As early as 1919, the Soviet Socialists used one of their ‘front’ organizations, the IWW, to terrorize the city of Seattle in a general strike. The ordinary citizens of that city were confined to their houses as IWW officials enforced a curfew. Simple daily necessities like food and laundry were sometimes unavailable.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) seemed to be a labor union, but was in fact a ‘cover’ for Soviet intelligence agencies.
The USSR planted spies in many different organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, and created other organizations of their own. As historians Stan Evans and Herbert Romerstein write,
A main object of Moscow’s subliminal onslaught was to plant secret agents in the United States and other Western nations, with emphasis on official agencies that dealt with military, intelligence, or foreign policy issues. From these positions, pro-Soviet operatives were able to engage in policy sabotage, spying, and other species of subversion that advanced the interests of the Kremlin. As shall be seen, activity of this type was involved in countless aspects of the Cold War story.
The international communist conspiracy was more successful than many people at the time knew. Only later did it become clear how effectively the Soviets had infiltrated various parts of American society.
Men like Alger Hiss engaged in ‘policy sabotage,’ which meant that they were able to influence policymakers. Under the sway of Hiss’s advice, and his assessments of various foreign situations, various government officials made decisions which were not in the best interests of the United States, but which were advantageous to the Soviet Union.
Hiss even had face-to-face and one-on-one meetings with President Roosevelt in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Under Hiss’s influence, FDR made decisions which meant that millions of people in Poland and Czechoslovakia would be victims of murderous socialist dictatorships. Millions of them them died.
Agents like Hiss are called ‘moles,’ meaning that they spend a long time, quietly working their ways into important roles inside crucial institutions. Inside the United States, the Soviet espionage network continued to operate from the 1950s to the 1980s.