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  • Joe

    I can't believe how much effort it must have taken Heather Matthews to build such an amazing list! I enjoyed the list immensely and read the piece many times. I want to commit the author's perceptiveness to my own memory! Thank you Heather! Wow!

  • Heather, this is a wonderful article. The variety of traitors from a long timeline was good reading.

    I do have a thought on why Judas was a traitor. I know greed played a part, but there are also theories that Judas was not happy with the more passive direction Jesus was using to bring God's kingdom to the world (through evangelism). Many people expected the Son of God to be a true warrior and to conquer the heathen nations. Judas may have betrayed Jesus hoping this would be a "wake up call"" to Jesus and he would show his true power through an aggressive action against the Romans. Of course, Judas was actually fulfilling his role in God's true plan. His remorse over his betrayal was overwhelming and he killed himself by hanging, never even spending the 30 pieces of silver.

  • heather

    Yes, the Judas thing is interesting, from what I read there are two different versions of his death, and historians aren't sure how he actually died, but, if he did kill himself after being overwhelmed with guilt, that is certainly a dramatic end to his story, isn't it? Who can say for sure what his motivations were? It's all very compelling…I'm sure there was some "political" element as you mentioned πŸ™‚

    • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

      Judas is a character in one book: the bible, and the gospels give different accounts of the Treasurer–yet none of these accounts are complete on any papyrus and no bible was written before Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to prepare it for the Eastern Church after the Emperor codified his Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. At best he is sectarian centered, but in reality he is a myth as there is no contemporary (first century CE) account that even mentions him or any of his friends. The treason of the alleged Judas is far closer to the murder of Caesar, and in keeping with ancient Egyptian records.

      The list is amusing, but neither exhaustive or comprehensive. It reads more like a personal vendetta than any applied scholarship. There are facts to damn Vidkin Quisling, but the issue of the Rosenbergs and Benedict Arnold are not fully substantiated, as Arnold went back to England as a hero since he was standing up for the king (if the revolution had not been won by the colonists, he would be considered even more of a hero and probably return with royal patronage). The Rosenbergs were convicted on circumstantial evidence and it is still hotly debated today as to its legitimacy or whether it was a plant on behalf of McCarthy and his movement to suppress human rights in the USA.

      • Ken

        Doc, along with your fellow travelers, you have been exposed by the Venona translations and the opening of communist Russia’s archives in the early 1980’s. The Rosenbergs are proven traitors as well as the majority of the FDR administration. IFDR himself. Definitely his “co president” Harry Hopkins. Had it not been for Stalins control and thorough infilatration of FDR’s adminstation and subsequent Democrat administrations covering up this complicity, Stalin would not have won the WWII (i.e. the spoils of war known as Eastern Europe) and it would have taken years for him to gain atomic weapons. We also would not have provoked Japan to attack us at the behest of Stalin for the benefit and supsequent victory of the communist Chinese. Therefore we would never have had the cold war, Cuban missle crisis, Korean War and Vietnam War. Academia, the fourth estate and people like you have played a soridly deceptive role of disinformation and are ultimately responsible for the deaths millions of people worldwide.

  • Paul



  • Lantricincalinor

    About the Judas thing, I heard the opposite of Toptenzmaster, that Judas didn't like that Jesus was genuinely thinking he was son of god and feared an aggressive attack on them, destroying them and their ideals.

  • West

    That is one hell of a great compilation. As I read through the page I wandered who could be number 1. The traitors have been caught and their misdeeds exposed to the public once again in this well- researched article.

    "While He was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. "

    –Luke 22:47

    • cefragula

      where's robert ford in the list?

  • Heather Matthews


    Thank you so much for being so positive about my list. I'm so glad you like it.

  • Heather Matthews

    Hello Cefragula,

    Robert Ford is a great idea, I'm sorry he wasn't on the list.

    Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Samantha Davila

    Since Judas was mentioned, how could you forget Delilah? You know, the woman who betrayed Samson in exchange for money?

    • Trisha Harvey

      I agree with you Samantha, Delilah is also a traitor? The woman was cunning, she made sure she gets something back after betraying Samson.


    Your description of Jane Fonda being 1 of the top ten traitors. i don't agree with it. although unethical she did not reveal or attempt to reveal any state secrets. on the contrary she showed how the military war complex was draining the American tax payer & got 58,000 young Americans killed for nothing. the real criminals were the one who got us int the war in the first place, to fake the gulf of tonkin incident is the real treason.

    • Heather Matthews

      Whether the war was right or wrong, her behavior resulted in rougher treatment for the soldiers in the enemy camps. They did not orchestrate the battle – they were simply doing their duty. I think she was irresponsible by putting them at risk with her actions.

      Thanks for your comment. I respect your point of view.

    • Jim

      actually it was the Congress of the United States that did not have the will to fight the war all the way and could have won easily instead of letting so many men die in vain and the entire area fall to a tyrannical dictatorship under communism. Hanoi Jane caused enormous suffering and a few deaths among the prisoners when they thought an American star would take the notes they gave her back home.

      INSTEAD that bitch turned them over to the North Korean bastards who ran the camp and they were punished even worse.

      Jane does indeed deserve the number one spot for worst traitor because she knew what she was doing and showed no remorse during or after wards. Years later she finally said a weak "sorry" in an attempt to help her pitiful career but many of us would never go to one of her movies if we were paid "20 piece of silver" and I hope the witch got damn good use of the traitors income she received

  • 3G_Cydia

    I don't think the Rosenbergs were traitors. At least they didn't deserve to die. Why didn't they execute Greenglass, who supplied them with the docuemnts. I also disagree with Fonda being on the list. We don't have to support the troops, its the first amendment. If you didn't want to be tortured, then you should've dodged the draft like good ole George W. and so many other great Republicans did during that time. Those are the real traitors.

    • jon

      and Bill Clinton too

  • JD

    I didn't realize Caesar spoke French.

    • Heather Matthews

      He didn't – it's Latin.

      • JD

        That would of course, be my mistake. πŸ™‚

  • Cardnals100


    Theres not even any creditable evidence of his existence and betraying some random middle eastern man isn't exactly the worst betrayal in history.

    If anything shouldn't the Rosenburgs be #1? By giving the secret to the Soviet Union they pretty much started a cold war which almost killed most of humanity.

    • Heather Matthews

      I'm very happy with my work on this one. I think it would have been an oversight to leave Judas off the list – he is undoubtedly history's most notorious traitor. Thanks for your comment.

    • VVL

      "betraying some random middle eastern man isn’t exactly the worst betrayal in history."

      Racist! And the founder of the world's largest religion isn't exactly random.

    • Dude, we get it, you’re not religious. Passive-aggressive point taken. We’re talking famous traitors not whether a religion is true or not. …and considering the Cold War never came to blows, we. Ould debate the legitimacy of any harm in that piece of history too!

  • Cardnals100

    Still confused…

    Random middle eastern guy+random middle eastern guy+betrayal=worst traitor in history?

    • Cardnals100 – Okay, we understand. You don't believe Jesus is the son of God. But even if you don't, the story of this betrayal is legendary and far more widely known than any other, regardless of your religious preference or lack thereof. I support this list and the choices made. And, yes, I am a Christian and I do believe Judas betrayed more than a "random middle eastern guy."

      You have your opinion, I have mine. Let's respect each other's. Thanks.

  • Betsy

    *headdesk* Benedict Arnold was NOT a troublemaker as a child. That's a myth made up after his betrayal to discredit him.

  • Greenbandit

    I, too, must disagree with the inclusion of Jane Fonda on this list. Not because I'm defending her actions, but rather because there's a very real difference between her, and other people on the list. Some of these people were in military positions of power, or political positions of power, and their treachery lead directly to the deaths of large groups of people. Others (like the Rosenbergs) sold secrets that they knew were potentially deadly. Others either performed assassinations or attempted to. Ms. Fonda's behavior may have "given aid and comfort" to the enemy, and it may have lead to mistreatment of American prisoners, but I've never heard that she killed or tried to kill anyone. Her actions were treacherous and traitorous, but not murderous like the others here.

    Robert Ford has been suggested, and would be an adequate replacement.

  • JD

    I'm on the fence when it comes to Jane Fonda. You can't put the treatment of POW's on her behalf,since it was the viet cong doing the torturing, not her. Heck, they could have said they did it because our president ate brussel sprouts and they didn't like that. Even if some POW's said they were mis treated because of statements related to JF, the fact is their captors did the damage.

    As far as her being so friendly with the "enemy" and denying the mistreatment, that makes her an absolute idiot. But I don't think it is quite treason. I think mostly, that was her stance on the war to show she didn't believe in the war.

    Fact is WE invaded the area…they didn't come over here and invade our country. How would you treat some military foreigners if hundreds of thousands of them showed up in the US to take control of our country and firebombed half the place?

    This wasn't a war against hitler or something…there was little reason for us to be over there.

    • MrManhattan

      Fonda was not a traitor…there was no war declared. All of her actions were legal.

      • Albert

        Putting Fonda on this list reveals more about the list maker than JF.

  • russ

    Benedict Arnold? Twice a traitor… First to the British, then to the rebels – which is why the British didn't trust him.

    Brutus? Personal betrayal perhaps, but he was trying to save the Republic, whilst the followers of Caesar were trying to destroy it.

    Jane Fonda? Seriously? In the same list as Judas Iscariot? That's a bit strong. Where are Field Marshal Petain, Tallyrand, the leaders of the 4th Crusade….

    • Heather Matthews

      No matter who I decided to put on the list, someone would find fault with it. Overall, I think it's a good list and an interesting read. Thanks for your suggestions – they're really good ones.

      • Albert

        You act like this is a list favorite snacks Heather. Your making serious allegations here as much as you would like to make light of it all.
        “It is better to confess ignorance than provide it.”

        • Jizzamie

          She didn’t act that way at all….how many times does it have to be said there are only 10 slots for a top ten list? You can’t get to them all. Period. You can also tell she put a lot of thought into the order of the list and she backed it up with research. I noticed you didn’t say why you thought she was “making light of it all”.

          Plus, she wrote the list and it’s her opinion. Go write your own list if you disagree.

  • AbdulRahman AlTourki

    This is a very intresting list. Thank you very much for it.

    I hope to see more lists like this one!.

  • Heather Matthews

    Thank you Abdul, I appreciate the nice comment!

  • jj

    you forgot Obama

    • Heather Matthews

      This list was written a long time ago. Thanks for your comment.

    • I believe there is at least a few people for every living U.S. president that would list them as a traitor.

      • Heather Matthews

        I should clarify that I would not have included Obama on this list even if I'd written it after the presidential election.

  • mack

    Jane Fonda? Really? What a joke you rightwingers are.

    • Heather Matthews

      tell that to the POWs. If she didn't put them in danger, then why were they so disgusted and angry? It wasn't just politics. It was reckless of her.

    • I voted for Obama, Kerry, Nader and Clinton and I’d defend putting Fonda on the list. It’s not so much politics as it is a self-absorbed celebrity who doesn’t understand te consequences of her actions. She’s not evil, but foolish and dangerous for sure. Also: traitor just means you go against your own team whether it’s right or wrong.

  • nicoleredz3

    Wouldn't Pocahontas count as a traitor, to her ppl as well?..

    Liking this list.

    • VVL

      The story about her protecting John Smith was unverified.

  • cubishe

    How about fidel castro,he was train by cia to overthrow dictator batista and to set up a democracy and every body know what happened later after.

  • me

    Cardnals 100, you do realize that there were several sources besides the new testament that support the existence of Jesus (Tacitus, Flavius Josephus, etc) From people who didn't believe in him, but rather thought he was a man who had been trying to overthrow the Greek Gods, and who's apostle believed he had risen from the dead. The reason the death of some random middle eastern guy hits us hard wasn't just the fact we believe he was the son of God. From a historical standpoint, Jesus had a lot of followers, and Judas was his disciple, a close friend, who betrayed his teacher for what seems to be (but i agree it was probably more-probably scared of revolution) only money. And this today affects billions of people. So, yes, even I agree that some others could get # 1. But give this random middle eastern guy some credibility

  • Buzzkillington

    LooL americans are so econimical with the truth (woundn'rt let me use the word stupi****) the guy who wrote this list is so wrong guy fawkes is considered to be a symbol of freedom in the uk not a traitor

    • TioTorito

      He's not considered a symbol of freedom by *everyone* in the UK – at least not by the people who burn him in effigy every year πŸ˜‰

      • Heather Matthews

        thanks, TioTorito

  • Heather Matthews

    I’m not a guy πŸ™‚ Or an American πŸ™‚

  • David Summers

    If you want to talk about the top traitors of all time, put Lebron James on that list right next to Judas Iscariot. James not only was a self-proclaiming "King" who didn't deliver what he promised, he backstabbed his loyal friends and fans in Ohio in front of a national audience on ESPN during prime time hours. He couldnt have had any less class about the whole thing. One of the most cowardly acts in all the history of sports!

  • Bea

    Please do not forget one of the greatest traitors of all : Count Claus von Stauffenberg

    He certainly deserves a mention of honor in the Traitors Realm.

    He was also a great coward, since he prefered to place a bomb at a fully packed meeting room and running away, instead of pulling out a gun right away, killing A.H. and facing the foreseeable consequences.

  • Alan

    I think your article is wonderful. However, the Judas story is very likely to be mythological 0 the Bible is not a terribly reliable historical source.

    • Heather Matthews

      it's true, it's difficult to confirm things πŸ™‚ thanks for the kind words.

  • caveman73

    You more than off on your facts here. Do a better job on research next time:

    The British gave Arnold a brigadier general's commission with an annual income of several hundred pounds, but only paid him £6,315 plus an annual pension of £360 because his plot failed.[4] In December 1780, under orders from Clinton, Arnold led a force of 1,600 troops into Virginia, where he captured Richmond by surprise and then went on a rampage through Virginia, destroying supply houses, foundries, and mills.

    He also earned him and his sons a land grant of 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) in Upper Canada,[100] near present-day Renfrew, Ontario. [101 (French Revolution from England)

    Arnold was buried at St. Mary's Church, Battersea in London, England. As a result of a clerical error in the parish records, his remains were removed to an unmarked mass grave during church renovations a century later.[104] His funeral procession boasted "seven mourning coaches and four state carriages";[83] the funeral was without military honors.[105]

    • Heather Matthews

      I do the best I can. I am not perfect.

      • Heather Matthews

        in my blurb, i was referring to his childhood as being poor, not his adult life. The decline in his family's fortunes is well documented.

        • Heather Matthews

          also…just because the British rewarded Arnold doesn't mean they liked or trusted him – it was a transaction. I have to disagree with your criticisms of my list.

        • caveman73

          True his child was poor, you are correct in that. When he died, while not rich he was clearly not die in poverty. In the end he betrayed the revilution not because he did not believe in it or because he believed in the British. He was a selfish man and in the end that was his down fall.

          • Heather Matthews

            Yes, he was very selfish. Thanks for your comment – I appreciate your taking the time to read the list.

      • caveman73

        No worries.

  • Alex

    A late entry with Bradley Manning. As a United States Army Intelligence officer he was entrusted with classified materials regarding troop displacement and names addresses etc of Iraqi translators and cooperators. He made a personal judgment that the world needed to know said classified information and gave over 15,000 classified documents to the website Wikileaks. Enemy combatants are known to track down cooperators and kill them and their families. He is currently charged with treason and being held in Kuwait. During wartime treason is punishable by death.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    This is a really good list, but I'd really put Jefferson Davis and the rest of the confederate states leaders on here, probably in the top 5. Their action directly led to the bloodiest war in US history.

  • Rok

    Nice list… but a bit biased. What about Russians selling secrets to USA. Are they not traitors?

    • Heather Matthews

      it does depend on your perspective, doesn’t it? You basically have to pick a side when you’re listing traitors πŸ™‚ thanks for the comment!

  • Kokolo

    Fonda was a hero, not a traitor.

  • azngirl967

    Brutus from Julius Caesar was not the nephew of Caesar. He was the brother-in-law.

    • Heather Matthews

      thanks for the correction, and thanks for reading the list.

  • ralph hanes

    there was no mention of captain alfred svenson. he defected to east germany in the early sixties. he was an s-2 officer with privvy to top secret movements in germany. he was later released by the russians and sent back to the u.s. he now lives happily amongst us somewhere. he should have been executed, but for some reason he is still with us.

    • peggy

      Ralph Hanes.. please email me.. my law professor was in the army w/ Alfred Svenson,
      my prof was wondering what happened to him after his 7 yrs hard labor at leavenworth

  • joe

    I disagree with Benedict Arnold and question Brutus+ Robert Hanssen,

    Benedict Arnold’s achievements were passed on as other persons and they got the credit, he also spent money on the continental army and wasn’t going to be reimbursed… he joined the British as a sign that as Americans do not appreciate him enough that he will go to the other side to show his worth.. and that he wouldn’t just stand in line taking these insults without consequence… showing a strong degree of the power of the individual over the conformity of a group

    Brutus may have been the nephew of Julius but for the principles of the Roman Republic and against tyranny of Caesar thought that assasinating Caesar with his co-conspirators was the only way to protect the republic from an approaching kingship (all but name)… this urges the question of which is the greater treachery against family or nation?

    Robert Hannsen betrayed “his” country but he was betrayed by his brother in law! Judas #1 for sure.

  • Jim

    too many of you are taking this way too serious.

    These lists are like those at Cracked. They are for fun and you don’t expect the people who make them to spend day of researching like they would if it was for a masters thesis or a book on the subject. Wikipedia is a primary source for cracked and top 10 and anyone can make changes to that site so it is rife with errors

    • Jizzamie

      I absolutely agree with you but I will say that the writers of cracked make fun of wikipedia all the time….I’m not sure that they use them as a source.

  • Hulk Hogan.

  • adam

    I found this list an interesting read. I agree with many of the selections but I do think there is one glaring omission: the united states government’s treatment of native americans. They were betrayed over and over, made promises to that were renegged upon, and butchered unmercifully until their entire race is nearly extinct now.

  • Reece

    No Cassius?! He put Brutus up to it lol

  • mattdaboss

    I believe Urban Meyer has earned his place on this list as well.

    Great work composing this by the way!

  • Pullerdog

    I would as the Walker Family of spies. The information they revealed to the Soviets was considerable.

  • Judas Iscariot probably wasn’t even a real person. Judas is a corruption of Judah or Yehuda in Hebrew and Iscariot or Eish Keriot means man of the towns. So it is probably a Christian attack on urban centers as being the source of corruption and evil. The existence of Judas is necessary to fill a plot hole in the story.

    But in general your list strikes me as arbitrary both in who is included and in the rank order of the ten. Why was Robert Hanson ranked no. 9 and Ames ranked no. 3? You mention the Rosenburgs but not other nuclear spies like Klaus Fuchs and Ted Hall. Most historians consider Fuchs to have been a more important traitor than the Rosenburgs.

  • RT

    Gimme a freakin’ break. Jane Fonda doesn’t deserve to be on the same list with Judas and Aldrich Ames. Not when Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld aren’t. Nobody was murdered because she visited Vietnam. And who gives a fat flying flip what John McCain thinks?

  • William

    In what sense did Guy Fawkes seek to loosen Spanish influence? In fact, he was working to bring about an end to Protestant England, and to bring the country back into the orbit of the Catholic kingdom of Spain. He was a religious fundamentalist terrorist who had already tried to further Spain’s cause in the Netherlands, Thank goodness we got him!

  • Brian

    I would add the Greek who led the Persians thru the ‘secret’ passes thru the mountains at the battle of Thermopylae so they could then attack the Spartans from two directions.

  • PJR

    First, under the Ames item, “10 Americans” were not executed; these were Soviet citizens who were spying for America. Second, the “top traitor” to the United States of America has to be Robert E. Lee.

    • Scott

      If Lee wore a Union Uniform and killed Union Soldiers, yes. However, He resigned his commission and joined his homeland. In fact, Jefferson Davis’s “treason” trail was canceled because the US Justice Department could not find anywhere were it wasn’t LEGAL FOR A STATE TO LEAVE THE US. Your wrong, if you were right every Southern Official of that era would have been charged with treason. Nobody was charged, nobody was convicted. End of story.

  • family loses

    RT, you’re the product of an American public school education, aren’t you?
    Pullerdog, you are right, Walkers should be added.
    Good list, Ms Matthews

  • Luke Betts

    Guy Fawkes, far from being a traitor was only ever person to enter the house of commons with honest intentions.

  • RalPh henlan

    Perhaps, in a future list, you could add the name of WIlliam Joyce (lord haw haw).

  • Tony S.

    The worst traitor of all time has to be Edward VIII of England (aka the Duke of Windsor). He told Hitler that if Germany kept bombing England, England would probably surrender. He was a Nazi sympathizer who worked against England’s interests every step of the way. Some said he helped Hitler conquer France. His story has been kept hidden by the rest of England’s Royal Family for more than 70 years, but is coming out in the open more every year now.

  • Tom Mitchell


    I question the inclusion of two of the people on the list. Jane Fonda, though despicable and naive, did not reveal any information to the North Vietnamese–she was merely a propaganda trophy.

    Judas Iscariot (a pseudonym: ish keriot means man of the towns in Hebrew) was not a traitor in any real sense of the word. Jesus was tried by the legal ruler of Galilee, Herod Antipas, and by the Romans. If he really was the son of God than his going through with the torture and execution by the Romans was voluntary. Since Jesus was one man and the only one who suffered as a result of the “treachery,” his betrayal should hardly be considered the most important in all of human history. On the other hand, from the viewpoint of Christianity he was merely an agent of God.

  • Michael

    How is Lu Bu not on this list, yet Jane Fonda is? Jane Fonda simply spoke out against an unpopular war. How can that compare to Lu Bu’s betrayals of, first, his foster father, Ding Yuan, then after that, Dong Zhou? Both of whom he murdered for a horse (in the first case) and a woman (in the second case). Later on, when given sanctuary by Liu Bei, he took over Xia Pi (the city which Liu Bei governed) for Yuan Shu while Liu Bei was defending the territory from Yuan Shu’s army. He (Lu Bu) later on betrayed a proposed alliance with Yuan Shu by refusing to marry his daughter off to the latter’s son. All these betrayals eventually led to Lu Bu’s sad end at the hands of Cao Cao in 198 CE, who assisted Liu Bei in retaking Xia Pi at the time.
    If this is just a case of needing a woman on the list though, why not Pocahontas? Her assistance of the British when they arrived led to the deaths of not only much of her own tribe but that of several others as well. Or do only people who disagreed or opposed POVs you like make the list?

    • Scott

      To all the Jane Fonda supporters who gripe about her being on this list. She gave aid and comfort to the enemy at a time of war. She is a traitor. That said, I agree with most of you that there are WAY bigger traitors in history than Jane. I don’t think she would make my top 10. Top 100, yes.

  • CKAinRedStateUSA

    How can John Kerry not be on your list?

    He met with North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong officials in Paris, while still an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

    Expand the number of listings and include this despicable traitor.

  • Red 2

    Jane Fonda was a traitor, but one of the top ten of all time? No

  • Fred234

    0bama will be on this list soon.

  • FedUpWithTheFed

    Hillary and Bill Clinton, Obama and all the Bushes need to be on this list. Maybe not top 10 of all time, but definitely the top 10 biggest traitors of recent American History.