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PBS Nova – Secrets, Lies and Atomic Spies (2002)

PBS NOVA Secrets Lies and Atomic Spies

NOVA reveals startling new evidence that Soviet spies penetrated America’s deepest secrets, including the Manhattan Project, in the 1940’s. By cracking the code of Soviet diplomatic cables, the FBI was able to hunt down “atom spies” such as Klaus Fuchs and Julius Rosenberg. But the true “master spy,” a physicist named Ted Hall, got away — and his gripping story is presented for the first time by NOVA.
Join NOVA and discover new secrets behind the greatest intelligence loss in U.S. history. Recently de-classified documents prove that as many as 300 Americans-including top-level Roosevelt Cabinet members-may have spied for the Soviets during World War II. But one of the most important spies, a physicist named Ted Hall, got away without punishment. See the startling new evidence kept hidden from the American public for over 50 years.
In August 1945 the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, developed after an unprecedented top-secret crash program. Four years later, the Soviet Union stunned the world by testing an atomic bomb of its own. Now through never-before-seen interviews with scientist Ted Hall and his wife Joan, and information from a recently revealed code-breaking operation, NOVA uncovers the secret of the Soviets’ sudden atomic success, on Secrets, Lies & Atomic Spies.
Secrets, Lies & Atomic Spies takes viewers inside one of the most extraordinary decryption breakthroughs in history–VENONA, which in 1943 began probing the seemingly unbreakable Soviet code for a loophole.
NOVA interviews several surviving officials involved with VENONA, including crack code breaker Meredith Gardner, who explains how he exploited Soviet mistakes to uncover their atom spy ring, and retired FBI agent Robert Lamphere, who worked with Gardner to identify spies. Against all odds the code breaker’s effort finally succeeded, and with the help of the FBI, exposed a vast network of spies operating in the United States, including highly placed agents at the clandestine facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was designed and built.
The VENONA operation stayed in business for decades, unraveling the complex spy network that operated in the United States in the 1940s and allowing authorities to gauge the extent to which American secrets had been compromised.

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