Donald Wheeler

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This article is part of the
Venona
series.

CPUSA
Office of Strategic Services
Perlo group

Donald Nivan Wheeler was a graduate of Yale and later member of the faculty. Lee also attended college in England with Duncan Lee who described him as a really "progressive person". Wheeler was associated with various Comintern organizations before being employed by the government, first in the United States Department of Agriculture, later the Department of Treasury. From 1941 to 1946 Wheeler was employed by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Washington D.C. Wheeler was a member of the white collar units of the Communist Party of the District of Columbia. Franz Neuman, who worked with him in the OSS gave a good report to Moscow, describing him as "a calm and progressive man".

In November 1943 Earl Browder, Chairman of the CPUSA, turned control of the Perlo group of Soviet spies over to Jacob Golos two months before his death and it subsequently was taken over by his girl friend, Elizabeth Bentley.

Wheeler received within he Research and Analysis Division 'ditto' copies of monthly and semi-monthly reports of OSS as they concerned political developments throughout the world during World War II. The 'ditto' reports were classified secret and confidential reports and Wheeler supplied them to Soviet intelligence, as well as handwritten and typewritten material of cable reports from State Department and the OSS. Wheeler provided information on the organization and policies of British intelligence services. He also furnished memoranda prepared by the Foreign Nationalities Branch of OSS on material relating to the particular racial groups and activities within the United States.

Beginning in 1944 the entire range of OSS planning documents on the postwar occupation of Germany were supplied to KGB head General Pavel Fitin in Moscow through Wheeler. Wheeler was considered the most active operative within the Perlo group. His complicity in espionage was corroborated by information exhumed from the NKVD archives in the 1990s. Wheeler appears in Venona as a Soviet source under the cover name "Izra".

Sources

  • Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995)
  • Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--the Stalin Era (New York: Random House, 1999), pgs. 106, 225, 251-56, 257, 259, 261, 264, 286.
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