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Feb 16

Written by: Diana West
Monday, February 16, 2015 11:02 AM 

Attempts to explain the unhinged campaign (spearheaded, curiously, by ex-Communists) to save "court history" from the newly dusted-off, newly inter-connected evidence presented in American Betrayal have logically pointed to the arguments in the book that pull FDR from his pedestal and lift McCarthy from history's hell.

As I now record the audiobook, however, I am struck anew by other arguments mustered in the book that augur a change in the way we also regard Truman, Eisenhower and many more. Such arguments make the case for a seismic shift in our conception of the "American Century."

To be sure, that conception to date is based on drastically incomplete information. Chapter 6 of American Betrayal begins by showing that almost every US history book -- military, biography, diplomacy, etc. -- written post-Venona (1995) fails to incorporate the record of espionage relevant to the epic events and actors they purport to explicate. Among other things, this tells me it is incumbent on us to re-assess these events and actors by interweaving the mainly absent intelligence backstory into the familar tapestry of war and peace we all "know." This is the mechanism of American Betrayal.

Along the way, the behavior of the executive branch in particular in regard to the massive, secret Soviet-directed penetration of the halls of power that reached criticial mass under FDR demands new scrutiny. For example, take Truman's reaction to Whittaker Chambers 1948 testimony unmasking Alger HIss as a leading agent of the Soviet-directed, Communist conspiracy against the United States. Rather than crowning him with laurels, he sought to indict Chambers for perjury. Why?

Starting in 1945, Truman began receiving numerous and weighty reports from the FBI on the Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt administration that named Hiss and White and Currie, among many others, so he was cognizant of the crisis in considerable detail. 

Chapter 6 focuses on an important FDR aide, Lauchln Currie, who was publicly i.d.'d as a Soviet agent in Venona in the 1990s. Why do I highlight "publicly"? It is worth noting that 40 years prior to the public release of 2,900 Venona documents by the US government (there may be more that are unreleased; we don't know), Currie was already being investigated by the FBI as a Soviet agent -- and, among others, so reported to Truman. Indeed, Currie comes up on the government radar before that.

Currie was first identified internally in 1939 by Whittaker Chambers as a fellow traveller who helped the Communist Underground inside the US government; i.d.'d for the FDR administration by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1941 as one of the 1,100-plus federal employees (also including Hiss and White) belonging to Soviet front organizations (and investigated by the FBI but the reports have "disappeared"); highlighted in 1944 as part of a Communist "fifth column" "boring from within" the FDR administration by GOP VP presidential candidate John Bricker; i'd.'d as a Soviet agent to the FBI (which alerted the Truman White House) in 1945 by ex-Communist Elizabeth Bentley; i'd.'d in open hearings as a Soviet agent by Bentley in 1948. (Tantalizingly, thirteen years later, future Sen. Ted Kenney met and dined  with Currie on a trip to Currie's post-America home of Colombia.)

Long before the public unveiling of Venona in 1995, however, codebreakers were also able to confirm Currie's activities on behalf on the Kremlin. At some point before 1995 -- as far back as 1950, as a matter of fact -- codebreakers confirmed that Soviet intelligence was working with Hiss and White and many other traitors to the United St. Why did We, the People, have to wait 45 more years to learn of this crucial confirmation? Why did Uncle Sam permit Americans to tear themselve apart for decades in a rancorous debate over people such as Hiss and White -- over whether Communist agents even existed in the first place -- when for so much of the time Uncle Sam knew the truth?

From American Betrayal, pp. 166-169:

...It should be noted that a number of espionage prosecutions were secretly assisted by Venona, beginning with that of Soviet agent Judith Coplon, a young Justice Department analyst who in May 1949 became the first spy to be identified and arrested due to Venona revelations; Robert Soblen and Jack Soble followed. It was Venona clues that led to the linchpin conviction of British atomic spy Klaus Fuchs in 1950, and Venona decrypts “unmistakably identified Julius Rosenberg as the head of a Soviet spy ring and David Greenglass, his brother-in-law, as a Soviet source at the secret atomic bomb facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico,” Haynes and Klehr write.

“Unmistakably.” The word peals like a steel bell, cold, penetrating, and troubling. Venona decrypts unmistakably identified Julius Rosenberg . . . “Unmistakably”—and the U.S. government let that secret evidence sit in a vault as our citizens tore each other up over this case for decades? Exactly the same question goes for the Hiss case, the other split-view lodestar by which what became two distinct peoples took their bearings. The U.S. government knew the truth about Hiss and withheld it, too.

Why?

It’s worth noting that Hiss, unlike Coplon and the other atomic spies, was in no way prosecuted with the help of Venona. Indeed, Hiss was already in jail serving four years for perjury related to the lies he told Congress about Chambers before analysts deciphered his name in Venona. It was in the contentious aftermath of his imprisonment, however, during the battle over Hiss and White and Silvermaster and the rest on the one hand, and Bentley and Chambers on the other, that every scrap of information belonged in the center of the public square under bright lights, with Uncle Sam playing town crier:

Hear ye, Hear ye . . .

Instead Uncle Sam mumbled to himself and hid away the precious proof against the traitors, protecting the traitors against the soundings and probes of investigators hot on their trail. Let them grope and stagger blind, Uncle Sam said, let them sift through the good info and the bad, let them rely on their gut hunches to go on, let them fall back on their political courage until it gives out, let them get knocked down, smeared, destroyed. Let the country go to hell. Given what the executive branch knew and when it knew it, this was the greatest betrayal of all.

So, yes, M. Stanton Evans is right about the nation owing plaudits to Joe McCarthy, and more. We owe all of these intrepid public servants our undying gratitude. Sensing the massiveness of the assault on our republic—yes, a conspiracy so immense, to give McCarthy his due—they kept at it, seeking, hunting what their many detractors, many inside the government, never stopped screaming was a mythological beast, a figment, a “witch hunt.” It was just something “under the bed,” a silly “bugaboo,” which became the White House term of choice. ...

“The people are very much wrought up about the Communist bugaboo,” Harry S. Truman wrote in a letter to former Pennsylvania governor George H. Earle in 1947, in response to a very similar warning from Earle. Truman would switch to “red herring” when it came to the Hiss case in the 1948.

Bugaboo? Red herring? Alger Hiss was neither. He was a bona fide enemy of the American republic, but the U.S. government didn’t want anyone to know that, not even after Venona confirmed Hiss’s treason sometime in 1950, as the Schecters report. Why? Oliver Kirby recounted a revealing exchange with Defense Secretary James Forrestal two years earlier, in 1948, about disclosure in general. The way the Schecters tell it, “Kirby raised with Forrestal the idea of publicly releasing the news that American intelligence had broken the Soviet code.” The Soviets, aware American codebreakers were [beginning to] read them since 1945 (thanks to the treason of Drew Pearson’s meek little “Lock” Currie), would only be further inhibited by the announcement, Kirby argued. More important, “Kirby believed that revealing the full extent of Soviet penetration”— complete exposure—“would remove the issue from politics” and limit a “Red Panic” (Truman’s political concern) “because the cases would be acted upon and fully resolved.”

Call it the Sunshine Strategy. Forrestal nixed the notion in no uncertain terms. “Forget that. No. Hell, no”—that kind of thing. His reaction was not unlike what Kirby had already heard from the State Department when he attempted to bring Venona-fingered Communist infiltration to its attention. Or what he would later hear from Gen. Omar Bradley, who, Kirby said, would urge him not to brief other administration officials on Venona’s findings.

It begins to sound like a lot of other things. What George Racey Jordan heard in early 1944 when he went to the State Department wondering about whether he really should be “expediting” military secrets ASAP to Moscow. What U.S. Army Maj. John Van Vliet heard after expeditiously filing a report of his eyewitness assessment of Soviet responsibility for the Katyn Forest Massacre in May 1945. Or what German defense lawyer Alfred Seidl would hear at Nuremberg in 1946 when trying to introduce to the world evidence of the secret division of Europe that Stalin and Hitler had prearranged in the Nazi- Soviet Pact of 1939. Sunshine was the last thing the powers that be—the powers that accommodated, the powers that served—wanted when it came to any aspect of Communist crime and deception. The Establishment wanted its shadows deep, dark and undisturbed. Maybe that was because too many of its members were in them. Maybe that was why they always argued against exposure because, the rationale went, it might upset the Soviets, might worsen relations, might play into the hands of the “hardliners.” These are variations on the same arguments, not at all incidentally, that we hear today to squelch the truth about Islam and its agents’ penetration of the U.S. government.

This Iron Curtain of secrecy left it to the Great Red Hunters to investigate the old-fashioned way, the hard way, the rough way, their suspicions more often than not, it now may be fearlessly declared, confirmed by evidence that just continues to mount to the skies. Evidence that condemns not just the agents of our destruction but our own government, too.

With Venona in a vault, the U.S. government became an agent of concealment, and thus, in effect, a part of the Communist conspiracy, despite itself (or perhaps not). The struggle that characterized what we know as the McCarthy Era, then, pit the forces of full disclosure and transparency—personified by Senator Joseph McCarthy—against the more powerful forces of deception and obfuscation, which included the Truman and Eisenhower White Houses. That’s not at all how we think about it, of course. We’re conditioned, Pavlov’s-dog-style, to invert the paradigm.  ...

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