3 Famous Spy Cases That Shaped The United States

In one form or another, spying and espionage have been going on as long as there have been groups of people who have an interest in keeping an eye on each other. Historical cases of spying and espionage have shaped the way in which The United States handles domestic and international crime fighting and security. The following are three influential cases that marked very important eras in US history:

1. The Atom Spy Case- The Rosenburgs
Russian-Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were responsible for Soviet Russia's acquisition of the atom bomb. In a complex web of intrigue, the couple recruited David Greenglass, Ethel's brother, to obtain atom bomb schematics. A communist since the age of 14 and a member of the military, Greenglass was able to obtain the schematics. These were then passed on to the Russian intelligence agency in Moscow.

2. The Pearl Harbor Spy
German national Otto Kuehn was responsible for coordinating the attack of the Japanese fleet on Pearl Harbor. With a complex serious of signals—bed sheets being hung to dry at certain hours, lights lit in certain windows of his house, etc.— Kuehn was able to reveal the movements of specific Navy vessels and to prevent troop deployments. Five days before the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Kuehn sent a letter to the Japanese commander containing details concerning the US fleet.

In the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Kuehn was found guilty of being a spy. Initially, he was sentenced to die by firing squad. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison and then deported.

3. 1985 The Year of the Spy
In 1985, a notable number of high-profile individuals were arrested for spying. While the Cold-War was winding down, spying activities continued with great intensity. The following spies were apprehended during this year of high intensity espionage.

John Anthony Walker Jr. - US Navy Warrant Officer and Communications Specialist

Jonathan Jay Pollard - Civilian intelligence analyst at the Navy's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center in Maryland

Sharon Marie Scranage - CIA clerk stationed in Ghana

Larry Wu-tai Chin - Chinese language translator/intelligence officer for CIA, 1952 to 1981

Ronald William Pelton - Communications specialist, National Security Agency

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online college degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


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