Scholars restudy Alger Hiss case; Wilder Foote proposed as actual spy

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NEW YORK -- Scholars probing anew into the Cold War's most famous espionage case suggested Thursday that another U.S. diplomat, not Alger Hiss, was the Soviet agent code-named Ales.

Meanwhile, a stepson of Hiss said his chief accuser invented the spy allegations after his sexual advances were rejected.

The two claims, presented at the daylong symposium "Alger Hiss & History" at New York University, provided startling new information that, if true, could point toward a posthumous vindication of Hiss, who was accused of feeding U.S. secrets to Moscow and spent nearly five years in prison for perjury before his death in 1996 at age 92.

Kai Bird, an author who has done new research on the 60-year-old case, said that although Hiss was accused of feeding secrets to the Soviet military intelligence agency GRU under the code name Ales, there was new evidence to suggest the real spy was another U.S. official named Wilder Foote...

Foote, a member of a well-known Boston family, died in 1974 after a career as a diplomat and owner of a string of newspapers. During World War II he was involved with U.S. lend-lease operations supplying the Soviets.

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