Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government News

Russia Honors the Spy Who Stole the A-Bomb 506

Posted by kdawson
from the deep-cover dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports on the life of George Koval, codenamed Delmar, one of the most important spies to have infiltrated the Manhattan Project, the secret program that created the world's first nuclear weapon. President Putin recently granted Koval a posthumous Hero of the Russian Federation award, the highest honorary title that can be given to a Russian citizen. Koval was born in Iowa, spoke fluent American English, and played baseball. But he was also recruited and trained by the GRU, Russia's largest intelligence agency."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Russia Honors the Spy Who Stole the A-Bomb

Comments Filter:
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:15AM (#21334941)
    Said already enough. All these actions - playing Antiamerican cards, claiming Russia "best nation in the world", trying to "correct" international thinking about Stalin etc. etc. at absurdum - is to get already tired people from all this bullshit to vote for Putin comrades. Economy is going down (nevermind huge sales of oil and gas), inflation goes trough the roof, common people only see that one type of oligarchs have been replaced by another, more nationalistic/militaristic, but still don't caring much about nation. But Russians dies out as a people, trough heavy drinking/hunger/strong disillusion about the country. They become more dangerous than any radical Islamists, who cause at least could be understood.

    Imperialists don't want to admit simply that Russia as "strong arm dictarionship" is dead horse, which will never work in modern time settings. I just hope their last resort won't be trying to play "hard" with the rest of the world. As we easily know how it is to have people who have nothing to loose.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Some of the new bosses in Russia are the EXACT same old bosses - old party members who made good when the Soviet Union fell. Democracy takes time, but Putin is trying to take a twenty-year step back. At first I liked the guy - he's tough, proud of his heritage, hates traitors from both sides of the aisle - but as time went on he kept getting worse and worse on liberties and on trying to maintain his stranglehold on power. It's going to take years - if ever - for the Russians to get out of the mentality t
      • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:46AM (#21335233)
        As it is not only Russians problem (almost all post-Soviet nations share similar sentiment. I know, as citizen of Latvia), I think problem hides in that people thought democracy is a miracle - it will come and it will work. Wow, corruption. Wow, hunger, lies, rising crime. Ahh, nah, democracy just doesn't work. Let's go back to Soviet times? Damn, USSR is gone? What a shame. Heck, let's have supreme lea...errr, strong president then.

        Let's remember how it was in US 100 years _after_ their Constitution was created. KKK, crime by army and police, religious nuts, US Indians issue. Capitalism wasn't rosy game altogether. Even now they still have problems. But heck, they are trying, even if there is some nuts like Bush who trying to undo all achieved.

        People simply need to be more patient, and work on democracy to achieve it best. However, people want to have miracle already. Lot of problems, including huge bribery and corruption in post-Soviet countries, are just consequences of so called "fall out generation", which were in their best years when USSR felt. Generation which knew that they won't see fruits of huge work in democracy today, so they want everything NOW.

        Just my humble opinion,
        Peter.
  • who set them up the bomb?

    But how does this fit into the Rosenberg trial and other people the US executed for passing on state secrets?

    I know that post cold war pretty convincing evidence has come out saying they did perform spying for the Soviet Russian state.

    But how does this all fit together?

  • eh hem.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:26AM (#21335029)
    'he was also recruited and trained by the GRU, Russia's largest intelligence agency'

    When you're an English-speaking, baseball-playing, corn-on-the cab chewing, native-Iowan, those young Prussian female recruiting babes, I mean 'agents', are pretty hard to resist.

    They should be the ones getting the honors, actually...
    • Prussian? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:31AM (#21335073)
      I suppose they could have used east germans, but I think for something that impoatant they would have used their own people.
      • It was WWII, and Germany hadn't been split up yet - all the 18 yr. old English-speaking strutters came out of East Prussia - the Russian talent was busy building horse-drawn mortars.

        And when they recruited the guy, they had no idea what he would bring in.
        • If it was WWII then germany and russia were enemies... surely?

          So if a prussian (ie german, possibly polish) did it, then surely the results would have gone to the reich?

          Perhaps I'd better actually RTFA!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by anaesthetica (596507)
        At the time, East Prussia was not German territory, it was directly incorporated into the Soviet Union. It was actually (and remains today) an exclave of the Russian SFR. What was once East Prussia (about 300 years ago) is now Kaliningrad. The state of Prussia proper (of Frederick the Great and Otto von Bismarck fame) is divided up between Kaliningrad, Poland, and Germany now.
  • by SyscRAsH (127068) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:27AM (#21335035)
    Putin honors YOU!
  • by BoxRec (532280) <slashdot@NOsPAM.boxrec.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:29AM (#21335059) Homepage
    The man is possibly one of the greatest heroes of all time, he equalised the power balance and prevented the Americans from bombing whoever they wished.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @10:10AM (#21335421) Journal

      The man is possibly one of the greatest heroes of all time, he equalised the power balance and prevented the Americans from bombing whoever they wished.
      I wish I had mod points for this but I don't so I will have to just repost it with a higher score (until some pro-us looneys mod this down as a troll or whatever).

      The one thing that history has taught us is that power corrupts. If we in the west had the ability to make communism go away with one button and no chance of any reprisals we may have done it (or our policians may have done it for us without asking).

      Also note that the Russia had a policy of never striking first with Nuclear weapons unless we deployed them first, we (NATO) had no such policy. We held on to Nukes as way to discourage a conventional invasion so we had a policy that allowed us to strike first with WMD's, otherwise this policy would not have been effective.

      The rulers of the west had one thing in common with Hitler, they both despised the idea of Socialism in the form adopted by Russia. The fact is that in the cold war we came very close to a nuclear exchange anyway, and this was when we knew the opposing side could match us.

      If we knew they had no chance of retaliating except with a conventional attack I could see us in the west having taken things a lot further. I also believe that Russia would probably have not stopped the tanks when they did, if not for us demonstrating our nuclear ability against Japan.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Seraphim_72 (622457)

        I also believe that Russia would probably have not stopped the tanks when they did, if not for us demonstrating our nuclear ability against Japan.

        And General Patton would have loved to see them try that too. The perfect quote for this was Patton to the Under Sect. of War: "I would have you tell the Red Army where their border is, and give them a limited time to get back across. Warn them that if they fail to do so, we will push them back across it." It would have been bloody, but in the end we still ha

  • Koval was born in Iowa...
    And this guy wasn't kidnapped by the CIA and hung for treason back in the 50's why?
    • by Archon-X (264195)
      Noone was ever 'hung' for anything. Lots of people, however, were hanged.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jdunn14 (455930)
      I wouldn't want to be born there either, but don't you think the death penalty is a bit harsh for being an Iowa native?
  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:34AM (#21335095) Homepage
    ....Russian traitor, imo. Assuming your home country isn't nazi Germany or the equivalent.
  • watch out for people. Keep an eye on your fellow Americans and do your duty to the Government. Do not trust anyone, not even your loved ones! In fact, the terrorists will probably dress up like someone you love, just to make it worse when they kill you. They are everywhere, they even play baseball. Do your part and report non-baseball activities to your local authorities right away.
  • Well, not so much (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:38AM (#21335155)
    Er, um, we don't really know what this guy found out, do we?

    Chances are, given the considerable security, he did not learn a whole lot.

    Even the top designers of the Oak Ridge gas separation plant did not know exactly what they were doing. What are the chances this guy got the goods?

    And half of what they did at Oak Ridge was electromagnetic separation, which turned out to be way too inefficient. If he gave the Soviets that info, he did us a huge favor.

    The Polonium separation that went on at a scientist's mother's house in Dayton was straightforward chemistry, nothing particularly novel or secret.

    No James Bond here.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:48AM (#21335249) Journal

    Although lots of people seem to think him a traitor, he really wasn't (although it depends heavily on how your read the history). His father at one point emigrated to the US, then moved back to russia, taking his american born son with him. So while the guy was american born, when he became an agent he was a soviet citizen.

    Using people as agents who have lived in the country they are supposed to work in is nothing new. But he worked as an agent for the country of which he was a citizen. He entered the US as a spy and as such did NOT commit treason.

    That is an important difference to make.

    Odd by the way that a lot of americans seem to condemn hailing this guy as a hero, when their own space program was built upon a nazi war criminal. Russian spy vs nazi, oh yeah the ruskies are the baddies alright. Working people to their death vs taking a dangerous mission to protect your home country.

    For those of us with a mind (american, Idol is on) this guy and others helped created the policy of mutually assured destruction. While nukes are scary, they ain't half as scary as they would have been if only one side had them. Would you have trusted the US as the only country with nuclear weapons?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dfenstrate (202098)
      While nukes are scary, they ain't half as scary as they would have been if only one side had them. Would you have trusted the US as the only country with nuclear weapons?

      It's worth noting that it would be far worse if the USSR was the sole nuclear power in the world. Any rational evaluation of the mass starvations and outright idealistic purges that mark communism can only conclude that it's wrong and evil.

      Even today, 20 years after the fall of the wall, Ex-soviet bloc countries continue to pay the price of
    • by dillon_rinker (17944) * on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:00PM (#21336797) Homepage
      "Would you have trusted the US as the only country with nuclear weapons?"

      For several years, the United States WAS the only country with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. The United States under had the means to directly dominate the entire world. It refrained from doing so.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @04:01PM (#21340599)
        It refrained from doing so.

        So what? One or two presidents were either smart enough or lacked the motivation to use them or both. How long do you really think that would have kept up? How long before we had a dim bulb in power with an enemy to provoke him? We'd have never lasted until now, without using them.

        Remember, the US was involved in several wars after WW2, and one the the big reasons it refrained from using nukes, or even fully committing to those wars for that matter was the threat of nuclear retaliation from the USSR if they pushed too hard.

      • by dadragon (177695) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @04:36PM (#21341087) Homepage
        For several years, the United States WAS the only country with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. The United States under had the means to directly dominate the entire world. It refrained from doing so.

        According to the Quebec Agreement [wikipedia.org], the USA was bound to not use them without the consent of Canada and the United Kingdom.

        That also means that Canada and the UK were just as guilty as the USA for the bombing of Japan.
  • A lot of bias (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:53AM (#21335293)

    Koval was born in Iowa, spoke fluent American English

    So why is it importand to mention that he, as a born American, spoke American Enlish? It would be more surprising would he have talked with a russian dialect.
  • ARTIST: Tom Lehrer
    TITLE: Who's Next

    First we got the bomb, and that was good
    'Cause we love peace and motherhood
    Then Russia got the bomb, but that's okay
    'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way
    Who's next

    France got the bomb, but don't you grieve
    'Cause they're on our side, I believe
    China got the bomb, but have no fears
    They can't wipe us out for at least five years
    Who's next

    Then Indonesia claimed that they
    Were gonna get one any day
    South Africa wants two, that's right
    One for the black and one for the whi
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:49AM (#21336605) Homepage Journal
    But there was no way the Nazis could get enough electricity to refine Uranium with Calutrons as the US did (they are large mass spectrometers), so they were trying to build a reactor to synthesize plutonium.

    One can fuel a reactor with unrefined uranium if one uses heavy water as a moderator, but they were unable to get enough heavy water because some commandos blew up the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant in Norway, then when they were trying to ship their existing inventory to Germany, the commandos sunk the ship it was on. Their heroics were portrayed in the movie The Heroes of Telemark.

    After the war, the Allies found a sub-critical heavy water reactor in Germany.

    Saddam Hussein really was trying to build a bomb before the first Gulf War - arms inspectors found calutrons, as well as buried power cables going from power plants to the calutrons (they require prodigous amounts of electricity to power their electromagnets).

    The arms inspectors also found copies of World War II-era US patents on improvements to Calutron technology. They had been declassified, you see.

    I discuss these and other fun facts in my essay Kiss Your Sorry Ass Goodbye, The Atom Bomb Is Gonna Fly [hydrogenbomb.org].

  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:57AM (#21336735) Homepage Journal
    The Soviets understood what to do - they were missing the engineering of how to do it. Similarly while the Rosenbergs go down in history as the greatest traitors, even the Soviets admit that their information sped up the development of the H Bomb by less than 2 years. Sakharov came at the problem from a completely different direction than Teller-Ulam and essentially invented a brand new branch of nuclear physics on his own.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

Working...