famous traitors in american history

Rothkopf describes in vivid detail some of the famous traitors in U.S. history, such as Jefferson Davis, … UCLA grad Iva Toguri D’Aquino was the most infamous. However, Arnold felt passed over and used. Benedict Arnold was an early American leader in the Revolutionary War, but his reputation was quickly tarnished when he switched sides and fought for the British. 12 of History’s Most Notorious Traitors From Ancient Times to the 20th Century Khalid Elhassan - October 14, 2017 “Traitor” is a heavy word laden with ugly connotations of deception and dishonesty – the kind of disreputable and disgusting person who turns against his own to betray their trust and confidence on behalf of … But he also needed a general. “Tokyo Rose” is a collective nickname for several women who worked for Radio Tokyo during World War II. Arnold died in London, and monuments to him there are ambiguous at best. It is widely believed that “Azzam the American” is now “Azzam the Dead American”; following reports that he was killed by a Predator drone in January 2008. They were accused of passing secrets about the atomic bomb to Russian agents, the secret information coming from Ethel’s brother who was working on the Manhattan project. Their legal prosecution was the “Trial of the Century” (prior to O.J., at least), and many felt the couple were unfairly convicted. Their trial was considered the “trial of the century,” and many Americans believed the two were wrongfully tried. While still a general on the American side, he became Commander of the West Point fort in New York, and offered to surrender it to the British. The damage he caused US intelligence efforts can’t really be known, but conservative estimates indicate that he exposed over 100 agents, and was directly responsible for at least 10 deaths. As a full-on member of their “media committee”, Gadahn served Al Qaeda as translator, video producer, cultural interpreter and spokesman. However, recently declassified cables from the Soviet Union’s VENONA project, now support testimony that Julius was, indeed, a courier and recruiter for the USSR. He was then sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, and can be found in America’s “Supermax” prison, where he remains in his cell, alone, 23 hours a day. As a result, Ames was sentenced to life in prison, while his wife received 63 months. The Battery Medic. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “treason” as ”attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies”. Kim Philby jokes with newsmen at his mother's home during a 1955 press conference after being... 3: Vidkun Quisling. "In Traitor: A History of American Betrayal from Benedict Arnold to Donald Trump, David Rothkopf puts the presidency of Donald Trump into the historical context of other Americans who have been unfaithful to their country. In addition, he identified many Russian agents who contacted the FBI for the KGB. You really have to tread THe story o fthe American revolution.It nearly didn't happen. The culmination of his treachery was a plot to deliver up West Point, America’s strongest and most important fortification, to the British. Moreover, KGB agents also learned of all the movements of Vietnamese troops from 1971–1973, and the precise plans for the airstrikes that the Americans were to carry out against North Vietnam. Learn more, Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Submitted here are ten people who did their level best to see that America couldn’t celebrate her official 234th birthday this week. The British made full use of the services of the new acquisition — Arnold led several raids in Virginia, New London and Connecticut. Much like Aaron Burr (above) Arnold’s plan unraveled due to an intercepted document: when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers revealing the proposed surrender of West Point, Arnold fled to a British ship docked on the Hudson river, narrowly escaping the forces of one highly pissed off George Washington. Explore, If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. Authorities reopened her case with a vengeance in 1948, and she was promptly convicted of treason in 1949. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. In order for you to never miss a story, you can subscribe to this monthly newsletter that will keep you up to date with the latest and greatest articles published each week. As a result, he has gone down in history as one of the most infamous traitors in American history. Anonymous. 6 – John A. Walker, John A. Walker, a United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer and communications specialist, famously pulled off the biggest betrayal in naval history for twenty long years before he was finally arrested by the FBI in 1985. He then handed over settings for the KL-47 cipher machine, which decoded sensitive US Navy messages. , the location of underwater microphones through which Americans detected Soviet submarines. Hanssen grew up in a dysfunctional home, suffering abuse at the hands of his father. His name is so synonymous with the word “traitor” in the U.S., calling someone a “Benedict Arnold” can still cause fists to fly over 200 years later. During the American Revolutionary War, Arnold began the war in the Continental Army, but later defected to the British Army. As a member of Al Qaeda’s “media committee”, Gadahn was a translator, video producer, cultural interpreter, and spokesman for the terrorist organization. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. During the height of the Vietnam war in 1972, film starlet Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam and shilled for the North Vietnamese government, screeching that American prisoners of war (POWs) were being treated humanely. “Throughout history, America has built up a veritable rogues’ gallery of traitors, turncoats and collaborators, all of whom fought under enemy colours.” IT WAS DEC. 1, 2001. Fresh off his duel with Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr noticed his political career was now as dead as Hamilton was. Thus, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and his wife only 63 months in prison. And yes, this list is “too American.”. But in 1948 she was arrested again and sentenced a year later for treason. A careful analysis of Ames’ finances revealed that he and his wife raised more than $ 4.6 million over their espionage careers. “You make your own life” When he was still a general on the American side, he became the commander of a fort in New York, which he offered to the British. Meet The Battery Medic; About; More Info. He specialized in selling to the KGB the identities of CIA agents placed inside him. From the times that the pyramids were raised to the end of…. From Cold War spies to Aztec conquerers, these famous betrayals are a reminder that human history isn’t marked solely by acts of good will. The damage to American intelligence cannot be known to its full extent, but Ames is estimated to have exposed more than 100 agents and is directly responsible for at least 10 deaths. 8 So Burr sent the infamous “Cipher Letter” to General James Wilkinson, Commander-in-Chief of the US Army, detailing the plot and requesting his services. Not too long ago, new information revealed the source that finally exposed Hanssen and provided the FBI with the evidence to arrest him … The Feds had even monitored his e-mails to Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, also known as the “Bin Laden of the Internet”. The Worst Traitor in American History Most people are familiar with the name Robert Hanssen, a man who was an FBI agent, and one of the most devastating traitors in American History. Britain quickly secured Arnold’s services, and he led British raids in Virginia, New London and Groton, Connecticut, before the war ended with the American victory at Yorktown. Traitors during the American Revolution. 7 Many have described his activities as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history.”. An American that converted to Islam, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, threatened, through a video, that he was planning a terrorist attack in the city of Los Angeles. Burr appeared in court and was not initially indicted, but fled when asked to appear a second time. Thus, on December 9, 1806, the US Army seized most of Burr’s boats and supplies. His motivations were purely financial, and he proved to be a screaming bargain: over the next 17 years, Walker gave the KGB the locations of all American nuclear submarines, as well as the procedures the US would follow to launch nuclear missiles at the Soviet Union in the event of war. He escaped the soldiers of a very upset George Washington by hiding on a British ship anchored on the Hudson River. During his espionage career Hanssen compromised scores of investigations and operations, including the surveillance of suspected mole Felix Bloch, and completed an eavesdropping tunnel directly under the Soviet Embassy decoding room. 6 Without any further due, let’s take a look! Benedict Arnold Is America’s Most Famous Traitor. Library of Congress The most famous traitor in American history is arguably Benedict Arnold, though Arnold was not tried for his treachery and the statute defining treason did not exist at the time he tried to sell … Avid Writer with invaluable knowledge in Business Studies, History and Psychology. According to Vitaly Yurchenko, a KGB defector, “this was the most important case in KGB history. All of them with their own reasons and their own “prizes” gained for betraying their country. Source(s): famous traitor american history general arnold: She then went on to condemn all US soldiers as “war criminals”. On hearing that many POWs claimed to have been tortured, Fonda denounced them as “liars”. Peter Pettigrew, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Everyone put your hands together for the most hideous traitor in wizarding history. Last but not least we have Benedict Arnold. Prior to the shooting, Hasan had repeatedly expressed extremist views, most of which had been communicated to his superiors and the FBI. In true cloak-and-dagger fashion, Ames would mark a blue postal drop box with a piece of chalk whenever he needed to contact his KGB handlers. Yes, an American Vice President was also one of its greatest traitors. The name Americans love to hate. This is a list of spies who engaged in direct espionage. However, Wilkinson believed the plan would fail, and ratted him out to President Thomas Jefferson. Take a look. The aftermath of the money transfers and Hanssen’s recklessness eventually left him empty-handed and led to his conviction. “. Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent who spied for the KGB and Russian secret services for 22 years between 1979 and 2001. The ten people in this article are among the most famous traitors in the history of the United States. The Bundeswehr has named two barracks after him. His zeal in their propaganda was cartoonish in its intensity, but all too real. Aldrich Ames began working for the CIA during high school, and did so until he was discovered to be a Soviet double agent in 1994. Today, he is in one of the safest American prisons, where he spends 23 hours a day in his cell. But You Probably Don’t Know His Whole Story Illustration showing Major General Benedict Arnold (1741 - 1801) … Benedict Arnold’s treason was arguably the most famous betrayal in American history, though there were many more. If it was a war, we would have won it. Immediately after the war, she was arrested but later released without trial. The Soviets also learned the locations of underwater microphones tracking Soviet nuclear submarines. Arnold wasn’t a bad general — his skills were critical to early American victories, especially at Saratoga. In fact, Morton Sobell, who was tried along with the Rosenbergs (and served 17 years in prison), admitted in 2008 that yes, he was a spy, and that Julius Rosenberg handed atomic bomb information to the Soviets. Worse, however, were his leaks to the USSR of every KGB agent contacting the FBI— conveniently identifying detected double-agents and prospective defectors alike. Cash and Hanssen’s carelessness eventually led to his capture, and in 2001 he pled guilty to 13 counts of espionage in the United States. Robert Hanssen. In between popular songs, these sirens cooed Japanese propaganda designed to make American soldiers nostalgic and homesick. By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. He offered the Soviets the settings for the KL-47 cipher machine to decode messages from the United States Navy. If there had been a war, we would have won it.”. Immediately after the war, D’Aquino was arrested, but released without being charged. During the trial, she denied all allegations of disloyalty to the United States, and prosecutors did not present any radio broadcasts as evidence against her. In between popular songs, these sirens cooed Japanese propaganda designed to make American soldiers... 6 She encountered no legal or professional repercussions upon her return to the US, but claims to deeply regret her actions today. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were the first civilians executed under Section II of the Espionage Act. Peter Pettigrew not only sold out his friends to Voldemort, he allowed Sirius to take the fall for it while he himself lived a life of luxury as the Weasleys’ prized pet rat. “Tokyo Rose” is a collective nickname applied to not one, but several sultry-voiced women who worked for Radio Tokyo during World War 2. Among the songs on the radio, these women were the source of Japanese propaganda designed to make American soldiers nostalgic for returning home. Hasan currently resides under heavy guard at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Houston, Texas, reportedly a paraplegic. 10 of the Biggest Traitors in the History of The United States Aldrich Ames Tokyo Rose (Toguri Iva) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Robert … After recapture, he was found not guilty, due to a very precise Supreme Court reading of the Constitution’s definition of treason. Burr believed a small army could steal Louisiana away, so he contacted Britain’s ambassador, offering to help Britain take the territory. The act of treason can be defined as the attempt to overthrow the government of the state to which you owe faith, either by a war against the state or by material support given to the enemies of the state. March 15th, better known as the Ides of March , marked the first half of … His motivations were strictly financial, and in exchange for the sums he received, he gave the KGB, for 17 years, a lot of information: the positions of American nuclear submarines, the procedures that the United States would have followed in the case of launching nuclear missiles into the USSR. Here's one that took the U.S. public by surprise. Rothkopf describes in vivid detail some of the famous traitors in U.S. history, such as Jefferson Davis, … British agents were not all cast in the same mould as movie star Daniel Craig's ultra-loyal James Bond. Judas Iscariot is definitely one of the worst traitors ever. Many believe that he was frustrated at being passed over for promotion, sickened by others taking credit for his achievements, and tired of (groundless) accusations that he exacted private property for the use of the army . An American citizen of Japanese descent, she worked for Radio Tokyo between 1943 and 1945. How nice for her. Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years (1979 to 2001). 10 of History's Most Notorious Traitors 1: Robert Hanssen. Write on Medium, The Boy Who Had to Live His Whole Life in Quarantine, How George Washington’s Smallpox ‘Proto-Vaccine’ Helped Save The Early United States — OnlineMedEd. An American citizen of Japanese descent, she worked as a Radio Tokyo announcer from 1943-1945. After the plot came to light, in September 1780, Arnold joined the British Army as a brigadier general, with a sizable pension and £6,000 signing bonus. At the end of the day, the Rosenbergs took their place in history as the only American civilians to be executed for espionage during peacetime. Even the most famous "traitors" in American history were not technically guilty of treason. Fresh off his duel with Alexander... 5 He started a career as a police officer in Chicago, but left to pursue employment as an FBI Special Agent in 1976. Tokyo Rose. He then fled to Europe but returned after four years, finding work as an attorney. His God-like powers with the use of propaganda seemed almost assured, even exaggerated. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Traitors in History. Et tu, Brute? The most famous, or infamous, traitor in American history was Major General Benedict Arnold—a brilliant officer, a whirlwind hero, a trusted military comrade of George Washington’s. According to Vitaly Yurchenko, a KGB defector, “It was the greatest case in KGB history. In 1967, U.S. Navy Communications Officer John Walker, Jr. sneaked into the Soviet embassy in Washington with a proposal to sell US secrets to the Russians. Check your inboxMedium sent you an email at to complete your subscription. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were the first American civilians executed under Section 2 of the Espionage Act. Nidal Malik Hasan was a U.S. Army Major, and the sole suspect in a shooting at the Fort Hood military base, only weeks before he would have deployed to Afghanistan. Throughout her trial she denied any disloyalty to the US, and prosecutors didn’t present a single radio broadcast as evidence against her. After the videos made by Gadahn reached the public, he was arrested and became the first American accused of treason since the Cold War. Ames explained the full extent of his activities as part of a plea bargain to mitigate his wife’s sentence (how gallant). In fact, Congressional investigations later found Arnold had spent much of his own money on the American war effort. Had King George listened to the early leaders o fhis Colonies and gave the Collonist a fair deal, instead of taxing them todeath so he … Robert Hanssen, a 25-year FBI agent and... 2: The Cambridge Five. Benedict Arnold, despite the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices he made on behalf of American independence, is probably known best for being a traitor. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices. He specialized in selling the identities of CIA agents, placed within the KGB, to the KGB. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. 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By the time of the Last Supper, he had... 7 In fact, the evidence that led to her conviction turned out to be false, so President Gerald Ford pardoned her in 1977. This is a publication that has been created to tell the stories of forgotten battles and fortunes that have crafted the world that we live in today. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sat down in the electric chair in New York’s notorious Sing Sing prison on June 19, 1953. After Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri endorsed the videos—some of which referred to the United States as “enemy soil”–the Justice Department indicted Gadahn, the first American accused of treason since World War Two. A thorough accounting of his finances revealed that he and his wife made over $4.6 million over the course of their espionage career. Oddly, the Pentagon never mentions Hasan’s Islamism in its entire 86-page review of the incident. However, recently declassified information from Russia supports the testimony that Julius was indeed a courier and recruitment agent for the Soviet Union. Not much is known of Ephialtes of Trachis outside of his rather nefarious act of treason. D’Aquino served six years in prison. Iva Toguri D’Aquino, a graduate of the American university UCLA, is the best known of them. 0 0. Aaron Burr. "In Traitor: A History of American Betrayal from Benedict Arnold to Donald Trump, David Rothkopf puts the presidency of Donald Trump into the historical context of other Americans who have been unfaithful to their country. After the war, he and his wife went to England, where he died, the most famous traitor in American history. During his spy career, Hanes compromised numerous investigations and operations, including the surveillance of Felix Bloch, suspected of being a so-called “mole”. Guy Fawkes. In fact, critical testimony against her was later found to be false and coerced, to the extent that President Gerald Ford pardoned D’Aquino in 1977. The FBI was so flummoxed at finding Hanssen, they had to buy the information to put him away (most of which they already had). Judas Iscariot. The Rosenbergs were, and still are, a divisive couple. Benedict Arnold conspires to surrender West Point to the British. In the middle of the Revolutionary War, he changed sides, abandoning the Americans’ fight for independence in return for the military rank and financial reward he received in the … I deciphered millions of your messages. 1 decade ago. So he looked fondly on the Louisiana territory, with its disputed borders, and residents toying with secessionist notions. At one time, he even became responsible for apprehending himself, and he passed some of that off to Aldrich Ames (above). We deciphered millions of your messages. D’Aquino spent six years in prison. From the times that the pyramids were raised to the end of the cold war in this publication you will find it all. Yes, an American Vice President was also one of its greatest traitors. The plot was discovered in September 1780 when the Americans captured John André, the English major, who had on him papers revealing Arnold’s proposal to the British. British Major John André, who helped turn Benedict Arnold to the British cause with the promise of riches and a higher military rank, was captured by Continental soldiers when … Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Aldrich Ames began working for the CIA during high school and continued to work for the well-known organization until 1994 when he was discovered to be a Soviet double agent. Sadly, political correctness and a slow-moving investigation prevented the Army from taking action before Hasan murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others. Spymasters were rocked by a string of traitor scandals during the original Cold War. Never mind that during the attack, he was not in uniform, but dressed in traditional Muslim clothing, and was shooting unarmed victims while shouting “Allah Ackbar”. It includes Americans spying against their own country and people spying on behalf of the United States. But Burr knew it was REALLY over when he saw a New Orleans newspaper article with a verbatim copy of the Cipher Letter to Britain. An American-born convert to Islam, Adam Yahiye Gadahn (aka, “Azzam the American”) threatened a terrorist attack on Los Angeles in a 2005 Al Qaeda video. Why Benedict Arnold Turned Traitor Against the American Revolution The story behind the most famous betrayal in U.S. history shows the complicated politics of the nation’s earliest days In 1967, Navy communications officer John Walker, Jr. snuck into the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., and offered to sell secrets. Charges related to passing atomic bomb secrets to Russian agents (the data came from Ethel’s brother, who worked on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos). In addition, Morton Sobell, who was tried along with the Rosenbergs and spent 17 years in prison, admitted in 2008 that he had been a spy and that Julius Rosenberg had given the Soviets information about the atomic bomb. Marinus van der Lubbe, for high treason and arson in the Reichstag fire case, in 1933; the extent of his true responsibility is still disputed by historians Anton Schmid, for saving Jews and helping Jewish partisans, in 1942. He will go down in history as America’s most hated turncoat. During the American Revolutionary War, Arnold first joined the Continental Army, but later sided with the British. He died in prison 4) Robert Ford Robert Ford is one of the most famous traitors in history Hell, he’s such a notorious backstabber that even the title of the film made about him calls him out But slow, meandering Brad Pitt vehicles aside, Robert Ford was an outlaw in the 19th Century As a part of Jesse James’ gang, Ford hijacked … Moreover, KGB agents learned every American troop and air movement to Vietnam from 1971-1973, and they passed this on to their allies, including the planned sites and times for U.S. airstrikes against North Vietnam. Toggle menu visibility. Treason! Ephialtes of Trachis. Ames admitted his guilt and also confessed following an agreement to reduce his wife’s sentence. In return, Burr wanted money and ships. How To Ship a Battery Today, he is seen as a classic example of a hanjian, or a traitor to the Han Chinese.

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