There were the Rosenbergs, Julius and Ethel. Put to death in 1953 for slipping nuclear weapon secrets to the Soviets. And Jonathan Pollard, with his long prison stint for a two-bit treachery that was more about aiding Israel than hurting the United States.
They're historical trivia now. The only really famous betrayer of our country is that original American traitor, Benedict Arnold. Most Americans know the name, though could not, I would bet, offer up much regarding who Arnold was or what he did to earn his deathless disgrace.
Arnold was a hero in the Continental Army. In May 1775, he led a small party that seized Fort Ticonderoga from the British. He later invaded Canada, leading a march through Maine. The trek was famed for its hardship — his men were reduced to eating dogs and shoe leather. They attacked Quebec on New Year's Eve 1775 but did not succeed.
A brave general. But by 1779, motivated by petty slights and a need for money, Arnold began communicating with the British. He accepted the command of West Point specifically because there he could "render the most essential service" to our enemy.
Arnold's treason was twofold. Not only did he convey the design of the fort to the British, but in the summer of 1780, he neglected the defenses of West Point. He did not keep his troops in readiness because he planned to surrender the fort.
Maybe you see where I'm going with this. That second part of Arnold's treason is relevant today.
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