Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rosenberg Grand Jury Testimony Released -- Are 'Scholars' Really Objective

After 58 years, historians and journalists will have a chance to examine the secret grand jury testimony of witnesses in the espionage case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

The couple was investigated in 1950, tried in 1951 for conspiracy to commit espionage and convicted and sentenced to death in 1953.


The National Security Archive, the American Historical Association, the Georgetown University Law Center and others have petitioned to have the transcripts of 46 witnesses released to the public.

In an unusual move, federal authorities have said that because of the historic significance of the case, they do not oppose releasing the transcripts of testimony from witnesses who have died or who do not object to their release.

Of the 46 grand jury witnesses, 36 are either deceased or do not object to releasing the transcripts. Three others are thought to have died; four have not been located.
Interestingly David Greenglass, Ethyl's brother refused, petitioned the court, and was granted the right to keep his transcript sealed -- his testimony was considered pivotal in convicting the Ethyl Rosenberg.

Another defendent convicted of obstruction petitioned to have her testimony withheld,  Miriam Moskowitz, "now 92, expressed relief that the transcripts would not make it into the hands of the Cold War historians, 'because I know they will not write the truth.'"

Despite the release of documents from the Soviet archives that confirmed the guilt of the Rosenbergs, many still believe they were persecuted for political reasons. 

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