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Cold War intrigue still surfaces in Virginia

A barn in a remote part of Culpeper County has given up up secrets about a  World War II and Cold War era clandestine espionage agency viewed as one of the predecessors of the CIA.

The operation, bearing the enigmatic name “the Pond,” was responsible for the 1947 rescue of an anti-communist leader in Hungary along with other intelligence successes.

We’re just hearing about the Pond because its leader, fervent anti-communist John V. Grombach, retired to an estate in rural Boston, Va., bringing with him tens of thousands of documents he intended to keep secret. Grombach died in 1982 and the cache of papers emerged by accident in 2001.

The nation’s current spy agencies have finally finished going through the papers and the Associated Press got a look at many of them in April.

The editors of the Culpeper Star-Exponent take understandable pleasure in helping bring out the story of the mysterious Longlea property where Grombach held forth in his later years. They should not overlook another piece of Cold War history in their own backyard – the Mount Pony facility where, for 19 years, the Federal Reserve Board hid a substantial wad of cash in case of nuclear Armageddon.

By Peter Vieth

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