In December 1953, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) suspended the security clearance of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, and after a four-week, closed-door hearing in April and May 1954, formally revoked that clearance. In June 1954, the AEC released a redacted version of the hearing transcript, with security classified information deleted, published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) under the title, In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing before Personnel Security Board. Sixty years later, the Department of Energy has re-reviewed the original transcript and is making available to the public, for the first time, the full text of the transcript in its original form.

The transcript, produced in 19 volumes, is arranged in such a way that pages from which information was deleted in the published version are easy to locate with the deleted information readily identifiable. Volumes IIa, IIb, VIa, VIIa, IXa and IXb consist of pages from the original transcript that were segregated as “Classified Testimony.” Also included is a separate volume showing the location and text that was deleted from the 1954 published version. This volume gives the page number of both the 1954 GPO publication and the original transcript. In addition, the volume points out specifically what information was deleted.

Wikipedia also summarizes the security hearing:

The Oppenheimer security hearing was a 1954 proceeding by the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) that explored the background, actions and associations of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American scientist who had headed the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II, where he played a key part in the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. The hearing resulted in Oppenheimer’s Q clearance being revoked. This marked the end of his formal relationship with the government of the United States, and generated considerable controversy regarding whether the treatment of Oppenheimer was fair, or whether it was an expression of anti-CommunistMcCarthyism.

Doubts about Oppenheimer’s loyalty, dated back to the 1930s, when Oppenheimer was a member of numerous Communist front organizations, and was associated withCommunist Party USA members, including his wife and his brother. These associations were known to Army Counter-intelligence at the time he was made director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in 1942, and chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1947. In this capacity Oppenheimer became involved bureaucratic conflict between the Army and Air Force over the types of nuclear weapons the country required, technical conflict between the scientists over the feasibility of the hydrogen bomb, and personal conflict with AEC commissioner Lewis Strauss.

The proceedings were initiated after Oppenheimer refused to voluntarily give up his security clearance while working as an atomic weapons consultant for the government, under a contract due to expire at the end of June 1954. Several of his colleagues testified at the hearings. As a result of the 2-to-1 decision of the hearing’s three judges, he was stripped of his security clearance one day before his consultant contract was due to expire. The panel found that he was loyal and discreet with atomic secrets, but did not recommend that his security clearance be reinstated.

The loss of his security clearance ended Oppenheimer’s role in government and policy. He became an academic exile, cut off from his former career and the world he had helped to create. The reputations of those who had testified against Oppenheimer were tarnished. The brief period when scientists were hailed as heroes uniquely qualified to comment on public policy was ended, and all scientists working within the government were on notice that dissent was no longer tolerated.

Following is a listing of the volumes of the hearings transcripts with links to PDF copies [3,428 Pages].


blank Volume I blankVolume IXa
blankVolume II blankVolume IXb
blankVolume IIa blankVolume X
blankVolume IIb blankVolume XI
blankVolume III blankVolume XII
blankVolume IV blankVolume XIII
blankVolume V blankVolume XIV
blankVolume VI blankVolume XV
blankVolume VIa blankVolume XVI
blankVolume VII blankVolume XVII
blankVolume VIIa blankVolume XVIII
blankVolume VIII blankVolume XIX
blankVolume IX blankRecord of Deletions


See Also

J. Robert Oppenheimer’s FBI File

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