Bentley, Elizabeth

   Bentley, a Columbia University graduate and longtime Soviet agent, became one of the most controversial witnesses of Soviet espionage in the United States. For more than a decade, Bentley served as a courier and agent for the NKVD in New York. She had a torrid love affair with the Soviet case officer, Joseph Golos, which ended with his death in 1943. Bentley was highly valued by senior Soviet intelligence officers serving in America, and was given the code name “Umnitsa” (Clever Girl). Among the agents she helped run was Duncan Lee, an official of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In 1945 she found the rezidentura distancing itself from her, and she was informed that her role as a principal agent would be taken over by a Soviet intelligence officer. Whether she was angered by this arbitrary decision, depressed over the loss of her lover, or afraid of being caught, she decided to defect. In November 1945, she approached the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New York City, informed them of her role as a Soviet agent, and prepared a 112-page affidavit detailing her life as a Soviet agent.
   In 1948 Bentley testified before the U.S. Congress in public hearings, naming a number of prominent officials as Soviet agents, including Alger Hiss, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White, and OSS official Duncan Lee. An FBI agent commenting on the value of her report noted that before she arrived, “we had files, here, there, and everywhere,” but her reporting “pulled it all together.” For the first time, the FBI understood the complexity of Soviet espionage in the United States.
   Bentley was widely disliked for her willingness to testify at trials and grand juries. She retired to teach at a girls’ reform school. She died of cancer made worse by heavy drinking. Her testimony and autobiography were widely discredited by revisionist historians for more than 30 years. However, NKVD cables intercepted by the United States in the Venona program indicate that she was an important source and that most of her testimony was accurate.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Elizabeth Bentley (writer) — Infobox Writer name = Elizabeth Bentley caption = Genuine Poetical Compositions, on Various Subjects (Norwich, by subscription, 1791) birthdate = 1767 birthplace = Norwich, England, UK deathdate = death year and age|1839|1767 deathplace = Norwich …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Bentley — Elizabeth Terrill Bentley (January 1 1908 ndash; December 3 1963) was an American spy for the Soviet Union from 1938 until 1945. In 1945 she defected from the Communist Party and Soviet intelligence and became an informer for the U.S. She exposed …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Bentley — Elizabeth Bentley, 1948 Elizabeth Terill Bentley (* 1. Januar 1908 in Milford, Connecticut; † 3. Dezember 1963 in New Haven, Connecticut) war eine US Amerikanerin, die in der Zeit von 1938 bis 1945 als sowjetische Agentin tätig war …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bentley's Miscellany — Couverture de la deuxième édition (mars 1837) Auteur Richard Bentley, Charles Dickens ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Elizabeth Bentley (disambiguation) — Elizabeth Bentley may refer to: *Elizabeth Terrill Bentley (1908–1963), spy *Elizabeth Bentley (writer) …   Wikipedia

  • Bentley (Begriffsklärung) — Bentley bezeichnet: Bentley, einen Automobilhersteller Bentley Systems, Incorporated, einen Softwarehersteller in den USA Orte in Australien: Bentley (Australien), einen Vorort von Perth in Australien Bentley (Alberta) in Kanada im Vereinigten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Caroline Grey — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Elizabeth Caroline Grey Nombre Elizabeth Caroline Grey Nacimiento 1798 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bentley Heath — is a village in the West Midlands borough of Solihull, England.LocationBentley Heath is to the East of the M40 and the South of the M42 which, along with a small but important green belt area, separates Bentley Heath and its neighbours of Knowle… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett) — Elizabeth Freeman Elizabeth Freeman, aged 60 or 70 Born ca. 1742 Claverack, New York, U.S.A. Died December 28, 1829 Stockbridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth of Rhuddlan — (also Elizabeth Plantagenet) (7 August 1282, Rhuddlan Castle ndash; 5 May 1316, Quendon) was the eighth daughter of Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. Of all of her siblings, she was closest to her younger brother Edward II of England,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.