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Theory of Fielding - Set K - MLAD's Report  (Revised)

From: H. B. Laes
Date: 26 Sep 2000


Theory of Fielding - Set K - MLAD's Report

Phenomena 1. Venona, New York to Moscow, No.1585, 12 November 1944, reads in part: "...H. [Hall] handed over to BEK a report about the Camp and named the key personnel employed on Enormoz.. With the aim of hastening a meeting with a competent person, [Hall] on the following day sent a copy of the report by [Sax] to the [consulate]. ALEKSEJ [Anatoli Yatskov] received [Sax]...We consider it expedient to maintain liaison with [Hall]...MAY [Stepan Apresyan] has no objection to this. We shall send the details by post. [signature missing]" 2. Venona, New York to Moscow, No. 1699, 2 December 1944, reads in part: "[MLAD's report] enumerates scientists who are working on the problem - Hans Bethe, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, John Newman, Bruno Rossi, George Kistiakovski, Emilio Segre, G. I. Taylor, William Penny, Arthur Compton, Ernest Lawrence, Harold Urey, Hans Stanarm, Edward Teller, Percy Bridgeman, Werner Eisenberg, Strassenman....[7 groups unrecoverable]....our country addressed himself to Napoli and the latter, not wanting to listen to him, sent him to Beck as military commentator of the paper. [Signed] ANTON" [Leonid Kvasnikov] 3. Venona, New York to Moscow, No. 1773, 16 December 1944: "KALIBER [Greenglass] also reports: Oppenheim from California and Kistiakowski (MLAD's report mention the latter) are at present working at the camp....Advise whether you have information on these two professors. [Signed] ANTON" [Kvasnikov]

Discussion Message No. 1585 BEK was Sergei Kurnakov, an émigré Russian who was a KGB operative in New York. Kurnakov was agentura vice residentura and, as such, was probably run by an illegal at Amtorg such as Semyonov (TVEN). Anatoli Yatskov came to the US under diplomatic cover in 1942 as a replacement for Semyonov (per Chikov) in New York. Yatskov's assumption of control for Morris Cohen from Semyonov can be inferred from Chikov's in-depth description of a Yatskov-Cohen interview regarding Cohen's own recruitment by Alexander Orlov in Barcelona, Spain. It follows then that Yatskov was directly involved in Cohen's recruitment of Arthur Fielding in May of 1942 or earlier. This message gives the sense that Hall verbally named the Enormoz scientists to BEK who copied them down. Apresyan (MAY) was the KGB Resident in NY and by all accounts was not highly regarded by his KGB associates.

Message No. 1699 Message No. 1699, discussed in Bombshell on page 108, is an almost inclusive list of senior scientists working on "the problem", the development of an atomic weapon. American cryptanalysts evidently attributed the list to MLAD (Ted Hall), but Bombshell's authors reserve judgment and make some interesting observations. Considering it possibly significant that the source was privy to the involvement of Percy Bridgeman, Werner Heisenberg, and Fritz Strassenman, the Albrights suggest that the information might have been provided to the Soviets by, "yet another friend in Los Alamos who has never been discovered." As enamored as we are of their being "yet another [Soviet] friend in Los Alamos" we are inclined to also attribute the list of 'enumerated scientists' to Ted Hall (MLAD).

A number of commentators, ourselves and Bombshell's authors among them, found the omission of Oppenheimer from message no. 1699 to be quite puzzling and in need of explanation. Indeed, a few theories have been tendered at the Readers' Rendezvous. We would like put forward another theory. It begins by noting the distinction between the message containing the scientists' names and the report from Hall which named them. It seems quite clear that Oppenheimer was not included in the former, but what about the latter? It seems to defy logic, given all the other names in the message, that Ted Hall would have failed to mention Oppenheimer, the Director of his own laboratory. We propose, therefore, that Hall did, in fact, name Oppenheimer but he was omitted from the information passed on to Kvasnikov, and hence was not included in Kvasinkov's message. The basis for this possibility is found in part in a fascinating and telling passage from Chikov in Comment Staline:

Vladimir Chikov wrote: "Early in 1943 Leonid Kvasnikov was sent to America to direct the Soviet operation in atomic espionage, which received the code name Enormoz. Lev Vasilevsky took over his duties in the scientific and technical department in Moscow....Despite Kurchatov's enthusiasm [for the espionage materials the KGB was supplying], Beria remained on guard. He wanted additional confirmation of the materials supplied from abroad. This desire was intensified by his feelings toward Leonid Kvasnikov, directing atomic espionage in America. Although he had approved the appointment on the basis of Kvasnikov's qualifications, Beria never trusted the resident.....However [Beria] found a way around [Kvasnikov]. It happened in a discussion with Fitin and Vasilevsky about Perseus. Beria asked if Kvasnikov had been instructed to find out how [Perseus] got his information and Vasilevsky answered no. They had to protect their agent. Beria retorted that in that case they should question Perseus directly, to which Vasilevsky objected that such an inquiry might upset the scientist. Beria began to lose his temper but Fitin came up with a saving idea. Fitin's idea had the mark of genius, because it used one agent [Fuchs] to check up on another without either knowing the other was involved. Early in 1944 the NKVD contacted [Fuchs in America] and began to collect his intelligence which included packets of papers. His contact was Harry Gold, known to him only by the cover name of Raymond. The two met a half dozen times between February and July. [Fuchs'] answers and packets of papers would be valuable in their own right, while also making a check on Perseus. Beria approved the plan, thereby circumventing Kvasnikov."

The Theory of Fielding is that Oppenheimer was Fielding. Semyonov and Yatskov were involved in Cohen's recruitment of Fielding. Therefore a chord is struck when we read in Sudoplatov's Special Tasks that Semyonov was party to a KGB relationship with Oppenheimer: "Eitingon and I also instructed Kheifetz and Semyonov to turn over to our old moles all their confidential contacts with friendly sources around Oppenheimer in California. Vasilevsky took part in this operation. Under Beria's direct orders we forbade Kheifetz and Semyonov to tell anybody from the American Section of the Foreign Directorate about this transfer of contacts" (Page 187. Set S, Sudoplatov, refers). We have much difficulty understanding the reasons why Semyonov in New York would be involved in transferring "friendly sources around Oppenheimer" to another, well-buried network of illegals. What friendly source/s around Oppenheimer was Semyonov tapped into that he was directed to turn over? As interesting as this question might be, the point is that Semyonov and by extension Yatskov were aware of the importance of Oppenheimer. What do you do with intelligence materials pertaining to Oppenheimer if you are fully aware of (1) Beria's edict transferring Oppenheimer to an illegal line, (2) Beria's proscription against the American Section, and (3) Beria's personal antagonism toward Kvasnikov? We suggest the safest course would be to pouch the source documents directly to headquarters and appropriately 'sanitize' the information given to the senior technical analyst. We speculate that Semyonov might have been the author of 'unsigned' message no. 1585.

Message No. 1773 The foregoing might help explain message no. 1773 which is also a puzzler. In this message we see that Oppenheimer's name pops up from a different direction - Feklisov's Rosenberg network - and Kvasnikov transmits it in the clear. But the very curious thing is that it is almost 1945 and Kvasnikov appears to have little or no knowledge of Robert Oppenheimer. How can it be that the KGB resident responsible for atomic espionage in the United States, previously chief of the KGB scientific intelligence section at the Center, seems ignorant on Oppenheimer, Director of Los Alamos. Going back to 1941, KGB operatives that would have filed reports on Oppenheimer include Steve Nelson, Peter Ivanov, Gregory Kheifetz, Margareta Konenkova, and Vassily Zarubin. It is interesting that Venona message traffic subsequent to this message assigns the codename VEKSEL to Oppenheimer. Does this reflect the Center's discomfort with even an innocuous reference (by Kvasnikov) to such a source?

Conclusion The omission of Oppenheimer from message no. 1699 is conspicuous and seems to us to be another missed opportunity (Set G - VEKSEL refers) for Oppenheimer to receive equal, exculpatory treatment in Soviet KGB message traffic. The possibility that Semyonov, Morris Cohen's controller, might have had a connection to Oppenheimer offers tantalizing support for the Theory of Fielding.

The Chikov quote in this set contains yet another version of events to hold up against Bombshell's Perseus Myth thesis, i.e. the espionage of Ted Hall is the only factual basis for Perseus. If that were true it would make Chikov's Beria-Fitin vignette totally gratuitous disinformation. Be that as it may, one thing is very clear - the Perseus of Beria's attention is obviously not Ted Hall (MLAD). Far from being 'circumvented,' Kvasnikov was in the loop on Hall.

The Chikov quote also adds another interesting detail to the mix, and one that is repeated elsewhere in Comment Staline (Set U, Doppelganger, refers). Fuchs was given specific questions derived from material received from Perseus in order to check the consistency between two independent sources. At this time, early 1944, Fuch's work related to isotope separation and the Oak Ridge site: "By early 1944 [Fuchs] was in a position to pass along to the Soviet Union considerable information on the plant at Oak Ridge, which he knew only as 'site X.' He provided details of the sintered nickel powder membranes being constructed for the gaseous diffusion barriers..."(Klaus Fuchs, Atom Spy, pg 69). Thus it would follow that Perseus too was providing information on this part of the Manhattan Project.

Sources Comment Staline A Vole La Bombe Atomique Aux Americains: Dossier KGB No. 13676, Vladimir Chikov and Gary Kern, 1996 Bombshell, Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel, 1997 Special Tasks, Pavel and Analtoli Sudoplatov with Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter, 1995 Klaus Fuchs, Atom Spy, Robert Chadwell Williams, 1987

Note. Set K was originally titled "December 2, 1944, Venona Message." Although the subject is basically the same, a major rewrite warranted a new title.

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