In 1948 Whittaker Chambers, ex-communist and editor with Time magazine, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that Alger Hiss was a communist who had passed him top secret documents  during his work in the Department of State in the 1930s.

Appearing  before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Hiss denied the charges and said he did not even know Chambers. Later, he admitted he knew Chambers by another name at the time.

Chambers then produced microfilmed documents he had hidden in a pumpkin patch that Hiss had supposedly given him in the 1930s. HUAC members, claimed that communists had penetrated the highest levels of the American government.

Although President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Atchison claimed the HUAC was using “red herrings” to defame him, Hiss was brought to trial. The first trial for perjury (the charge of treason was beyond the statute of limitations) ended in a deadlocked jury. The second trial ended in January 1950 with a guilty verdict on both counts.