White House Protest Corps

The Worst Internal Scandal in NSA History Was Blamed on Cold War Defectors’ Homosexuality
March 27, 2010, 3:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


To some of his detractors, William Hamilton Martin was something of an amusing figure on the streets of Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, a bookish mathematician with a crew cut who walked with a Groucho Marx–like waddle. But what others remembered most was that lean, blue-eyed “Ham” Martin, a University of Washington graduate and the son of an Ellensburg meatpacker, was a meticulous dresser, spoke “slightly effeminately,” and may have had a thing for a Stanford grad named Bernon Mitchell. Furthermore, the belief among some officials, politicians, and the press was that because Martin and Mitchell might be homosexual, they did the unthinkable: In the midst of the Cold War, the two National Security Agency code breakers defected to Russia and went to work for the Soviet government.

On June 25, 1960, after four years as trusted employees of America’s largest spy agency, Martin, then 29, and Mitchell, then 31, flew out of Washington, D.C., with one-way tickets to Mexico City. From there, they quietly slipped off to Havana and took a Russian freighter to the Soviet Union, following a plan that had evolved over a year. The case stunned politicians and intelligence officials alike. Looking back, some of the defectors’ neighbors and co-workers told investigators that if they’d been more vigilant about the pair’s sexual proclivities, maybe they’d have been more suspicious of their patriotism.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: