Edward Fitzgerald (Soviet spy)

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Sen. Claude Pepper adviser
War Production Board
Perlo group

Edward Joseph Fitzgerald was an American citizen and Soviet spy. He worked for the War Production Board during World War II and was an adviser to Senator Claude Pepper. He was also a member of the Perlo group of Soviet spies. Fitzgerald's name in Venona project decrypt 588 New York to Moscow, 29 April 1944, was sent in the clear to Moscow by Soviet Case Officer Iskhak Akhmerov reporting on Elizabeth Bentley's meeting with the Perlo group.

The decryption reads, in part,

KRAMER[KREJMER][x], PERLO[PRLO][xi], FLATO[FLĒTO][xii], GLASSER[GLAZER][xiii], Edward FITZGERALD[EDUARD FITsDZhERALD][xiv] and others in a group of 7 or 8 FELLOW COUNTRYMENT[ZEMLYaki][xi][c]. UMNITsA talked with AMT and PERLO. They told her that this group was neglected and that nobody was interested in them. KRAMER is the leader of the group. All occupy responsible posts in CARTHAGE[KARFAGEN][xvi].
UMNITsA = Clever Girl, i.e. Elizabeth Bentley
AMT = John Abt, CPUSA attorney whom Lee Harvey Oswald asked to defend him
KARFAGEN = 'Carthage', the KGB code name for Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Bentley, who functioned as the Perlo group's main contact with the Soviet intelligence, told the FBI after her defection, "I would state that Victor Perlo represented this group in meetings with me more often than other members of the group, Fitzgerald about four or five times.....".

After World War II, Fitzgerald resigned from his position with the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1954, Fitzgerald was offered immunity from prosecution, which removed the legal grounds to plead the Fifth Amendment. Fitzgerald nonetheless still refused to testify and went to jail.

His code name in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona files is "Ted".


Edward Fitzgerald is referenced in the following Venona project decryptions:


  • Edward Fitzgerald testimony, 1 May 1953, “Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments,” part 5, 241–326.
  • Alexander Vassiliev, Untitled Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on the Failed American Networks, (2003).
  • United States. National Counterintelligence Center. A Counterintelligence Reader, Vol 3 Chap 1. NACIC. no date. pg. 31.
  • FBI Silvermaster file, pgs. 135, 144, 144, 146, 147, 169, 178, 182, 198, 207, 434, 447 in original.
  • Haynes, John Earl & Klehr, Harvey Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press, (2000), pgs. 117, 118, 119, 121, 128, 163. ISBN 0300084625.