"Influence and the Experts, III" is here.
Two Sundays ago, the audiobook of American Betrayal finally came to market nearly five years after its original hardback publication by St. Martin's Press.
Last Sunday the Washington Post's Sunday Outlook section dismissed it as "Myth No. 5" in "Five Myths about Espionage" by Mark Kramer.
But not just my book, which Kramer featured, unnamed but hot-linked, as Exhibit A of the larger "myth" that he was alleging to debunk. The "surprisingly common misperception" Kramer was laying to rest, he claimed with all of the assurance of an endowed chair at Harvard, was that people actually believe intelligence agencies "set out" to influence policy-making in the countries in which they function.
The Harvard professor opened this way:
Myth No. 5
A surprisingly common misconception about spies is that they set out to change policy in the countries where they operate. A book published in 2013 , for example, alleged that Stalin’s spies in the 1940s had effectively “occupied” the United States and guided the policies of the Roosevelt administration.
In an invigorated state of double-disbelief -- (1) that the state of our comprehension is so debased that a person could reasonably expect to get away with such a whopper (can you say "Active Measures"?), (2) that this was happening all over again -- I spent my writing-time last week working on a response. It has already been turned down as an op-ed submission by the Outlook section, and is now languishing in some queue at Letters to the Editor (not that I expected otherwise). That changes nothing. The redundantly, endlessly demonstrable fact is, when Mark Kramer, director of Cold War Studies at Harvard, dismisses influence operations, and especially Soviet/Russian influence operations, as “myth,” it is akin to the Army Corps of Engineers dismissing as “myth” the presence of water in the Mississippi River.
I said that, too. (I'll post the op-ed later.) What I would like to do right now, though, is reacquaint AB aficionados with who Mark Kramer is -- besides, I find, being the brother of Steele-McCain "dossier" link David J. Kramer, recently in the headlines for taking the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee about his "dossier"-related activities. (Do I feel a Red Thread coming on...?)
Harvard imprimatur aside, Mark Kramer is a charter member of the anti-AB cabal, which I hereby rename the anti-AB cell. The charter members (as originally gleaned from email chains improbably forwarded to me) consist of Horowitz, Radosh, Haynes, Klehr and also Kramer, who had never come out publicly before last week in the Post. (Horowitz's former writing partner Peter Collier showed up in email early on also.)
In the earliest days, Kramer played a key role by participating in one of the most distasteful exercises of this entire fight: the anti-AB cell's posthumous abuse of the work of a colleague, historian Eduard Mark. Mark's work is discussed (on two pages) of American Betrayal. This discussion, shall we say, upset the cell members, who, perhaps having assumed there was nobody left to notice Mark's work, collectively freaked out.
You can read all about it in great detail in an essay I wrote called "Warning: Historians at Work," and, big bonus, in an essay by the late M. Stanton Evans, called "Harry Hopkins, Diana West and Me." Evans' essay features his extremely revealing email exchange with John Earl Haynes over the Hopkins/19 matter, which, thanks to Mark Kramer, spilled over to involve Stan. In the deluge of non-relevant detail with which Haynes responds to Stan, pay attention to the simple questions Haynes completely failed to address. The omissions are devastating to both Haynes and his writing-partner Klehr.
Mark Kramer. How does he fit in? I don't know what his role is relative to the others, but he did provide a series of wondrously shifting alibis for what emerged as a linchpin Radosh lie: that historian Mark, as Radosh claimed, publicly recanted an academic paper identifying Harry Hopkins as Source 19 in a Venona cable at a conference at the Wilson Center on the so-called Vassiliev noteboooks in May 2009. Mark died the following week.
This is a story born and raised in the weeds, but it does offer something of a slalom course of statements that gives even casual spectators a chance to watch anti-AB cell members zig and zag before totally wiping out.
Note: The following series of statements begins four years after the conference where Mark is alleged to have publicly recanted his findings that Hopkins was Venona Source 19.
By the way, Mark's alleged recantation does not appear on the Wilson Center video of the session in question chaired by Mark Kramer (or anywhere else) ... but one thing I have learned from all of this is that truth never stops historians.
THE ANTI-AB HISTORIAN CELL ON MARK/HOPKINS/19
The first three statements show Haynes and Radosh both of a shared mind that Eduard Mark lived and died in profound error about Hopkins/19.
HAYNES, H-net discussion, January 15, 2013:
But on the [Hopkins/19] matter of Venona 812 he [Mark] and I disagreed.
HAYNES to RADOSH, as quoted by Radosh in email to me, June 13, 2013:
"Ed Mark was wrong about 19. ... I disagreed with him ... "
RADOSH to me (same email), June 13, 2013:
Were Mark still alive, I’m certain he would have conceded the point [Hopkins/19].
Then, something changes. Suddenly, as cell members gear up for the disinformation campaign against American Betrayal, they now recall that Mark dramatically recanted his Hopkins/19 paper publicly one week before he died!
RADOSH, "McCarthy on Steroids," Frontpage Magazine, August 7, 2013:
At a conference on Soviet espionage held a week before his untimely death, West’s source, Eduard Mark, publicly stated that he now acknowledged that Harry Hopkins was not Agent 19, and that the conclusion he had reached in his 1998 article was false.
HAYNES, email to me, August 16, 2013:
At the symposium Ed did mention briefly in one of the Q&A sessions that he no longer held to his view that "19" was Hopkins.
I remember the remark ..
Professor Mark Kramer of Harvard's Cold War Center remembered Ed's remark very clearly, that it was at a session of the symposium he chaired, and that he and Ed had a further discussion of the matter when they walked together to the Metro ...
HAYNES and KLEHR, footnote, "Was Harry Hopkins a Soviet Spy?", Frontpage Magazine, August 16, 2013:
During one of the question-and-answer periods and in informal conversations at the symposium Mark remarked ... that `19’ was Duggan and he no longer held to his 1998 position.
It gets better. Now the cell gets vivid, first-hand evidence of Mark's recantation -- from none other than cell-member Mark Kramer!
KRAMER to RADOSH, emailed to me, August 17, 2013. Radosh also posted Kramer's comments at Frontpage:
"Ron, I can definitely confirm it. I was chairing the session, and Ed intervened when Stan Evans referred to Harry Hopkins as No. 19. Ed said "The Vassiliev notebooks show that this isn't true. I thought it was, but it isn't. When I found out that I'm wrong, I'm willing to admit it." I talked about this with Ed after the session, as he and I were heading for the metro station."
Stan Evans would unequivocally reject this claim in this series of memos with John Earl Haynes, mentioned above -- and his recollection is also confirmed by the video of Kramer's session of the conference (and all other conference video).
But wait -- the cell's story changes again. Suddenly, Kramer doesn't have vivid, first-hand evidence of Marks' recantation because Kramer was ... "unable to call on Ed." Huh?
KRAMER email to RADOSH, HAYNES, KLEHR & HOROWITZ (improbably forwarded to me and posted below) August 18, 2013:
Yes, Ed, made the comment as Evans was talking, but Evans just continued talking, evidently unaware (or at least not wanting to acknowledge) that he was being contradicted. I was unable to call on Ed because the session was already going too long and the WWICS had a reception scheduled. As Ed and I were walking to the Metro afterward, I told him that I wanted to have him speak but was worried it would prompt further comments by Evans and Romerstein. So, I just called a halt.
So ends the Hopkins/19 party, if not the party line. I must note what cur-like teeth Kramer has in this gratuitous smear of my great friend Stan Evans, a true scholar and a gentleman renowned for his polish and civility. No, Stan Evans did not continue talking about Hopkins/19-- or even start talking about Hopkins/19, as he explained here.
But how instructive this has all been, We see historians Haynes and Radosh shift as if on ball-bearings from their assessment of Mark having gone to his grave wrong about Hopkins/19, to, suddenly, as the disinformation campaign began against AB, remembering a dramatic recantation by Mark. Haynes and Klehr and Kramer all spring into joint-action to shore up this claim first made by Radosh in a series of evolving alibis increasingly undermined by scrutiny and evidence (and lack thereof).
Perhaps most nimble of all is Professor Kramer, whom we see move from concretely relating that Mark "intervened" when Stan Evans allegedly referred to Harry Hopkins as No. 19 (never happened) to quoting exactly what Mark said in reply to Stan, to later recalling with equal certitude that no, actually, he, Kramer, had been "unable to call on Ed" (that old Stan Evans just wouldn't stop talking (never happened) with Kramer ultimately only "wanting to have [Mark] speak."
But the Metro....
Maybe this is what Radosh should have written in "McCarthy on Steroids":
On a sidewalk along the way to the Metro after a conference on Soviet espionage held a week before his untimely death, West’s source, Eduard Mark, told Harvard Professor Mark Kramer that if only Stan Evans had not stopped talking he would have publicly acknowledged that Harry Hopkins was not Agent 19, and that the conclusion he reached in his 1998 article was false. As they made their way onto the Metro platform, Kramer told Mark that, of course, he would have called on him to speak, only he was worried that would prompt further comment by that Evans and Romerstein.
Mark said he understood, and felt better for having confessed his error. He sighed as the train roared into the station, asking Kramer: What stop is the Gulag?
Ah me. Now Kramer pops up again, writing unopposed, undebated, in the pages of the leading paper in Washington, D.C., explaining to all and sundry in the nation's capital that KGB infuence is just a "myth."
Somehow, I don't think so.