On April 18, 2023, we held a book signing event with Walt Pickut, co-author of The First Counterspy with Kay Haas. He talked about the book, the story of Kay’s father, Larry Haas. The book is available for purchase in the Fenton Museum Store. The following is a description of the book.
During World War II, the FBI suspected that high Soviet official Andrei Schevchenko was a spy, though he was in the United States as a “legal agent” buying Bell Aviation’s warplanes for Russia’s struggle against Nazi invaders. FBI agents persuaded Larry Haas, a Bell aviation engineer, to let himself be seduced into revealing carefully doctored intelligence that Schevchenko was seeking about Bell’s top-secret P-59 jet warplane. The FBI also recruited the head librarian at Bell’s technical library for the same task. The FBI eventually discovered that Schevchenko was operating a wide-ranging spy network hidden within a large segment of the American aviation industry. After nearly two years of surveillance and delivering incriminating material to Schevchenko, however, what Washington did was surprising: it blocked the FBI from apprehending him, since embarrassing the Soviet Union, a wartime ally, was seen as unwise.