People Giving US Nuclear Materials to Russia Have Been Executed

Amid all of the talk about the Uranium One scandal, one aspect of the story hasn’t received as much attention as is warranted. The Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, essentially granted control of strategic nuclear materials to a former mortal enemy turned belligerent rival that is still nowhere near being our “friend.”

Of course, that rival is Russia, and it is worth noting that the last time someone gave nuclear materials to Russia, they were executed for their troubles.

This was alluded to Thursday night by former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka during an appearance with Fox News host Sean Hannity to discuss the developing scandal, according to The Washington Times.

“If this had happened in the 1950s, there would be people up on treason charges right now,” Gorka said. “The Rosenbergs, OK? This is equivalent to what the Rosenbergs did and those people got the chair.”

“Think about it. Giving away nuclear capability to our enemies, that’s what we’re talking about,” he added, driving home how serious the situation is.

The “Rosenbergs” Gorka referred to were U.S. citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a husband and wife team charged with spying on behalf of the Soviet Union and providing top secret information regarding advanced technologies at the time such as jet propulsion engines, radar and sonar.

But perhaps their biggest crime was providing the Russians with detailed technical drawings of atomic bomb designs at a time when Russia had yet to become a nuclear power on their own.

The communist ringleaders of a Soviet spy network were convicted of espionage on March 29, 1951, and sentenced to death just a week later, specifically for violating the 1917 Espionage Act prohibition against “transmitting or attempting to transmit to a foreign government information ‘relating to the national defense.’”

Of course, there were calls from the left and communist sympathizers that the Rosenbergs had done nothing wrong and had been framed, and a campaign demanding clemency was launched along with legal appeals of the death sentence.

All that was for naught, though, as both husband and wife had their sentence carried out on June 19, 1953, after being transferred to New York’s Sing Sing prison due to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons not having an operable electric chair.

Ironically, a last ditch effort to spare them the chair actually worked instead to speed up the process of their execution.

Emmanuel Bloch and Rhoda Laks, attorneys for the Rosenbergs, pointed out that the executions were scheduled to take place at 11 p.m., which would have them occurring after the start of the Sabbath, a fact the lawyers held would be offensive to the heritage of the Rosenbergs, who were Jewish.

However, rather than postpone the executions until another day, sentencing Judge Irving Kaufman chose to reschedule them for 8 p.m. that evening, ahead of the start of the Sabbath, rendering the attorney’s argument moot.

Remarkably, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are the only American citizens to have been executed for espionage-related treason throughout the entirety of the Cold War.

To be sure, there will be those who argue there are no similarities whatsoever between what the Rosenbergs did and the Obama administration‘s granting of partial control over uranium supplies, but passing along secret nuclear information and ceding control of strategic materials look awfully similar from this vantage point.

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