developed a foundation to store the huge wealth they were extracting from a number of countries, some of which were not our allies, for non-tainted information given in speeches. Mr Clinton has received up to three quarter million dollars for a speech of one hour. This calculates to more than $10,000 per minute speaking. This is not consistent with a market price even for a speech of extreme importance. The available information does not indicate that. It had to include something else of value in return.

Mrs. Clinton was indicted by the head of the FBI as being “careless.” But what if she may have been extremely careful and shrewd in order to make Top Secret information available that didn’t appear to be lawless—just careless? The FBI Director apparently felt he didn’t want to take the risk of prosecution. However, he did state that some of the email that were hacked were top secret. Does that make him guilty of collusion?

The Russians and the Chinese and possibly North Korea and Iran were able to access these secret and classified documents, (similar to what the Rosenbergs did in transferring physical documents), by modern sophisticated information technology, simply by hacking into the Clinton inboxes. Didn’t Clinton commit the same crime of espionage and treason that the Rosenbergs did? Why weren’t we allowed to see these messages before the hard discs and computers were destroyed? Aren’t the Clintons a team similar to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? Haven’t they [i]hoodwinked our Nation? Shouldn’t they be prosecuted for the same crime as Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg? If found guilty, shouldn’t they receive the same sentence?

Mrs. Clinton was recently interviewed on CNN. She admitted that she has been running for the presidency for more than 12 years but still could not render an opinion as to why she wanted to be president. If she had been able to capture the White House being guilty of espionage, would we have then found out the reason why? Would America feel comfortable with having a traitor at its helm? Would the world have become more peaceful? Or would we be heading towards our own Armageddon?

We should be thankful that the elections and the Electoral College spared us this scenario.

Del Meyer, MD
Pulmonologist (Ret)
1300 Words

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