The trailer for "Oppenheimer" has been released. “Oppenheimer” premieres in theaters on July 21, 2023.
By Cliff Kincaid
For more background, read this column, "Oppie Was A Commie."
Consider that in 2004 the Senate voted unanimously voted to recognize the “loyal service” of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the atomic bomb. But the overwhelming evidence shows that Oppenheimer was a communist.
Herbert Romerstein, co-author of a book on Soviet espionage, The Venona Secrets, told me at the time, “There isn’t any question that Oppenheimer was a traitor to the United States and doesn’t deserve any of the honors that these people [in the Senate] want to give him.”
The evidence was based on several sources. One is the American interception of communications by the Soviet intelligence service during World War II. The code name for that interception was Venona. They identify and describe the activities of Soviet agents. The second source is the Soviet spymaster Gen. Pavel Sudoplatov, who, when he fell out of favor with the Soviet establishment, wrote a letter to the then-head of the Soviet Communist Party, Yuri Andropov. Sudoplatov boasted about his achievements, including getting information on the U.S. atom bomb. One of the critical sources of information for the Soviets, Sudoplatov said, was J. Robert Oppenheimer. Sudoplatov had no reason to lie because he knew that Andropov could easily have verified this information.
Romerstein, who worked on Capitol Hill for 18 years, told me at the time that the resolution honoring Oppenheimer was passed by unanimous consent when it was likely that few Senators were even on the Senate floor. Out of the 100 Senators, he said, there probably aren’t five of them who know anything about Oppenheimer.
One factor may have been a controversial development that occurred during the Clinton administration, when a statement from FBI Director Louis Freeh was released, taking issue with the evidence that Oppenheimer had knowingly supplied classified information to the Soviets. However, this was before the Venona secrets were released, confirming Oppenheimer’s espionage activity.
Whatever the explanation and circumstances, it is a sign of the times that the Senate honored a figure who was a member of a group that betrayed our secrets to our enemies.