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Professor Sandilands wrote: "if other evidence really does settle the issue ... then one wonders why Eduard Mark and John Haynes attach so much importance to demonstrating that "Ales" was indeed Hiss." As Harvey Klehr and I wrote in 1999 in _Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America_, the "Ales" message is not important for the basic matter of Hiss's cooperation with Soviet espionage. We wrote: "The evidence at the trial and that which has appeared subsequently from Russian archives firmly establishes Hiss's espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. But what was until recently left open was whether Hiss's betrayal of the United States continued beyond the 1930s." (p. 170) To this latter point only is the Ales message relevant. In the same fashion in our 2003 _In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage_ we wrote "it is worth noting that it [the Ales message] plays only a minor role in the argument for Hiss having cooperated with Soviet intelligence. Even if Lowenthal were able to demonstrate that the message had nothing to do with Hiss, all the other evidence against him would retain its force. Much of the message's historical significance stems from its 1945 date, speaking to the issue of whether Hissís cooperation with Soviet espionage continued past the 1930s." (p. 153). For reasons that are set out in both books Klehr and I take the view that Hiss was Ales. But let me add this. Ales was clearly a highly placed and long-serving Soviet source within the State Department. If Ales was not Hiss, who was he? While I believe the evidence is convincing that Ales was Hiss, if new evidence arises that would cause me to doubt, I would regard the question of who Ales was as of importance and deserving close attention. I would want to know and would expect other historians to want to know. I am struck by the lack of curiosity by those who insist Ales was not Hiss. Their goal is only to raise doubts about the identification of Ales as Hiss. I have noticed no serious effort on their part to identify who Ales really was if he was not Hiss. John Earl Haynes firstname.lastname@example.org