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Thursday, July 07, 2016


J Edgar Hoover Exonerates the Rosenbergs

“Statement of FBI Director Hoover on the atomic bomb spies.”

July 5, 1950. Washington, D.C. “Although we did not find clear evidence that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information on nuclear weapons, there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive data," FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told reporters today in Washington, D.C., in deciding not to prosecute the alleged spies.

Hoover noted his lengthy federal probe found the ex-Army engineer and his wife carelessly used several different communications methods and numerous espionage devices to funnel top-secret data on the Los Alamos, New Mexico-based Manhattan Project to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” stated Hoover, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor, such as Alger Hiss, would bring such a case. After all, prosecutors under political pressure and intimidation necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges. 

“Especially in an election year."

Hoover’s announcement came just days after Hoover’s boss, Attorney General Howard McGrath, met with Julius Rosenberg, the husband of Ethel Roseberg, on an airplane in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Where Mr. Rosenberg had just happened to be passing by. Attorney General McGrath, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had stressed the two had only talked about grandchildren, the weather, and Zion National Park. 

J Edgar Hoover continued in his remarks: “But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it, and not send it to associates who then forward the information to Moscow or other sworn enemies of the United States.” Hoover and his close friend, assistant FBI director Clyde Tolson, then left to attend a LGBT event. 

After the FBI declined to indict the Rosenbergs, the couple boarded an airplane with President Harry S. Truman, for a round of campaign and fundraising appearances.


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