Ethel Rosenberg's Sons: New Files Prove She's Innocent

They want Obama to exonerate the executed spy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2015 3:39 PM CDT
Ethel Rosenberg's Sons: New Files Prove She's Innocent
In this 1951 file photo, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are shown during their trial for espionage in New York.   (AP Photo, File)

The sons of Ethel Rosenberg say that newly released grand jury testimony confirms that their mother was no spy, despite her conviction and subsequent execution in a sensational Cold War case. Michael and Robert Meeropol write in the New York Times that they want President Obama to acknowledge the government's mistake 62 years ago and exonerate her. The essay comes after last month's release of the grand jury testimony of David Greenglass, Ethel's brother, who, when asked about spying, said, “I said before, and say it again, honestly, this is a fact: I never spoke to my sister about this at all.” And yet during the trial that followed, Greenglass and his wife, Ruth, testified that Ethel actively played a role in husband Julius' espionage ring for the Soviets.

Greenglass died last year, and he previously admitted that he lied during the trial about his sister because he needed to keep his own wife out of jail. The Meeropols write that KGB documents show that the Soviets considered Ruth, not Ethel, a spy, even giving her a code name. "Our mother was not a spy," they write. "The government held her life hostage to coerce our father to talk, and when that failed, it extracted false statements to secure her wrongful execution." It's not just a historical footnote, they argue. The government railroaded their mother in the name of national security during a world crisis, a move that "has disturbing implications in post-9/11 America." Click for their full post. (More espionage stories.)

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