The Spies' Secrets Revealed

When the U.S. established diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. in 1933, Soviet intelligence agencies immediately assigned professional spies to the new embassy and consulates. Suddenly, American secrets began flowing to Moscow. The Soviets took advantage of both U.S. ignorance about espionage and, even more, American communists' blind loyalty to Russia's socialist ideals. Some American recruits, like State Department communications chief David A. Salmon, handed over reams of classified information simply for the money. But most who signed on with the KGB or the GRU—Soviet military intelligence—held a principled desire to aid the communist cause abroad as well as at home.The rough outlines, and some details, of the Soviet's remarkable 1933–45 success have been known for more than a decade, but now a richly detailed new book, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by historians John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, offers a remarkable portrait of the KGB's efforts—drawn largely...

Why The Right-To-Life Movement Faces A Difficult Future

This week's five to four Supreme Court ruling striking down a Nebraska law aimed at outlawing what opponents call "partial birth" abortions was an even bigger legal defeat for anti-abortion forces than the press-and activists-have so far realized.The Court's majority opinion identified two fatal defects in the Nebraska law. First, the Court found that Nebraska's definition of the procedure was so broadly worded that it violated the "undue burden" test that the Court had laid down for anti-abortion measures in the landmark 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another five to four ruling that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade (1973). Most, although not all, of the 30 other states laws outlawing "partial-birth" abortions have similar or identical flaws and are now also unconstitutional.Anti-abortion activists and lawyers have realized for several years that these statutes were at risk, and were at work at crafting more precisely worded prohibitions even before the Supreme Court ruled. Ohio,...

Echoes Of A Klan Killing

At 10:19 on Sunday morning, Sept. 15, 1963, a simple time-delay fuse triggered a dozen sticks of dynamite outside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The massive explosion tore through the church just before services. When the smoke cleared, parishioners found the bodies of 11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. No attack against the civil-rights movement was ever deadlier --or more frustrating, as two of the well-known suspects walked free for nearly 37 years.Until last week. The arrests of former Ku Klux Klansmen Thomas E. Blanton Jr., 61, and Bobby Frank Cherry, 69, may have closed a sad chapter of Southern justice. It had opened with J. Edgar Hoover's failure to bring any charges after the initial FBI investigation of the bombing in the 1960s. Over the years, a new generation of lawmen put away Robert E. Chambliss, a violent Klansman known as "Dynamite Bob," who was arrested in 1977 and died in prison...

Back To Birmingham

JUST AFTER 2 A.M. ON SUNDAY, SEPT. 15, 1963, A BLUE-AND-white 1957 Chevy carrying four white men pulled up next to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Two of the men got out, and one tucked a box behind an exterior staircase, against the church's outer wall. A black passerby noticed the men and their distinctive car - the Chevy had a long ""whip'' radio antenna. Eight hours later, at 10:19 a.m., five young women were straightening their clothes in the ladies' lounge just before services when a huge explosion tore through the church. One of the girls, 14-year-old Cynthia Wesley, was decapitated; three others -11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins - also died instantly. Addie Mae's younger sister, Sarah, survived, but lost an eye; parents and parishioners pulled her from the rubble, the smell of dynamite fresh in the air. Though no other act of terror during the movement would claim as many lives, the case was never completely...

Pointing Toward A Plot

FOR YEARS IT'S SEEMED THE MOST clear-cut assassination of the 1960s: James Earl Ray, a racist ex-con, killed Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4,1968. One year later, faced with a possible death sentence, Ray pleaded guilty before trial in exchange for life imprisonment. Within days he changed his mind, but the courts refused to grant him a trial. Aside from one brief jailbreak, Ray has spent the last 28 years in prison. Now 68, Ray is near death, suffering from liver disease-but he still wants a trial. In Ray's mind, prosecutors could not now prove his guilt. And in an odd twist, a growing number of King's own relatives and former aides agree that Ray should now be given the hearing he knowingly refused in 1969-largely because they think there may have been a government conspiracy to kill King. ...

Marshall, Hoover And The Naacp

THURGOOD MARSHALL'S CHIEF PREOCCUPATION throughout most of 1952 was with how the U.S. Supreme Court would respond when he, then the NAACP's top lawyer, argued a school-desegregation case called Brown v. Board of Education that December. Simultaneously, however, Marshall's best acquaintance in the upper reaches of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant Director Louis B. Nichols, was telling J. Edgar Hoover that "the matter which is worrying [Marshall] more than anything else at the moment is the Communist Party's effort to get into the NAACP." True, Marshall had been pressing for several years to expel those sub rosa communists who had wormed their way into various local NAACP branches. But he clearly wasn't as obsessed with Red-hunting as Nichols described--and therein lies a little-known tale about the civil-rights movement. ...