The exposure of Alger Hiss as a communist spy was a shock to most Americans because he had what?
held responsibility in the Roosevelt administration, spied on the atomic bomb development, recruited fascists, or been a staunch opposer of communism?
Alger Hiss' exposure as a communist spy was a shock to Americans as he had been a state department employee who was instrumental in the founding of the United Nations and later worked for the UN. He was originally charged by Whitaker Chambers, another Soviet spy, but denied the charge, and sued Chambers for libel. When new evidence came forth that Hiss was indeed an agent for the Soviets, the statute of limitations had expired and he could not be tried for espionage; but was convicted of perjury.
The charges against Hiss came at the height of the McCarthy era when the entire U.S. suffered from a red scare. The accusations that a government employee had also been a Soviet agent shook the confidence of Americans in government employees.