Elizabeth Bentley

Knowledge Identifier: +Elizabeth_Bentley

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Elizabeth Bentley

American spy for the Soviet Union from 1938 until 1945 add

Category: Politics

Born in 1908.

Countries: United States (48%), New York (12%), Russia (9%)

Main connections: Jacob Golos, William Remington, United States Department of the Treasury

Linked to: Communist Party USA, University of Florence, Vassar College, Associated Press

 

Timeline


 

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Elizabeth Bentley was born in 1908 add something

 

"'Elizabeth Terrill Bentley"' was an American spy for the Soviet Union from 1938 until 1945 add something


1915

Golos was a Russian émigré who had been a naturalized United States citizen since 1915 add something

 

In 1915 her parents had moved to Ithaca, New York, New York, and by 1920 the family had moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania and to Rochester, New York add something


1930

She attended Vassar College, graduating in 1930 with a degree in English, Italian, and French add something

 

Juliet Stuart Poyntz - Elizabeth Bentley stated she was told by Jacob Golos in the late 1930s, and later by KGB officer Anatoli Gromov in 1945 that Poyntz had been a traitor and was now dead


1933

In 1933, while she was attending graduate school at Columbia University, she won a fellowship to the University of Florence add something


1935

When she learned that most of them were members of the Communist Party of the United States , she joined the party herself in March 1935 add something


1938

In 1938 she obtained a job at the Italian Library of Information in New York City ; an organization that was fascist Italy's propaganda bureau in the United States add something


1940

At the time when he and Bentley met, Golos was involved in planning the assassination of Leon Trotsky, which would take place in Mexico in 1940 add something

 

For J. Edgar Hoover and a few highly placed FBI and army intelligence personnel, the definitive corroboration of Bentley's story came some time in the late 1940s to early 1950s, when the highly secret Venona project succeeded in decrypting some wartime cables sent between Soviet intelligence agents and Moscow add something

 

In 1940, two years into their relationship, the Justice Department forced Golos to register as an agent of the Soviet government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act add something


1941

Jacob Golos - In 1941, Golos had set up a commercial forwarding enterprise, called the U.S. Shipping and Service Corporation, with Elizabeth Bentley, his assistant, courier and lover, as one of its officers


1942

Albert E. Kahn - Elizabeth Bentley stated in her deposition to the FBI that Kahn had furnished information directly to Jacob Golos and herself in 1942 on immigrant Ukrainians hostile to the Soviet Union

 

William Remington - In March 1942 and continuing for two years, Remington had occasional meetings with Elizabeth Bentley at which he passed her information


1943

Late in 1943, Jacob Golos suffered a fatal heart attack add something

 

Donald Niven Wheeler - In November 1943, Earl Browder, Chairman of the CPUSA, turned control of the Perlo group of Soviet spies over to Jacob Golos two months before his death,and the group was subsequently taken over by his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bentley


1944

Late in 1944 Bentley was ordered to give up all of her remaining sources, including the Perlo group she had recently acquired add something

 

In it, Gaik Ovakimian, head of the American desk of the NKVD cites an April 14, 1944 report reporting that, "following our instructions" via Silvermaster, White had "attained the positive decision of the Treasury Department to provide the Soviet side with the plates for engraving German occupation marks add something

 

In early June 1944, Browder gave in to Akhmerov's demands and agreed to instruct the Silvermaster group to report directly to the NKGB. After her defection, Bentley would describe this as the event that turned her against Communism add something

 

John Abt - In early 1944, Golos sent Elizabeth Bentley to make contact with the group at Abt's apartment


1945

In 1945 she defected from the Communist Party and Soviet intelligence and became an informer for the U.S. She exposed two networks of spies, ultimately naming over 80 Americans who had engaged in espionage for the Soviets add something

 

Things did not improve for Bentley in 1945 add something

 

In August 1945, Bentley went to the FBI office in New Haven, Connecticut and met with the agent in charge add something

 

Imperiled on both sides, Bentley made her final decision to defect on November 6, 1945 add something

 

Solomon Adler - In 1945, Elizabeth Bentley identified Adler as a member of the Silvermaster group

 

Maurice Halperin - In 1945, defecting Soviet espionage courier Elizabeth Bentley told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that from 1942 to 1944, when he was an official of the OSS, Haperin delivered "to MARY PRICE and later to myself mimeographed bulletins and reports prepared by OSS on a variety of topics and supplied excerpts from State Department cables to which he evidently had access

 

Whittaker Chambers - Only in November 1945, when Elizabeth Bentley defected and corroborated much of Chambers's story, did the FBI begin to take Chambers seriously


1947

William Remington - In 1947, Remington was interviewed by the FBI and questioned before a federal grand jury in New York City about the information he had given to Elizabeth Bentley


1948

When her testimony became public in 1948, it became a media sensation and had a major effect on the popular anti-communism of the McCarthy era add something

 

Bentley's appearances before this grand jury lasted until April 1948, and during this time, some details of her case began to leak to the press add something

 

She met with reporters for the "New York World-Telegram", and in July 1948 the paper carried a series of front page stories about the "beautiful young blonde" who had exposed a ring of spies add something

 

In September 1948, William Remington sued Bentley and NBC for libel add something

 

Lee Pressman - In 1948, Anatoly Gorsky, former chief of Soviet intelligence operations in the United States, listed Pressman, code-named "Vig," among the Soviet sources likely to have been identified by U.S. authorities as a result of the defection of Soviet courier Elizabeth Bentley three years earlier

 

Frank Coe - In 1948, former NKVD courier Elizabeth Bentley, testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, mentioned Coe, whom she remembered as one of several important Treasury officials who passed on information to Silvermaster


1950

Conflicts of this nature, along with the increasingly publicized hearings of HUAC, were setting the stage for McCarthyism, which would become a central factor in domestic American politics in the 1950s add something


1951

Bentley wrote in her 1951 autobiography that she had been "able through Harry Dexter White to arrange that the United States Treasury Department turn the actual printing plates over to the Russians add something

 

Israel Epstein - In 1951 Communist defector Elizabeth Bentley testified to the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee that "Israel Epstein had been a member of the Russian secret police for many years in China


1953

In her 1953 testimony before Joseph McCarthy's Senate subcommittee, she elaborated, testifying that she was following instructions from NKVD New York "rezident" Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov to pass word through Ludwig Ullmann and Nathan Gregory Silvermaster for White to put the pressure on for the delivery of the plates to Russia add something


1963

Unfortunately, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service's new Section IX , was the Soviet double agent Kim Philby, who would flee to the Soviet Union in 1963 add something


Elizabeth Bentley died in 1963 add something

 

Bentley died on December 3, 1963, aged 55, from abdominal cancer at Grace-New Haven, Connecticut Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut add something