The Corps of
Intelligence Police
From 1917 to

ONI Message

Attorney General
Harlan Stone's

Special Committee
to Investigate

Program, 1936-38

The Search for
Japanese Spies

Special House
Committee for the
Investigation of


FBI Intelligence
Authority and

Letters To/From

Directive of
September 6, 1939

The Scope of
FBI Domestic

Between the Wars

Between the Wars


Between the Wars

End Notes


Attorney General Harlan Stone's Reforms

In April 1924, a new Attorney General took charge of a scandal-ridden Department of Justice. Harlan Fiske Stone, former Dean of the Columbia Law School, had been appointed by President Calvin Coolidge to replace the late President Warren Harding's political crony Harry Daugherty. Stone confronted more than simply corruption in the Justice Department when he took office. The Department's Bureau of Investigation had become a secret political police force. As Stone recalled later, "The organization was lawless, maintaining many activities which were without any authority in federal statutes, and engaging in many practices which were brutal and tyrannical in the extreme."50

Attorney General Stone asked for the resignation of the Bureau Director William J. Burns, former head of the Burns Detective Agency, and directed that the activities of the Bureau "be limited strictly to investigations of violations of the law, under my direction or under the direction of an Assistant Attorney General regularly conducting the work of the Department of Justice." Stone also ordered a review of the entire personnel of the Bureau, the removal of "those who are incompetent and unreliable," and the future selection of "men of known good character and ability, giving preference to men who have had some legal training."51 The Attorney General chose the young career Bureau official, J. Edgar Hoover, as Acting Director to implement these reforms, largely because of Hoover's reputation within the Justice Department as an honest and efficient administrator.52

John Edgar Hoover

A principal problem Stone faced was the Bureau's domestic intelligence operation. He was vividly aware of the violations of individual rights committed in the name of domestic security at the time of the 1920 "Palmer raids." He had joined a committee of protest against Attorney General Palmer's round up of radical aliens for deportation and had urged a congressional investigation. When a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee began hearings in 1921, its first order of business was a letter from Stone calling for "a thoroughgoing investigation of the conduct of the Department of Justice in connection with the deportation cases."53

In considering J. Edgar Hoover for the position of permanent Director of the Bureau of Investigation, Attorney General Stone was aware that he had played a major role in the "Palmer raids" as head of the Justice Department's General Intelligence Division. Roger Baldwin of the American Civil Liberties Union told Stone that he was skeptical of Hoover's ability to reform the Bureau.

With the Attorney General's knowledge, Baldwin met with Hoover to discuss the future of the Bureau. Hoover assured Baldwin that he had played an "unwilling part" in the activities of Palmer, Daugherty, and Burns. He said he regretted their tactics but had not been in a position to anything about them. He intended to help Stone build and efficient law enforcement agency, employing law school graduates, severing connections with private detective agencies, and not issuing propaganda. Most important from the American Civil Liberties Union's point of view, the Bureau's "radical division" would be disbanded. Baldwin wrote Stone, "I think we were wrong in our estimate of his attitude," and announced to the press that the ACLU believed the Justice Department's "red-hunting" days were over.54

When Attorney General Stone arrived in 1924, he requested a review of the applicability of the federal criminal statutes to Communist activities in the United States. Various patriotic organizations had urged that Communists be prosecuted under the federal sedition conspiracy law, but the courts had
ruled that this Civil War statute required proof of a definite plan to use force against the government.55 Justice Department lawyers also rejected prosecution under the Logan Act, enacted in the 1790s to punish hostile communications between American citizens and a foreign country.56 These conclusions buttressed the Attorney General's decision to abolish the Bureau's domestic intelligence operations, although Stone told Roger Baldwin of the ACLU that he had no authority to destroy the Bureau's intelligence files, without an Act of Congress.57

Attorney General Stone may also have contemplated the possibility of future investigations under Congress's prewar revision of the Justice Department appropriations statute. He asked Acting Director Hoover whether the Bureau would have the authority to investigate Soviet and Communist activities within the United States for the State Department in connection with the question of recognition of the Soviet government. Hoover replied that the appropriations act did allow such investigations, upon formal request by the Secretary of State and approval of the Attorney General. The
Acting Director stressed that such investigations "should be conducted on an entirely different line than previously conducted by the Bureau of Investigation" and that there should be no publicity "because any publicity would materially hamper the obtaining of successful results."58

After 1924, the Bureau of Investigation continued to receive information volunteers to it about Communist activities, and Bureau field offices were ordered to forward such data to headquarters. But the Bureau made "no investigations of such activities, inasmuch as it does not appear that there is any violation of a Federal Penal Statute involved."59 Military intelligence officers still had a duty, under an Army emergency plan, to gather information "with reference to the economical, industrial and radical conditions, to observe incidents and events that may develop into strikes, riots, or other disorders and to investigate and report upon the industrial and radical situation."

However, by 1925 the military lacked adequate personnel and requested the Bureau of Investigation to provide information on "radical conditions."60 J. Edgar Hoover replied that the Bureau had discontinued "general investigations into radical activities," but would communicate to the military any information received from specific investigations of federal violations "which may appear to be of interest" to the military.61

Despite the curtailment of federal intelligence operations, it would be misleading to say that domestic intelligence operations ceased in the United States after 1924. The efforts of state and local authorities to investigate possible violations of state sedition laws continued in many parts of the country. Moreover, private industry engaged the services of detectives and informers to conduct surveillance of labor organizing activities. These industrial espionage programs reached their peak in the early 1930's.

A Senate committee investigations in 1936 exposed these tactics and influenced at least one private detective firm, the Pinkerton Agency, to discontinue its anti-labor spying. The Senate inquiry documented the efficient techniques developed by labor spies for destroying unions. They wreaked havoc on union locals, generating mistrust, inciting violence, and reporting the identities of union members to hostile employers.62

On one major occasion early in the Depression, military intelligence was reactivated temporarily. Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur ordered corps area commanders in mid-1931 to submit reports on subversive activities in their areas. When the "bonus marchers" began arriving in Washington in 1932 to demand veteran benefits, military intelligence agents investigated Communist influence with the help of American Legion officials, reserve officers, and other volunteers.

Military intelligence reports exaggerating the threat of "insurrectionists" among the veteran protestors contributed to the decision to use troops in a mass assault to clear the demonstrators out of Washington. Criticism of this operation led military authorities to instruct that intelligence officers be more discreet although they continued to gather intelligence on civilian groups.63


Therefore, while Attorney General Stone had stopped the Justice Department's intelligence efforts in 1924, safeguards did not exist against state, private or military intelligence operations. Moreover, the Bureau of Investigation retained its massive domestic intelligence files from the 1916-1924 period, as well as the vague legal authority under the appropriations act to conduct investigations going beyond the detection of federal crimes if a future Attorney General and a Secretary of State should direct it to do so.

Nevertheless, when Congressman Hamilton Fish and members of a Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities in the United States proposed legislation authorizing the Bureau of Investigation to investigate "Communist and revolutionary activity" in 1931, Director Hoover opposed it. He told Congressman Fish that it would be better to enact a criminal statute and not expand the Bureau's power beyond criminal investigation, especially since the Bureau had "never been established by legislation" and operated "solely on an appropriation bill."64

Hoover advised the Attorney General a year later,

The work of the Bureau of Investigation at this time is...of an open character not in any manner subject to criticism, and the operations of the Bureau of Investigation may be given the closest scrutiny at all times...The conditions will materially differ were the Bureau to embark upon a policy of investigative activity into conditions which, from a federal standpoint, have not been declared illegal and in connection with which no prosecution might be instituted. The Department and the Bureau would undoubtedly be subject to charges in the matter of alleged secret and undesirable well as to allegations involving charges of the use of "Agents Provocateur."
Hoover assumed that the Immigration Bureau with jurisdiction to deport Communist aliens conducted such investigation and, if it did not, "would be subject to criticism for its laxity along these lines." Thus, the Director's position was not based on opposition to the idea of domestic intelligence itself, but rather on his concern for possible criticism of the Bureau if it were to resume "undercover" activities which would be necessary "to secure a foothold in Communistic inner circles" and "to keep fully informed as to changing policies and secret propaganda on the part of Communists."65


Letter Hoover to Lang

September 18, 1925

Commander E.K. Lang
Office of Naval Intelligence
Navy Department
Washington, D.C.

There has just come to my attention certain information which I thought might be of some interest and value to you. The son of a friend of mine in New York has succeeded in picking up Nijui Novgorod Soviet Government Radio laboratory on his short wave set. The transmission is now experimental, as announced by the operation of the Soviet station.

It has occurred to me that the Navy short wave station might probably be interested in this information and might be able to pick up some code which would be interesting to decipher. The set which the son of this friend of mine is using was made by him and I have no doubt but that other parties who really have an interest in getting information from Russia are operating sets that are receiving messages from the Soviet station. Knowing that the Soviets are still disseminating propaganda and are in touch with parties on this side, it occurred to me that the medium of the radio would be excellent to use in sending code messages.

Very truly yours,

/s/ J. Edgar Hoover


Navy Department Memo
Navy Department
Office of Chief of Naval Operations

22 September 1925

From: Officer-in-Charge, Code and Signal Section
To: Lieut. Comdr. E.K. Lang, U.S.N.

SUBJECT: Messages from Nujui Novgorod Soviet Government Radio Laboratory
Reference: Letter from Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, of 18 September 1925

1. The Navy short wave receiving sets are all engaged in handling traffic or in experimental work and cannot be spared for the purpose of copying foreign traffic in which the State Department may be interested.

2. It is suggested that you request this amateur, through Mr. Hoover, to copy such traffic from the Nujui Novgorod Radio Laboratory as he can, and forward it direct to the Office of Naval Intelligence. This traffic will probably be in plain language (if for propaganda) and can be translated by your Translating Section.

3. Such parts of this traffic as may be in cipher can be forwarded to the Code and Signal Section.

/s/ D. J. Friedell

Special Committee To Investigate
Un-American Activities

This committee was established in 1934 and chaired by Representative John W. McCormack from Massachusetts. The committee was charged with investigating activities by Communists, Nazis and Fascists. The committee concluded that communism was not sufficiently strong enough to harm the United States but its continued growth did represent a future danger to the country. The committee's report cited that attempts were being made from abroad and by diplomatic or consular officials to influence Americans. They also found that some efforts were being made to organize some of the citizens and resident aliens and said that constitutional rights of Americans had to be preserved from these "isms." They found Nazism, Fascism and Communism all to be equally dangerous and unacceptable to American interest.

To solve the problem, the Committee recommended that a law be enacted:

1. that required the registration of all publicity, propaganda, or public relations agents, or other agents who represent any foreign country;

2. that the Secretary of Labor have authority to shorten or terminate any visit to the United States by any foreign visitor traveling on a temporary visa if that person engaged in propaganda activities;

3. that the Department of State and Department of Labor negotiate treaties with other nations to take back their citizens who are deported;

4. that Congress make it unlawful to advise, counsel or urge any military or naval member, including the reserves, to disobey the laws and regulations governing such forces;

5. that Congress enact legislation so the U.S. Attorneys outside the District of Columbia can proceed against witnesses who refuse to answer questions, produce documents or records or refuse to appear or hold in contempt the authority of any Congressional investigating committee; and

6. that Congress make it unlawful for any person to advocate the overthrow or destruction of the United States Government or the form of government guaranteed to the States by Article IV of the fourth section of the Constitution.

On the basis of the Committee's recommendation, Congress enacted the McCormack Foreign Agents Registration Act in 1938.


The FBI Intelligence Program, 1936-1938

Instructions were issued to FBI agents immediately after Director Hoover's meeting with the President and the Secretary of State. FBI field offices were ordered "to obtain from all possible sources information concerning subversive activities being conducted in the United States by Communists, Fascists, representatives or advocates of other organizations or groups advocating the overthrow or replacement of the Government of the United States by illegal methods."66

Theoretically, this directive included purely domestic matters besides the international Communist and Fascists movements. There is no indication; however, that the President or the Attorney General were advised of this order; and the communications between the FBI Director and his superiors made no mention of advocacy of overthrow of the government. Instead, the terms used in 1936 were "general intelligence" and subversive activities."

Following the Hoover-Roosevelt meetings, FBI officials also began developing a systematic organization for intelligence information "concerning subversive activities." The following general classifications were adopted:


Maritime Industry

Activities in Government Affairs

Activities in the Steel Industry

Activities in the Coal Industry

Activities in the Newspaper Field

Activities in the Clothing, Garment and Fur Industries

General Strike Activities

Activities in the Armed Forces of the United States

Activities in Educational Institutions

General Activities—Communist Party and Affiliated Organizations

Activities of the Fascists

Anti-Fascists Movements

Activities in Organized Labor Organizations


Steps were also taken to determine whether certain individuals were "available for service in the capacity of an informant," to "index the material previously submitted," and to "prepare memoranda dealing individually with those persons whose names appear prominently at the present time in the subversive circles." The Director was to receive daily memoranda on "major developments in any field" of subversive activities.67

The President's instructions had dealt with relations between the FBI and other federal agencies. At this initial meeting with Hoover, the President said that the Secret Service "had assured him that they had informants in every Communist group," but Roosevelt believed this" was solely for the purpose of getting any information upon plots upon his life." He told Hoover that the Secret Service "was not to be brought in on this matter of protecting his life and the survey which he desired to have made with on a much broader field." In addition, the President suggested that Hoover "endeavor to coordinate any investigation along similar lines which might be made by the Military or Naval Intelligence Services."68

The Director told his subordinates that he had advised the Attorney General that he would "coordinate, as the President suggested, information upon these matters in the possession of the Military Intelligence Division, the Naval Intelligence Division, and the State Department.69

The FBI and the military intelligence proceeded along these lines in 1937-1938. The President designated Attorney General Cummings "as Chairman of a Committee in inquire into the so-called espionage situation" in October 1938, and to report on the need for "an additional appropriation for domestic intelligence." The Attorney General advised the President that a "well defined system" was functioning, made up of the FBI, the Military Intelligence Division, and the Office of Naval Intelligence, whose heads were "in frequent contact and are operating in harmony." He recommended that the appropriations be increased by $35,000 each for MID and ONI and by $300,000 for the FBI. He also submitted a plan prepared by Director Hoover in consultation with the military agencies. He observed that "no additional legislation to accomplish the general objectiveness seems to be required" and that "the matter should be handled in strictest confidence."70

The FBI Director's memorandum spelled out the reasons why legislation was considered undesirable. Hoover believed the FBI's expansion could "be covered" by the language in the appropriations statute relating to "other investigations" conducted for the State Department: 71

Under this provision investigations have been conducted in years pasts for the State Department of matters which do not in themselves constitute a specific violation of a Federal Criminal Statute, such as subversive activities. Consequently, this provision is believed to be sufficiently broad to cover any expansion of the present intelligence and counter-espionage work which it may be deemed necessary to carry on. . . .

In considering the steps to be taken for the expansion of the present structure of intelligence work, it is believed imperative that it be proceeded with, with the utmost degree of secrecy in order to avoid criticism or objections which might be raised to such an expansion by either ill-informed persons or individuals having some ulterior motive. The word "espionage" has long been a word that has been repugnant to the American people and it is believed that the structure which is already in existence is much broader than espionage or counterespionage, but covers in a true sense real intelligence values to the three services interested, namely, the Navy, the Army, and Justice. Consequently, it would seem undesirable to seek any special legislation which would draw attention to the fact that it was proposed to develop a special counter-espionage drive of any great magnitude.72

Hoover noted that Army and Navy Intelligence did not need additional legislation "since their activities...are limited to matters concerning their respective services."

The FBI Director reviewed the current and proposed future operations of each of the three intelligence agencies. The FBI had set up a General Intelligence Section to investigative and correlate information dealing with "activities of either a subversive or a so-called intelligence type."

Each FBI field office had "developed contacts with various persons in professional, business, and law enforcement fields" to obtain this information. The following was a break-down of the subject matter in the Intelligence Section: "Maritime; government; industry (steel, automobile, coal, mining, and miscellaneous); general strikes; armed forces; education institutions Fascists; Nazi; organized labor; Negroes; youth; strikes; newspaper field; and miscellaneous." All information "of a subversive or general intelligence character pertaining to any of the above" was reviewed and filed at FBI headquarters, with index cards on individuals which made it possible to identify the persons "engaged in any particular activity, either in any section of the country or in a particular industry or movement."

This index then included "approximately 2500 names...of the various types of individuals engaged in activities of Communism, Nazism, and various types of foreign espionage." In addition, the FBI had "developed a rather extensive library of general intelligence matters, including sixty-five daily, weekly, and monthly publications, as well as many pamphlets and volumes dealing with general intelligence activities." From both investigative sources and research, the FBI from time to time prepared " show the growth and extent of certain activities."73

The Office of Naval Intelligence and the Military Intelligence Division were concerned with "subversive activities that undermine the loyalty and efficiency" of Army and Navy personnel or civilians involved in military construction and maintenance; with sabotage of military facilities or of "agencies contributing o the efficiency:" of the military; and with "spy activities that may result in divulgence of information to foreign countries or to persons when such divulgence is contrary to the interests of our national defense." However, MID and ONI lacked trained investigators, and they relied on the FBI "to conduct investigative activity in strictly civilian matters of a domestic character." The three agencies exchanged information of interest o one another, both in the field and at headquarters in Washington.

For the future, all three agencies agreed that other federal agencies should be excluded from intelligence work since others were "less interested in matters of general intelligence and counter-intelligence." And because "the more circumscribed this program is, the more effective it will be and the less danger there is of its becoming a matter of general public knowledge." The FBI hoped to expand its personnel so that it could assign an agent specializing in intelligence to each of its forty-five field offices and could reopen offices in Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. Additional funds would also be used to expand FBI facilities for "specialized training in general intelligence work."74

Director Hoover met with the President in November 1938 and learned that he had instructed the Budget Bureau "to include in the Appropriations estimate $50,000 for Military Intelligence, $50,000 for Naval Intelligence and $150,000 for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to handle counter-espionage activities." The President also said "that had approved the plan which (Hoover) had prepared and which had been sent to him by the Attorney General," except for the revised budget figures. 75


The Search For Japanese Spies

The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) suspected that the Japanese naval attaché office at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. controlled their spy operations throughout the United States. Under ONI guidance, efforts were increased to cover Japanese activities, including surveillance of Embassy military officials and suspected Japanese naval officers posing as students at major American universities. Their efforts resulted in the expulsion of Japanese assistant naval attaché, Yoshiro Kanamoto, who was caught photographing the U.S. Navy's fuel oil reserve depot at Point Loma and sketching the North Island Naval Air Station.

William D. Puleston, ONI Director, took a personal interest in the so-called language students. "The personality and movements of Japanese language officers are matters of greatest interest to this office, because experience in the past has shown that they engage in illegal activities." ONI was able to confirm the Director's concerns about this perceived threat from deciphering Japanese coded radio messages.

In reviewing a Japanese message, a cryptoanalyst, Miss Aggie Driscoll, had marked a section with contained the word "TO-MI-MU-RA." Not knowing what it meant, Miss Aggie, as her colleagues called her, showed the message to a Japanese language expert. The expert initially said that the word could reflect a Japanese name but Miss Aggie did not buy that explanation. The expert next suggested that the part of the word "mura" means town but also has an alternate meaning of "son." By putting the first part of the word with "son," the word becomes "Tomison or Thompson. ONI now a lead to a possible spy.

The lead led to Harry J. Thompson, a clerk in the Navy, who was contacting his ex-shipmates on behalf of the Japanese. His case officer was Commander Miyazaki, who was in the United States under English language student cover. When the FBI arrested Thompson, Miyazaki suddenly left the United States for Japan. Thompson was convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917 and sentenced to fifteen years at McNeil Island.

The radio traffic also revealed another possible American spy, codenamed Agent K. ONI investigation resulted in identifying Agent K as John Semer Farnsworth.

Photograph of John Semer Farnsworth
in the US Naval Academy Yearbook


John Semer Farnsworth was arrested on 14 July 1937 and charged with selling confidential papers of the U.S. Navy to an agent of the Japanese government. Farnsworth, a former Lt. Commander, was held on $10,000 bond and confined to the Washington, D.C. jail until his preliminary hearing.

The Japanese embassy depicted the charges as "astonishing" and stated that the first time they heard of Farnsworth was on the day before his arrest when someone called the embassy twice to ask for money in connection with a recent spy case. The spy case the embassy was referring to involved a former navy enlisted man, Harry T. Thompson, who was convicted and sentenced at Los Angeles, California for selling naval secrets to a Japanese agent.

FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, denied the arrest of Farnsworth was connected to the Thompson case. Thompson was the first man convicted of espionage since World War I. The U.S. Navy said that Farnsworth and Thompson are the only two such espionage cases in the history of the navy. Later years would see many more such cases.

Farnsworth, born 13 August 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1911. The Naval Academy yearbook described Farnsworth as "daring and reckless." The writer of the account stated that if Farnsworth had resided in the days of the old navy, he "would have been famous for his desperate deeds and hairbreadth escapes." The writer closed his remarks with a quote from John Milton, "He can, I know, but doubt to think he will."

After his graduation in 1915, he was assigned to the Asiatic fleet, where in 1916 he went aboard the S.S. Galveston. He returned to the United States in 1917 and was given the temporary rank of lieutenant. His next assignment was in 1920 when he took flight training at Pensacola Air Station. He completed his training in 1922 and received ratings on seaplanes and airships. Farnsworth returned to Annapolis for a post-graduate course and then on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a college in New York to complete his post-graduate studies.

He was assigned to duty with VO Squadron 6, Aircraft Squadron, Scouting Fleet. Farnsworth, considered to be one of the most brilliant of the navy's young officer, was court-martialed in 1927. He was dismissed from the service on 12 November 1927 for conduct "tending to impair the morale of the service" and for "scandalous conduct tending to the destruction of good morale. The official explanation for the dismissal of one of the Navy's bright future stars was that Farnsworth borrowed money from enlisted men and committed perjury in disclaiming indebtedness.

Farnsworth was under surveillance for two years by Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and FBI officers. Surveillance began after Farnsworth visited Annapolis where he was reported to have pushed the wife of a high-ranking navy officer to allow him to read official documents. The wife reported the incident to Navy authorities. Since the case concerned a former navy officer and navy equities, ONI and the FBI jointly worked the investigation.

Farnsworth was destitute and needed money. To try to solve his problem, he began to recontact former associates to solicit documents. The warrant for his arrest charged that "on or about May 15, 1935," Farnsworth sold to a Japanese agent a confidential Navy publication, "The Service of Information and Security." The warrant stated that Farnsworth, "did with intent and reason to believe that the same was to be used to the injury of the United States, and to the advantage of a certain foreign nation, communicate, deliver and transmit to an officer and agent of the imperial Japanese navy a certain document and writing relating to the national defense-to wit, a certain book entitled `The Service of Information and Security,' a confidential publication of the U.S. Navy.

This publication was first issued in 1916 under the title, "Scouting and Screening," but the title was changed in 1917 to the present title. The publication contains plans for battle information and tactics that were gathered from actual fleet maneuvers and tested by high-ranking naval officials.

On 17 July 1937, Farnsworth admitted to a journalist that he did show photographs of U.S. Navy aviation equipment to a Japanese agent while he was negotiating employment with the Japanese Air Force. He said that the photographs were available to anyone from the U.S. Navy's Public Relations Office. He also said that he included with the official photographs, some of his own photos taken during his naval service. He was attempting to demonstrate to the Japanese his experience and knowledge by including the photographs with his employment application.

He told the journalist that he had accidentally sent the document, mentioned in the warrant, home with his personal affects when he left the navy. He said the document, along with other personal items, was destroyed by a fire at his house. He denied passing the document to the Japanese agent.

Three days later, Farnsworth informed a newsman that he did sell two articles or monographs on naval subjects to the Japanese agent for $1,000. He said the articles were not classified. One of the articles was on a London naval conference and the other on naval aviation training.

The case was given to a grand jury. During the grand jury testimony it was revealed that Farnsworth had telephoned the Japanese embassy twice on the day before his arrest. Lt. Commander Leslie G. Genhres testified that Farnsworth took the confidential study from his desk in the Navy Department on 1 August 1934. An employee of the navy photostat plant, Mrs. Grace Jamieson, said that Farnsworth made frequent visits to the plant to copy military documents.

Based on the evidence presented, the grand jury indicted Farnsworth on two charges. The first charge was that Farnsworth actually transmitted the confidential book to an agent of Japan and the second count alleges an attempt to transmit the volume.

At the upcoming trial, Farnsworth faced a maximum penalty of 20 years, authorized under the provisions of the law making it illegal in peacetime "to disclose information affecting the nation's defense. Farnsworth said he would base his defense on an aircraft accident he had when he was an aviation student at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Navy said it had no record of such an accident but Farnsworth's parents insisted that their son had been "irresponsible: since the accident.

In November 1936, Farnsworth's lawyer asked the court-martial commission to have the American Consul General in Tokyo take depositions from the two Japanese naval officers with whom Farnsworth was alleged to have conspired. The two officers, Yosiyuki Itimiya and Akira Yamaki, both Lt. Commanders of the Imperial Japanese Navy, were formerly stationed at the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. as naval observers. Farnsworth's lawyer argued that since the two Japanese officers were no longer accredited to the United States as diplomats, they could freely testify and that their answers to defense questions were material to the case.

In December, Japan refused to authorize its naval officers to present testimony to any disposition in the Farnsworth case. The embassy noted that Japanese law could not compel its military officers to answer interrogations of foreign nations.

On 15 February 1937, Farnsworth changed his innocent plea to nolo contendere and threw himself on the mercy of the court. The prosecution had a list of fifty witnesses ready to testify against Farnsworth. The judge said he wanted to review the aspects of the case before pronouncing sentence. A few days later, Farnsworth requested to again change his plea from nolo contendere to not guilty. In his written request to the judge, he said that he made his decision without the advice of his counsel and it based on the publicity the case received. He claimed that his family suffered from the publicity and he was under the mistaken impression that his nolo contendere plea would not bring such adverse notoriety. The judge said that Farnsworth was in his rights to change his plea before sentencing and that he would hear Farnsworth's motion.

This was the first in a series of moves by Farnsworth to have his case dismissed. Farnsworth's lawyers withdrew from the case, and Farnsworth tells the judge that he will conduct his own defense. His next move was to file a writ of habeas corpus to get released from prison. He argued that the facts alleged in the indictment, under which he was convicted, did not constitute a crime. He claimed that he did not understand nolo contendere meant guilty and wanted to withdraw the plea but the court rejected it. The judge denied his writ and upheld the indictment.

Farnsworth was sentenced on 27 February 1937 to serve "not less than four years nor more than twelve years in prison."

In January 1938, Farnsworth again appealed the judge's decision in the writ of habeus corpus. He alleged that the court erred in holding a petitioner could not be released "from unlawful imprisonment" by habeas corpus proceedings; that the trial court did not have the jurisdiction in the case and that the court did not have the power to pronounce an indeterminate sentence. Farnsworth's sentence was upheld by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for conspiracy to divulge military secrets to Japan. The court ruled that Farnsworth and others conspired "to communicate and transmit to a foreign government-to wit Japan- writings, code books, photographs and plans relating to the national defense with the intent that they should be used to the injury of the United States."


Special House Committee ForThe Investigation
Un-American Activities

Martin Dies, a Texas Congressman, introduced a resolution on 21 July 1937 to create a special committee to investigate subversion in the United States. After prolonged debate the resolution passed on 26 May 1938. The committee, known as the Dies Committee after its chairman, was formed on 6 June but formal hearings did not begin until 12 August. The major target of the committee was organized labor groups, particularly the Congress of Industrial Organizations. A major tactic employed by Dies, and
one that set a pattern for how the committee functioned until after World War II, was his meeting alone and secretly with friendly witnesses who accused hundreds of individuals of supporting Communist activities. The press sensationalized these accusations but only a few of the accused were given the opportunity to defend themselves.

Because the Dies Committee was a special committee, its mandate had to be renewed by the Congress every two years. This changed in 1945 when it was replaced by the permanent standing Committee on Un-American Activities. Over the next five years the committee originated investigations into the motion picture industry, hunting for communists. Their investigation resulted in the blacklisting of producers, writers and actors by Hollywood. But the committee's greatest fame was its investigation of Alger Hiss and his eventual perjury, which fixed internal communism as a leading political issue. As a major political force, the Committee used contempt citations as a major weapon against those who refused to testify by taking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In 1950, for example, the Committee issued 56 citations out of the 59 citations voted by the House of Representatives.

In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy began his investigations into communists in government, which overshadowed the work of the committee. Being in the background, the committee did not suffer any affect from McCarthy's downfall. The committee continued to pursue communists and other un-American activities until the beginning of 1960. For the next two decades, the committee focused on the black militants, the anti-war movement, other radical youth groups and terrorism. In 1968 the committee was renamed the Committee on Internal Security. In 1975 the committee was abolished.



Alexander Gregory Barmine
Alexander Gregory Barmine, born 16 August 1899, in Russia, joined the Red Army as a private and rose through the ranks to become a brigadier general. He was recruited by Soviet military intelligence (GRU) from his graduating class in the Soviet General Staff Academy in 1921.

Following three years of language study at the Oriental Institute, he joined the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade. He served as a foreign trade specialists at several diplomatic posts in Europe. In addition, Barmine reported on his contacts to the GRU.

In 1937, while assigned as Soviet Charge d'Affaires in Athens, Greece, Barmine defected. He first fled to Paris as a political refugee. Three years later he entered the United States where he became a naturalized citizen in July 1943. During World War II he joined the US Army and later served with the Office Strategic Services (OSS) from 1943 until September 1944. He was dismissed from the OSS for absenteeism.

In October 1948, Barmine began work as a consultant with the Department of State. Prior to his retirement in the spring of 1972, he served as chief of the Russian Desk of the Voice of America.

In July 1951 he testified before the Senate Committee on Un-American activities. He wrote two books, Memoirs of a Soviet Diplomat (published in 1938 in London_translated by Gerard Hopkins) and One Who Survived (published in 1945 by Putnam) as well as occasional anti-Soviet magazine articles.

Ignace Reiss
Ignace Reiss, born January 1899 in Galicia, a part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. His true name was apparently Poretskiy. His mother was reportedly a Russian Jewess and his father a gentile. In 1922, while in the Soviet Union, Reiss married Else Bernaut, a student. The couple had one son, Roman Bernaut. Else kept her maiden name and, at times, Reiss used this surname operationally.

From 1921 to 1931 Reiss traveled throughout Europe where he engaged in political action operations for the COMINTERN and then in espionage for the GRU. In 1931 he was recruited by the Soviet Security Service and assigned to industrial espionage directed primarily against Germany. In the Soviet Security Service he was known as "Ludwig." After Hitler's rise to power, Reiss operated from countries bordering on Germany.

In the spring of 1937, Reiss, whose family was living in the West with him, decided to break with the Soviets because of the brutal purges then under way in the Soviet Union. During this time, he established contacts with Trotskiyites in Western Europe. On 17 July 1937, Reiss wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and delivered it to the Soviet Commercial Mission in Paris. In this letter he condemned the frightful excesses of Stalin and the Soviet Security Service. He then fled to Switzerland where his family was located.

Turning their full attention to the liquidation of Reiss, Soviet agents tracked him down in Switzerland. On 4 September 1937 Reiss was shot and killed by Soviet assassins and his bullet-ridden body dumped on the side of a road in Chamblandes outside Lausanne, Switzerland.

Reiss' wife identified the body bearing identity papers with the name Herman Eberhardt as that of Ignace Reiss. In later years after World War II, she was at time in contact with US intelligence about Soviet Security Service operations and personnel. She also wrote Our Own People: A Memoir of Ignace Reiss and his Friends (published in London in 1969). The book is a study of their involvement in pre-World War II Soviet operations in Europe. One of Reiss' friends mentioned in the book was the defector Walter Krivitsky.

An active participant in the Soviet operation against Reiss was Roland Abbiate, born 15 August 1905 in London, who lived at one time in the United States during the early twenties. Abbiate disappeared after the murder. Later, during World War II, he turned up again in the United States where he served as a Soviet diplomat, Vladimir Sergeyvich Pravdin.

Anatoli Golitsyn, another Soviet defector in the 1960s, also claimed that Pravdin was active in Austria after World War II, often passing as a Frenchman.

The French Ministry of Interior study, A Soviet Counter-espionage Network Abroad _ the Reiss Case, published on 20 September 1951, stated "The assassination of Ignace Reiss on 4 September 1937 at Chamblandes near Lausanne, Switzerland, is an excellent example of the observation, surveillance and liquidation of a `deserter' from the Soviet secret service."

Walter G. Krivitsky
Walter G. Krivitsky, born 28 June 1899 in Podwoloczyska, Russia, was a Soviet military intelligence officer who defected to the West prior to World War II. Krivitsky, whose true name was Samuel Ginsburg, spent nearly twenty years in Soviet intelligence.

At the age of thirteen, Krivitsky became active in the Russian working class movement and five years later, in 1917, he joined the Bolshevik Party. Shortly after the revolution, he entered the Red Army and was assigned to military intelligence.

In 1920, he was sent to Danzig, with orders to prevent the landing of French munitions being shipped to the Polish army. He was also instructed to organize strikes against arms shipments in other European cities. In 1922 Krivitsky, along with other Soviet officers, was dispatched to Berlin to mobilize elements of unrest in the Ruhr; to create the German Communist Party's intelligence service; and to form the nucleus of the future German Red Army.

By 1926, Krivitsky was chief for Central Europe in Soviet Military Intelligence. After several years in Moscow he was posted to The Hague in 1935 as Chief of Military Intelligence for Western Europe.

During this assignment, he provided Moscow with information about secret negotiations then taking place between Japan and Germany. In 1936, Krivitsky was instructed to create a system to purchase and transport arms to the Red forces fighting in the Spanish
Civil War.

In September 1937, one of Krivitsky's closest colleagues and friends, Ignace Reiss, was murdered after having broken with the Soviets. Krivitsky feared that he too was doomed to be purged. In later years he claimed that his friend's death, coupled with Stalin's purges of the Old Bolshevik Guard, many of whom were his friends and colleagues, were key factors influencing his own decision to sever his connection with the Soviet government and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in October 1937.

Krivitsky with his family were given asylum by the French government in October 1937. During the next year, while living in France and guarded by the French police, the Soviets tried unsuccessfully to assassinate him. In November 1938, Krivitsky, who planned to write a book, arrived in the United States for an extended visit. The following year he testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and was interviewed by British authorities.

Traveling from Canada, Krivitsky re-entered the United States in October 1940 in order to settle in New York under the name Walter Poref. On 10 February 1941 he was found shot to death in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. where he was in transit to New York. Questions still remain whether his death was a suicide or a Soviet liquidation.

Krivitsky's book I Was Stalin's Agent, was published in London in 1940. In it, he warned of high-level penetrations in Western governments.

Aleksandr Orlov
Aleksandr Orlov, whose true name was Leon Lazarevich Feldbin, was born on 21 August 1985 in Bobruisk, Russia. He was drafted into the Russian army and stationed in the Urals in 1916. The next year he joined the Bolshevik Party and graduated as a second lieutenant from the Third Moscow Military School.

By September 1920 he was with the 12th Red Army on the Polish front where he was in charge of guerrilla activity and counterintelligence. The successes of his work on the Polish front brought him to the attention of Feliks Dzerzhinskiy, chief of the Cheka, the Soviet State Security Service at the time. A year later, during a brief assignment to Archangel, Orlov was married.

With his wife, Orlov returned to Moscow in 1921 to become assistant prosecutor to the Soviet Supreme Court. While in this position, he worked on the formation of the Soviet criminal code and, at Dzerzhinskiy's request, investigated Soviet citizens accused of economic crimes. Soon thereafter Dzerzhinskiy brought Orlov into the Cheka as deputy chief of the Economic Directorate. He served in this position until 1925 when he became brigade commander of the border guards in Armenia. The following year Orlov was reassigned to the Foreign Department in a newly created headquarters unit that was to oversee and control Soviet foreign trade. Shortly thereafter, under the alias Leon Nikolayev, Orlov was transferred to the Paris representation as chief of Soviet intelligence operations in France.

From 1928 until 1931 he served at the Soviet Trade Delegation in Berlin where he again was concerned with economic intelligence. As deputy chief of the headquarters economic control component from 1933 to early 1936, Orlov traveled frequently to Europe, directing illegals in operations against Germany. While still assigned in Moscow, he served a year as deputy chief of the Department of Railways and Sea Transport in the Soviet State Security Service.

In 1936 Orlov was sent to Spain as Soviet liaison representative to the Republican Government for matters of intelligence, counterintelligence, and guerrilla warfare. Throughout Orlov's stay in Spain, tales mounted of secret trials, summary executions, and widespread terror in the Soviet Union.

In July 1938, Orlov was abruptly ordered to Paris. While in transit, he stopped to see his family, which was living in France not far from the Spanish border. Orlov discussed with his wife his growing suspicions and his moral revulsion, and then decided to break with Stalin and the Soviet Union. After first enlisting the aid of the Canadians, the Orlovs entered the United States on 13 August 1938. Eighteen years later they were granted permanent residence.

After Orlov's defection, he provided much information to US intelligence on pre-World War II personnel and operations of the Soviet State Security Service. With the publication of his book, The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes in 1953, the true history of the Soviet Union from 1934 to 1938 was revealed for the first time. In 1955 and again in 1957, Orlov appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. His second book, The Handbook of Intelligence and Guerrilla Warfare, was published in 1963.

In April 1973 Orlov died in the United States.



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