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James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ)

Authors

April Pickens

Abstract

Popular opinion and many historians portray the effects of Soviet espionage on the United States as disastrous. Although covert Soviet efforts undeniably harmed America, their extent and gravity has been greatly exaggerated. This paper evaluates primary and secondary sources on the subject to strike a delicate balance between minimizing and inflating the effects of Soviet activities. It acknowledges that espionage did some damage, but questions the legal status, extent, and effect of much of the Soviets’ “stolen” information, ultimately arguing that most Soviet espionage was actually more harmful to the Soviet Union than to the United States.

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