I would like to salute the contributions made in the comment-trenches in response to the recent eruptions over American Betrayal. It is interesting to note that the Frontpage cadre, led by chief enforcer David Horowitz, finds it hard to believe that so many people would take to the comment sections, Facebook, blogs and elsewhere wholly unsolicited by me and oppose their ugly attempts to render certain research, certain arguments unacceptable inside boundaries of historical debate as they, themselves, set them.
The Wall is going to come down no matter what they do to shore it up.
Meanwhile, on somewhat closer scrutiny, I find the Radosh mess to be a series of flattened, screaming, straw-man arguments that fail in terms of the most basic intellectual honesty to convey any reality-based synopsis of the evidence assembled inside the pages of my book.
For example, Radosh has readers believing that my quite lengthy, sourced discussions of whether Harry Hopkins, FDR's top wartime advisor, was an agent of Stalin's influence turn on one document. This is a 1943 Venona cable in which "Agent 19" is passing information to Moscow gained inside a small private meeting that included FDR and Churchill about the postponement of D-Day to 1944.
He writes: "The identification of Hopkins as Agent 19 is the linchpin of West’s conspiracy case."
This is a lie. My case against Hopkins, and, for that matter, the larger Soviet influence network, which included at least hundreds of identified American traitors assisting the KGB from various positions and institutions, by no means turns on one document. For Radosh to say so is ridiculous, but it is also damaging if people believe him. The range of my dossier on Hopkins is varied and extensive, as any casual perusal of the book reveals. Radosh, however, has chosen to omit all mention of the evidence I have gathered in my case against Hopkins. This, in and of itself, demonstrates that Radosh is not honestly evaluating my discussion of whether the president's top advisor during WWII might have been an agent of Stalin's influence. Nay-saying one piece of evidence to the exclusion of many other pieces of evidence is a transparently mendacious effort to misrepresent the book. This is not book reviewing; it is book assassination.
Here are just a few of the briefest, most quickly conveyed points about Hopkins Radosh doesn't mention.
Not included, for example, is the startling assessment of Hopkins by Iskhak Ahkmerov, the famed Soviet “illegal” who ran a stable of top spies for the Kremlin, including Alger Hiss, who called Hopkins "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents." (The source of this is trusted KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky.)
Not included is the perplexing comment by George Marshall to his official biographer in 1957: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”
Not included is any mention of the 1943 confidential letter to Hopkins and FDR from FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, and what Hopkins did with the information.
This is a staggering omission in consideration of a book panned on the Frontpage homepage yesterday specifically for not containing "evidence." It is actually a quite bizarre claim -- another lie -- about a book that quotes all manner of evidence from State Department records, newspapers, memoirs, letters, FBI records, Soviet records, experts, histories adding up to over 900 endnotes. I think what Frontpage really meant, as Radosh wrote to Horowitz in prompting the purge of the first review, is that my book manifests "a failure to use evidence correctly."
The Hoover letter to Hopkins and FDR that Radosh ignores, but which I quote at length in American Betrayal, revealed Soviet plans to infiltrate “industries engaged in secret war production for the United States Government so that information could be obtained for transmittal to the Soviet Union.” This information came from an FBI-wiretapped conversation between a Soviet Comintern agent -- masquerading, Hoover explained, as a top diplomat at the Soviet embassy -- and a known American Communist underground operative. Later, the FBI would realize this tapped conversation was its first inkling of the massive Soviet atomic espionage ring.
What did Hopkins do with this highly sensitive information? Did he share, let alone discuss it with FDR? We don’t know. We do know from the Mitrokhin archive, thousands of KGB documents copied by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, that Hopkins “privately warned” the Soviet embassy that their agents attempting to steal US military secrets were under FBI surveillance.
This alone is a damning indictment of Hopkins' loyalties. There is also the cummulative effect of this document when considered along with the rest of my evidence that Radosh omits from his hit piece. A reader of my book, not Radosh's omissions and twistings, might come away from it thinking something was really wrong at the top and throughout the policy-making chain in the Roosevelt White House throughout World War II, and that that something -- Soviet influence operations in DC -- just might help us understand the sudden rise of the Soviet empire in 1945 that divided Europe, would turn China Red, imprison and kill millions of people, and set the stage for what we call the Cold War.
Additionally -- and even worse to the Frontpage cadre -- a reader might begin to think that the great investigators, from Rep, Martin Dies, the Democrat who opened the House Un-American Activitis Committee in 1938, to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the demon-fetish object for Old Leftists, were right to try to expose not an imaginary "Red Scare," as we have always been taught, but a real-life Red Conspiracy.
There is much more about Hopkins in American Betrayal. In truth, I could burn the Venona document Radosh singlemindedly and dishonestly focuses on to the exclusion of other evidence and still make the same case against Hopkins. Meanwhile, I do not accept his assertions that "19"/Hopkins link has been ruled out definitively, according to his arguments, but I will have to leave that explanation to another day.
I think the import is already clear. Radosh didn't read the book, or, more likely, constructed a review calculated to undermine my arguments by gross omission.
I will not, however, take responsibility for Radosh fabrications he attributes to me. I don't yet know how many there are in this ridiculously long review, but here is something Radosh hits me for that isn't in my book.
Instead of weighing these fears, West turns to another anecdote telling how George Elsey found confidential files in the Map Room that showed FDR naively thinking he could trust Stalin, and instructed Hopkins to tell Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov that FDR was in favor of a Second Front in 1942. She believes that this was a smoking gun proving that FDR was “making common cause with the NKVD.”
This "anecdote" Radosh says I supposely "turn to" is not in my book! When I first read it, the story wasn't familiar to me, so I scanned the book, also performed a search of the electronic version, and couldn't find it. I do find one reference to Elsey, circa 1948, regarding the Whittaker Chambers case. The quotation (mangled, of course) he derisively cites is, needless to say, completely out of context.
This hit piece isn't just mendacious. It's incompetent.