Formed in May 1938 the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated disloyalty among American citizens. It became extremely powerful during the Cold War years and focused its investigations on left-wing political activities, especially on individuals accused of Communist sympathies. Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss of being involved in espionage. Hiss immediately denied the charges and asked the committee if he could testify before them to clear his name.
National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives Used with the permission of the U.S. House of Representatives.