Irving Lerner

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Office of War Information
Berkeley Radiation Laboratory
Manhattan Project

Irving Lerner was an American citizen and an emloyee of the United States Office of War Information during World War II who worked in the Motion Picture Division. Lerner was involved in espionage on behalf of Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU). Arthur Adams was Lerner's key contact.

In the winter of 1944, a counterintelligence officer caught Lerner attempting to photograph the cyclotron at the University of California at Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, which was part of the Manhattan Project. The cyclotron had been used in the creation of plutonium and Lerner was acting without authorization. Lerner resigned and went to work for Keynote Recordings, owned by Eric Bernay, another Soviet intelligence contact. Arthur Adams also worked at Keynote.


  • FBI memo, “Soviet Activities in the United States,” 25 July 1946, Papers of Clark Clifford, Harry S. Truman Library.
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press (1999), pg. 325.