I find it amusing that my ironic aside on HD White has engendered such responses. Well:
1) There was a Cold War between the US (with UK) and the USSR. Both had high-level spies and agents working for them in the others' hierarchies. Some got caught, some didn't (HD White didn't).
2) Some were idealistic and noble (some of the Cambridge spies), some were venal scum (Aldrich Ames). (A venal scum on the US side, although praised when he first surfaced and made money on his memoirs was Arkady Shevchenko, at least as obnoxious as HD White).
3) I think what is bothering people here is a leftover reaction from the Cold War days and the unpleasant memory of McCarthyism and its successful attacks on the US left. I see at least three elements here, not all necessary consistent with each other: a) fear that "innocents" were being attacked, 2) fear that an effective strong left was being destroyed because real agents and communists were being exposed and disabled, 3) fear that a broader liberal/left was being deeply weakened. All these were true. But with the Cold War over, I think we should recognize that there were agents on all sides, some acting nobly, some not so; some nice people, some jerks. I don't think that this should be a big deal at this point, even if one might debate just who was or was not an agent.
4) As for HD White, it is in "KGB: The Inside Story," and confirmed to me by other very knowledgeable sources (no, Tom L., I have not been abducted by aliens, but my wife did once work with Donald McLean in Moscow), HD White was a conscious agent and also obnoxious and rude, hated by his subordinates. He had a controller and took orders. His major function was to report on inside policy-making and high-level viewpoints, which he did very effectively, and as noted above, was never caught, unlike some very unfortunate others on both sides. Barkley Rosser
-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu