This research paper is about the Soviet spy, George Koval, codename DELMAR who penetrated the Manhattan Project. The purpose of this research paper is to identify lessons learned based on George Koval’s activities with the Manhattan Project and not repeat the same Counterintelligence failures in the future. George Koval managed to elude capture and operate virtually unsuspected for the entire length of his espionage career against the U.S. and so little is known about him. Analysis of his activities should prove to be extremely valuable to the intelligence community.
On Christmas day in December 1913, in Sioux City, Iowa, George Koval was born to a family of Jewish immigrants from Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union. George Koval’s father, Abraham was a carpenter and his mother, Ethel Koval was a convert to Socialism. George Koval’s parents maintained correspondence with members of their extended family in the Soviet Union. In the 1920s, they got involved with an American society to help with the resettlement of Jews in the Soviet Union, a Communist organization. This organization was called Idishe Kolonizatzie in Sovetn Farband (IKOR). Since 1928, IKOR’s main focus had been Jewish resettlement in Birobidzhan, a city near the border of Manchuria that Stalin promoted as a secular Jewish homeland. Abraham Koval was the secretary of the Sioux City IKOR branch in the 1920s. The Koval family held strong Communist beliefs that were instilled in George Koval from an early age.
While attending high school at Central High School, known locally as the castle on the hill in Sioux City, Iowa, George Koval joined the Young Communist League, and in August 1930 was its delegate to the Iowa convention of the Communist party. George Koval was a brilliant student, member of the honor society and high school debate team. At this time George Koval spoke openly of his Communist beliefs. George Koval graduated high school in 1929 at the age of 15. In 1932, during the Great Depression, his family emigrated to Birobidzhan in the Soviet Union after losing faith in the American way of life. Traveling on a U.S. family passport, the Kovals had planned to return to Minsk, but instead they were forced to stay in the Vladivostok area, Birobidzhan, by the Soviet authorities.
George Koval perfected his Russian language skills in Birobidzhan. In 1934, George Koval went to Moscow and enrolled in the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology. While attending the Institute he met and married his wife Lyudmila Ivanova. While attending the Institute George Koval was assessed by the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU), the Soviet Union’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate. The GRU was in the process of recruiting at all the major institutes of higher learning in the Soviet Union to refill their ranks from the Stalin purges. Upon graduating with honors, he was recruited by the GRU and trained in...