The Venona Project, was a project started by the U.S. Army
's (who was later joined by England
) Signal Intelligence Service
the Soviet Union
The project was first started in 1937 by Gene Grabeel a former school teacher and new SIS employee. The Army had been collecting encrypted Soviet diplomatic cables starting in 1935. Ms. Grabeel and a small group of others who were execellent in mathmatics began sorting the messages by type (KGB, Naval Intelligence, etc.) and sender.
The group did not have much success in the early going; in fact partial decryptions would not happen until 1946. In the end, the work of the group did not have much tangable effect, other that to confirm FBI fears of widespread Soviet espionage in America.
The people, and other names listed below were the topics discussed in many of the messages the members of the Venona Project tried to decrypt. Historians Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev in their book The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - The Stalin Era poured over both the decrypted cables the Army was able to read and also the actual cables themselves in Russia. In the end the cables (and the book) paint an interesting picture of the people who were fighting the Cold War before it had even offically started.