Martin and Mitchell
June 25, 1960 - On this day, two cryptographers working for the National Security Agency left the United States and never returned. William Martin and Bernon Mitchell defected to the Soviet Union.
A secret NSA study would later report, "Beyond any doubt, no other event has had, or is likely to have in the future, a greater impact on the Agency's security program." The men were quickly tagged as "sexual deviants" and stories began popping up that claimed they were gay.
It's an infamous case of the "flaming traitor" theory that tried to link their disloyalty to their sexual preferences. It turns out they were straight. A secret report by the NSA found no evidence that the men were gay, in fact both men had American girlfriends. Martin and Mitchell would wind up marrying Russian women.
Martin and Mitchell would live relatively quiet lives in Russia. In his later years, Martin stated that the defection was "foolhardy." He tried to immigrate back to America but he had been stripped of his citizenship and was denied a tourist visa.
In 1987 Martin died of cancer in Mexico. Mitchell died in St. Petersburg in 2001.