Mary Wolfe Price was an American citizen and secretary to journalist Walter Lippmann of the New York Herald. Sometime prior to March 1941 Mary Price agreed to furnish Jacob Golos, controller of the secret apparatus of the CPUSA on behalf of the Soviet Union, with all the information she could concerning the material Lippmann was writing and his contacts. Elizabeth Bentley was made the courier between Washington, D.C. where Price worked and New York where she and Golos lived together.
Price became a "cut out", or go-between government employees who were also members of the CPUSA secret apparatus. Among them were Maurice Halperin, Duncan Lee, Helen Tenney of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services); Robert Miller the U.S State Department; and Michael Greenberg an associate of presidential aide Lauchlin Currie. Lee was the personal assistant to OSS head General William J. Donovan, the first intelligence chief in America's newly created wartime intelligence agency. The material from Halperin was considered extremely valuable especially how it related to the Polish government in exile.
Mary Price's apartment in Washington eventually became the rendezvous point for meetings between Golos' courior and the Perlo group. Various members of the Perlo group would meet with Bentley every two or three weeks in Mary Prices' apartment. Those members delivering stolen intelligence materials included Victor Perlo, chief of the Aviation Section, War Production Board (WPB); Edward Fitzgerald of the WPB; Charles Kramer who worked for Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization, the Office of Price Administration, and Senate Subcommittee on Wartime Health and Education all during the World War II; Allen Rosenberg was on the Board of Economic Warfare and became Chief of the Economic Institution Staff of the Foreign Economic Administration; and Donald Wheeler of the OSS Analysis division.
Soviet intelligence considered the Perlo group an extremely valuable asset, and upon the death of Golos in late 1942, sought to control Mary Price directly.
Iskhak Akhmerov, chief of the NKGB illegal station in the U.S., wanted to establish her in an apartment in the Georgetown section of Washington for sexual entrapment of blackmail victims.
Elizabeth Bentley claimed Price was psychologically unfit for further clandestine work. Head of the Communist Party of the United States of America Earl Browder later released her from the NKGB. Her code name used by Soviet intelligence and in the Venona project is "Arena"
- Haynes, John Earl & Klehr, Harvey, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press, 2000. ISBN 0300084625
- Bernard Schuster and Joseph Katz: KGB Master Spies in the United States