Three of the four spies who stole US atomic secrets between 1940 and 1948, sharing this information with the Soviets, were already known. But the identity of the fourth member of the group was yet to be revealed.
It is now known who the four spies were, whose actions accelerated the development of nuclear weapons of the USSR and set the stage for the Cold War.
The identity of the fourth spy, codenamed "Godsend," was hidden from public opinion until recently. His real name was Oscar Seborer and worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, home of the Manhattan Project, where the first nuclear weapons were designed.
For decades, Seborer's name has remained relatively obscure, being mentioned on a few dozen pages amid the tens of thousands of secret documents compiled by the FBI.
However, when the documents were declassified in 2011, they caught the attention of two historians, John Earl Haynes and Harvey klehr. So 70 years after Seborer betrayed his own country, his story is finally being told, according to the US newspaper. New York Times.
But before this discovery, the three spies known to bring atomic secrets to the Soviets were David Greenglass, Klaus Fuchs and Theodore hall. A fourth spy was proposed to exist in the early 1990s based on clues in the memoirs of KGB officers, but the clues were considered in 1995 as part of a Russian misinformation campaign to protect another active agent.
According to the researchers, who published your study in October in the scientific journal Studies in Intelligence, Seborer will be the fourth spy, based on 2011 FBI declassified documents, as well as partial records from a decades-old initiative called Operation SOLO. The operation, which ran from 1952 to 1980, focused on two brothers in the US Communist Party who were FBI informants.
So far, only the SOLO archives until 1956 have been released, so many questions remain about Seborer's spy activities and what happened to him after defecting to the USSR.
What is known, tells the Livescience, is that Seborer trained as engineer and enrolled in the United States Army in 1942, transferred to Los Alamos in 1944 and assigned to the Manhattan Project for two years.
After the war, he worked as an electrical engineer in the United States Navy, but signs began to appear that all was not well. His superiors repeatedly reported Seborer as a “Security risk”, which arose from their associations with known communists – not suspicions of espionage.
By the early 1950s, anti-Communist fervor in the United States was reaching a new peak and Seborer secretly fled the country in 1952 with his brother, sister-in-law and mother-in-law. He settled in Moscow, Russia, where he died in 2015.
Conversations in the SOLO files suggest that Seborer could be up to something when I was in Los Alamos. "Oscar was in New Mexico – you understand what I mean," Communist Party member and lawyer Isidore Needleman told one of the informants. "I'm not going to draw a diagram," he added.
Needleman more openly suggested that Seborer was a spy, even writing a note to the informant that said: "He (Seborer) gave them (the Soviets) the formula for the‘ A 'bomb. "
For researchers, however, the mention of Seborer was scarce and “easily forgotten” in the vast mountain of archives.
The study's authors are still trying to figure out what specific atomic secrets Seborer will have shared and whether or not his family members played a direct role in espionage. So, for now, the significance of Seborer's contributions to Soviet intelligence remains unknown.