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Espionage Threatened the Manhattan Project, Declassified Report Says

Manhattan Project Site -- '109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)' 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Manhattan Project Site — ‘109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)’ 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via NYTimes:

In December 1945, four months after atomic bombs brought an end to World War II, the United States Army published a secret report on security surrounding the Manhattan Project, the vast government effort that developed them.

Finally declassified last month by the Department of Energy, the report concludes that the project was “more drastically guarded than any other highly secret war development.”

But it also makes clear that the effort was dogged by leaks and espionage, and it reveals a huge blind spot on the government’s part: a lack of awareness that a wartime ally, the Soviet Union, was bent on stealing Manhattan Project secrets and developing its own nuclear bombs.

From 1943 through 1945, investigators cataloged 1,500 leaks, 200 acts of sabotage and 100 confirmed cases of espionage, but maintained that their diligence “prevented the passing of any substantial amount of project information.”

Some of the episodes were serious.

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The U.S. Government’s Top-Secret Town

Via A Continuous Lean, an entrancing glimpse of life inside a city, created as part of the Manhattan Project, with a secret purpose. Imagine if your sunny suburban daily existence served merely as a front for the real action occurring in your town:

In 1942, the government acquired 70,000 acres in Eastern Tennessee and established Oak Ridge…developed for the sole purpose of separating uranium for the Manhattan Project. The completely planned community was designed by the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and had a population of more than 70,000 people. Due to the sensitive nature of the work at Oak Ridge, the entire town was fenced in with armed guards. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge office recently started to digitize its archival photos and share them through Flickr.

Oak_Ridge

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Home Movies From The Manhattan Project

Newly unveiled -- a beautiful, haunting glimpse at life inside the carefree, secret 1940s desert summer camp that birthed the atom bomb:
In 1943, the top scientists from the United States and other nations gathered in Los Alamos, NM for the Manhattan Project. Among them was physicist Hugh Bradner. With informal permission from the U.S. Army, he shot a collection of home movies of life in a place that officially didn't exist, and of people working on a project that ultimately changed history. His footage represents the only look at life in the Los Alamos area during that time.
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