MANHATTAN (CN) – The National Security Archive demands that the United States unseal the grand jury records for the 1951 indictments of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for passing “atomic secrets” to the Soviet Union.
Joining the National Security Archive as plaintiffs are the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts, who wrote a book on the Rosenberg case.
The grand jury indicted the Rosenbergs for espionage on Aug. 17, 1950, and filed several superseding indictments, the final one coming on Jan. 31, 1951. The Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953.
“The Rosenbergs’ conviction and execution was a touchstone event in the Cold War,” the federal complaint states. “The case convinced many Americans that the Soviet threat was real and imminent. Other Americans were convinced that the government invoked the Soviet threat to justify unwarranted domestic repression. The social divide defined the domestic culture clashes during the Cold War. …
“(T)he grand jury records are the sole government documents regarding the Rosenberg case to remain secret,” the complaint states, and the case is still a matter of great public interest and controversy.
Plaintiffs say the Rosenbergs’ sons and their families want the records released too, as does Morton Sobell, the Rosenbergs’ co-defendant.
Plaintiffs are represented by Debra Raskin of New York and David Vladeck with the Georgetown University Law Center of Washington, D.C.