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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

AMERASIA

Articles in this academic journal published in January 1945, apparently drawn from a classified British report,  prompted a counterespionage investigation by the Office of Strategic Services security branch that identified a  large quantity of documentary material in Amerasia’s editorial offices in New York. Eventually the investigation was taken over by the  Federal Bureau of Investigation, which arrested Amerasia’s editor, Philip Jaffe, and charged him with conspiracy to steal government property. Also arrested were his supposed  sources, who included a naval intelligence officer, Lt. Andrew Roth, and two State Department officials,  Emmanuel Larsen and John Service. Jaffe pleaded guilty and received a fine and a suspended sentence, but charges against his codefendants, although indicted, were dropped when they became aware that they had been the subject of illegal searches and wiretaps. Concerned that the legal principle of “the fruit of the  poisoned tree” would compromise any prosecution, the case was abandoned, although many commentators believed influence had been exercised to avoid political embarrassment, allegations that were later pursued by  the congressional Tydings Committee. Later study of the VENONA texts revealed that one of Jaffe’s  contacts, Joseph Bernstein, was an active Soviet illegal codenamed MARQUIS.