Alger Hiss not a spy, says Russian researcher after look at secret Soviet archives

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NEW YORK -- A Russian researcher, delving anew into once-secret Soviet files from the Cold War, says she has found no evidence that Alger Hiss spied or that Soviet intelligence had any particular interest in him.

In a speech to be delivered at a New York University symposium Thursday, Svetlana A. Chervonnaya says neither Hiss' name nor his alleged spy moniker, Ales, appears in any of dozens of documents from Soviet archives that she has reviewed since the early 1990s...

Calling her efforts "proving the negative," Chervonnaya says "a thorough combing of all the said archives combined has not produced a shred of evidence that Alger Hiss had ever been a member of the (American) Communist Party and was engaged in any behind-the-scenes interactions with the Soviets."...

Soviet defectors, retired KGB agents and U.S. officials, some claiming to have documentary proof, have come down on both sides of what remains one of the Cold War's most enduring controversies.

In 1995-96, U.S. intelligence agencies released the Venona Files, a series of decoded Soviet diplomatic cables on espionage matters during World War II. They mentioned a U.S. contact called Ales, who already had been identified by a defecting Soviet agent as Hiss.

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