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The 4th Spy at Los Alamos – conclusion

Los Alamos and the Seborers

The new documents show that Mr. Seborer worked at the heart of the implosion effort. The unit that employed him, known as X-5, devised the firing circuits for the bomb’s 32 detonators, which ringed the device. To lessen the odds of electrical failures, each detonator was fitted with not just one but two firing cables, bringing the total to 64. Each conveyed a stiff jolt of electricity.

A major challenge for the wartime designers was that the 32 firings had to be nearly simultaneous. If not, the crushing wave of spherical compression would be uneven and the bomb a dud. According to an official Los Alamos history, the designers learned belatedly of the need for a high “degree of simultaneity.”

David Greenglass, Los Alamos spy

Possible clues of Mr. Seborer’s espionage lurk in declassified Russian archives, Mr. Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute said in an interview. The documents show that Soviet scientists “spent a lot of time looking into the detonator-circuitry issue,” he said, and include a firing-circuit diagram that appears to have derived from spying.

Greenglass implosion diagram

The diagram shows an implosion bomb. Several labels of the schematic diagram appear first in English, then Russian. In a 2012 analysis, Mr. Wellerstein described the order as “betraying their obvious roots in espionage.” The English labels include “Power Supply” and “Fusing Unit.” In a follow-up analysis, Mr. Wellerstein concluded that Igor Kurchatov, the head of the Soviet bomb project, drew the schematic for Lavrenty Beria, the head of Stalin’s secret police.

The Soviet diagram was dated June 1946, four months after Mr. Seborer left Los Alamos. It shows pairs of wires running from an electrical controller to detonators on the bomb’s exterior — a clear echo of the American reliance on redundant firing circuits.

The main appeal of implosion was that it drastically reduced the amount of bomb fuel needed. The dense metals were hard to obtain and far more valuable than gold. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were roughly equal in destructiveness — but fuel for the Nagasaki bomb weighed just 14 pounds — one-tenth the weight of the fuel for the Hiroshima bomb. The secret of implosion thus represented the future of atomic weaponry.

Slowly, nuclear experts say, bomb designers cut the plutonium fuel requirement from 14 pounds to about two pounds — a metal ball roughly the size of an orange. These tiny atomic bombs became enormously important in the Cold War, because their fiery blasts served as atomic matches to ignite the thermonuclear fuel of hydrogen bombs.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed some 80,000 people. But hydrogen bombs can pack 1,000 times the destructive energy — a terrifying fact of atomic life that generated widespread fear of mutual annihilation. A single SS-18 missile, the Cold War’s deadliest Soviet weapon — Western intelligence agencies called it Satan — could easily fire 10 or more hydrogen warheads halfway around the globe.

If the 1956 documents shed light on Mr. Seborer’s crime, they do little to explain why the United States kept the nature of his job and likely espionage secret for 64 years.

One possibility was domestic politics. Several atomic spy scandals shook the nation in the early 1950s, staring with the arrest of the first Los Alamos spy. His testimony led to the capture of the second, and to the execution of the Rosenbergs. The anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy era reached a fever pitch between 1950 and 1954. President Dwight Eisenhower, who had put himself above the fray, began to fight back with information leaks and administrative fiats.

Morris and Jack Childs, 1954

The story of Oscar Seborer’s atomic espionage is found in a few dozen easily overlooked pages scattered among tens of thousands of pages of FBI files released in 2011. The rest comes from partially released FBI files on Oscar and Stuart that document Operation SOLO, the codename for the FBI’s recruitment and direction of two communist brothers, Morris and Jack Childs, as informants inside the senior leadership of the Communist Party, USA, (CPUSA) from 1952 until 1980.

Mr. Klehr of Emory said it was late 1955 when the F.B.I. first uncovered firm evidence that Mr. Seborer had been a Soviet spy, prompting the inquiry that led to the Los Alamos correspondence of Sept. 1956. A presidential campaign was then underway, and the last thing President Eisenhower needed was another spy scandal. The same held true in 1960, when Mr. Eisenhower’s vice president, Richard Nixon, fought John F. Kennedy for the White House.

He noted, too, that much F.B.I. information about the Seborers had come from a hugely successful undercover operation known as Solo, which had infiltrated the American Communist Party in the 1950s and continued the monitoring as late as 1977. Most likely, the bureau wanted to do nothing that might risk revealing the identities of its informants.

While the F.B.I. remains tight-lipped, the C.I.A. has shown considerable pride in helping publicly unmask the fourth spy at wartime Los Alamos, perhaps in part because more than seven decades have now passed since Mr. Seborer first entered the secretive site in the New Mexico wilderness.

On Jan. 24, the intelligence agency gave Mr. Klehr and Mr. Haynes an award at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia for an outstanding contribution to the literature of intelligence. Mr. Klehr, 74, said he and his colleague were delighted with the official recognition of their work. Even so, he said the two men foresaw a need for more research, despite having stumbled on the Seborers seven years ago and having already done much to unveil the hidden drama.

“There’s still a lot to learn,” he said.

This article was condensed from the records of the CIA.

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Military Humor – 

WAS KILROY A SPY TOO?!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kathleen Condliffe – Waipukurau, NZ; WAAF # 82629

Donald Emmons Sr. – Bay Minette, AL; US Navy, WWII

Paul Gualtieri – Prairie Village, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, SSgt., 58th Bomber Wing, radar

John Kildow – Post Falls, ID; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, Korea

Betty McAdams – Albion, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

George T. Millson – Snobomish, WA; USMC, WWII, Korea / US Air Force, Vietnam

Dewey Partin – MIddleboro, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Dorothy Romer – Mindin, NE; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Ronald E. Shay – King City, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Miguel Villalon – Brownsville, TX; US Army, combat engineer, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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Research for Stefaan…..  click on images to enlarge.

Camp MacKall

New Guinea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard back from one contact, Matt Underwood, last night – here is an excerpt from that letter…..

Jeeps assigned to HHQ Co., 187th Glider Infantry Regt., would be if there were 2 jeeps assigned, then each bumper would look the same except one would end in a 1, and the other in a 2.
I will try to find the formula this fellow needs and get back to you by this upcoming Monday, mid-day.  Hopefully, I can find it tonight.  But even this information in this email here may help him to figure it out on his own.  Really and truly, the motor pool of the 11th Airborne Division and its elements would have used the same formula as every other Army unit….meaning, if he can find several examples of other unit markings, he can probably begin to learn how to alter them into similar form for the 11th A/B.

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AXIS – spies and saboteurs

Nazi saboteur trial

Nazi saboteur trial

If the Allied powers had their spies lurking around behind the front lines, you can be sure the enemy was doing the same. Once again, you will find that I have certainly missed some of them and I am counting on you out there to fill in the blanks.

Takeo Yoshikawa

Takeo Yoshikawa

Takeo Yoshikawa began his career in intelligence in 1937 and became an expert on the U.S. Navy. He even received a thank you letter from Adolph Hitler after he informed the Germans of a 17 troop transport convoy that left Freetown and was en route to England; many of these ships were destroyed. On Hawaii, under the name Tadashi Morimura, he rented private planes and observed the U.S. installations on the islands. He would then transmit this data to Tokyo in PURPLE code; the U.S. did intercept these messages – but deemed them unimportant. When he heard the code, “East wind, rain,” he destroyed all evidence of his guilt since this meant Pearl Harbor would be attacked. August 1942, he returned to Japan. When he opened a business in 1955, he found the Japanese people blamed him for the war with the U.S. and his wife needed to support him the remainder of his life.

Velvalee Dickinson

Velvalee Dickinson

Velvalee Dickinson, from Sacramento, Calif., became associated with many Japanese organizations through her husbands brokerage business and remained sympathetic. Velvalee opened a doll shop and sent coded messages through a complex system that included Argentina and New York. She was eventually caught and tried in January 1944, sentenced to ten years. She was released in 1951 and somehow disappeared in 1954.

dickinson_store

No. 62 Squadron, Feb. 1941

No. 62 Squadron, Feb. 1941

Patrick Heenan was a captain in the British Indian Army that spied for Japan during the Malayan Campaign. He was stationed at Alor Star in Kedah, Malaya in June 1941 where most of the RAF, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force squadrons were based. When Japanese forces invaded on 8 December, their air raids were assisted by Heenan as he used a hidden radio and more codetransmitter. His treason cost No. 62 Squadron personnel and aircraft. He was arrested 10 December, court martialed and jailed in January 1942 in Singapore. When the enemy attacked that city, Heenan was shot in the back of his head and dumped in Keppel Harbour by his wardens.

The Black Dragons were a paramilitary group of Japan. Their agents operated during the Russo-Japanese war and then continued into WWII. They initially were directed to act against the Soviets, but were later expanded throughout Turkey, northern Africa, S.E. Asia and the U.S. Two American organizations influenced by the Dragons were the “Brotherhood of Liberty for the Black People of America” and “Nation of Islam.” On 27 March 1942, the FBI arrested a number of lack Dragons in San Joaquin, California.

FBI mug shots, March 1944, six of 33 in Duquesne spy ring

FBI mug shots, March 1944, six of 33 in Duquesne spy ring

The German U-boats that actually touched North American soil were setting agents on shore. The Duquesne spy ring is the largest espionage case in the U.S. to end up in convictions. The agents were sent to various sites to extract information and commit sabotage. One spy opened a restaurant, one worked at an airline and the others were at radio stations and messenger boys. The ring leader was Fritz Joubert Duquesne, a South African Boer who had worked for Germany in both wars. But, the U.S. had a double-agent within the group and on 29 June 1941, all 33 agents were arrested and sentenced to a total of 300 years in prison.

George Dasch spy ring, tean 1

George Dasch spy ring, tean 1

Operation Patorius was divided into 2 teams; one led by George John Dasch (aka – George Davis, a former resident of the U.S.) and landed 12 June 1942 off of U-boat 202 at East Hampton, Long Island. Their mission: to destroy power plants at Niagara Falls and 3 ALCOA factories. The second team landed at Ponte Vedra Beach, SE of Jacksonville, Florida. Their mission: to lay mines at the Pennsylvania Railroad at Newark, NJ and the water supply lines at St. Louis, Cincinnati and NYC. George Dasch turned himself into the FBI and the others were soon arrested due to his confession. Six of the agents were executed; 8 August, Dasch received a 30 year term, but was released and deported back to Germany in 1948. He did not receive a good welcome home and moved to Switzerland where he wrote the book, Eight Spies Against America.

Kerling, Team 2

Kerling, Team 2

Operation Elster landed at Hancock, Maine 30 November 1944 aboard U-boat 1230. Their mission: to learn what they could about the Manhattan Project and sabotage it, if possible. The FBI caught them in New York; one spent 10 years in prison and the other was released in 1960, operated a business in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and later retired to Florida.

14 May 1942, Marius Langbein landed near St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada of U-boat 217 for Operation Grete (named for his wife). He never carried out his orders, but rather lived off of the funds given to him by the Germans and then surrendered in December 1944. Being that he never committed a crime – he was found not guilty.

Werner von Janowski

Werner von Janowski

U-518, in November 1942 sank two iron ore freighters and damaged another in Conception Bay, Newfoundland before setting agent, Werner von Janowski, ashore near New Carlisle, Quebec. Upon seeing the man act suspicious as he left a hotel, Earle Annett, followed the spy and 3 hours later, notified a constable. The officer continued the tail, struck up a conversation with the suspect and Janowski confessed his intentions.

German U-boat, U-537

German U-boat, U-537

22 October 1943, Professor Kurt Sommermeyer and his team debarked U-537 at Martin Bay, Labrador to set up an automatic weather station, “Weather Station Kurt” or as the enemy knew it – “Wetter-Funkgerät Land – 26.”

When U-867 attempted to replace the batteries 3 months later, it was sunk. Left undisturbed, it was discovered in the 1980’s and is now at the Canadian War Museum.

Click on photos to enlarge

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Farewell Salutes –

William Henry Kempner – Newark, DE; U.S. Navy submariner, Korean War

Robert Earl Boggs – Columbus, OH; Jupiter, FL; U.S. Navy Commander, retired carrier aviator

Gary Lee Tyler – Roxbury, NY & Palm Beach Gardens, FL; U.S. Army Fourth Army Band, Korea

Edward J.W. Stuart – Alton, ILL. & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy in Korea, ships USS Palau-CVE722; USS Midway-CVB-41 and USS J.C. Owens-DD7756

Eve Metz – Worchester, Mass & Delray Beach, FL; U.S. Army, Second Lieutenant, nurse during WWII

John Reeves Oakman – Boca Raton, FL; U.S. Army WWII

Russell Link – Lake Worth, FL;USMC sergeant

Roosevelt Garner, Jr. – W. Palm Beach, FL; U.S. Navy WWII Pacific, electrician’s mate

Willoughby Ted Quin – Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Army WWII w/ a Silver Star; reenlisted U.S. Air Force for Korea and Vietnam

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Current News –

Born on the Fourth of July – WWII Veteran U.S. Navy, Frank Eaton, born on 4 July in Northville, Mich., received a plaque honoring his military service on his 90th birthday from the city of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Funny or Scary? – In Tampa, Fla., A homeless woman, Suzanne Jensen, not only sneaked into MacDill Air Force Base, by turning a garbage can upside down and scaling the fence, once and staying for days at a time, but four times!! She also stole a military I.D.

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Personal Note –

Next week, gpcox is due for jury duty. Depending on that schedule, next week’s posts might be delayed. I always attempt to respond to each comment, but that also might be affected. I’ll do my best.

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