Monday, October 02, 2023
View Blog
Nov 25

Written by: Diana West
Monday, November 25, 2019 9:34 AM 

Part 1 is here


We now turn from disquisitions on deception in Part One to the open book that is Russia expert Fiona Hill -- at least according the prepared remarks she delivered to the Adam Schiff "impeachment inquiry."

I take great pride in the fact that I am a non-partisan foreign policy expert, who has served under three different Republican and Democratic presidents. I have no interest in advancing the inquiry in any particular direction except toward the truth. (Emphasis in the original.)

So it was on entering heavy political seas that Fiona Hill ran up her halo and set course for the truth.

Cheering from afar, a host of media women in particular dabbed their eyes and prepared gushing tributes to their new "feminist" icon, which bobbed and gurgled in her wake. "Her legacy will be that of a woman who called out a dais full of powerful men..."  "She transcended politics, she transcended the moment. She was, simply, transcendent..."

Transcendant or not, in these prepared remarks Hill underscored for a second time her non-partisanship, stating: "I have built a career as a nonpartisan, non-political national security professional."

I added the emphasis this time because Hill's second statement, tweaked from "I am" non-partisan to "I have built a career as" a non-partisan, seems more accurate, and, in my reading, cancels out the first.  

This is not hard to figure out. Just glancing over Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, a "non-partisan" Brookings Institution publication co-written by "non-partisan" Brookings fixtures Hill and her frequent  co-author Clifford G. Gaddy, "non-partisan" becomes a non-starter. On the book's Amazon page, see former Vice President, Democratic presidentical candidate and Hunter Biden's dad Joe Biden recommend the Hill-Gaddy book as "insightful." Open the book and find a foreword by uber-globalist, Clintonista and longtime Brookings president Strobe Talbott. Not incidentally, when Talbott was nearways to a "Fiona Hill" of US-Russia relations in the 1990s, Russian intelligence considered Talbott to be a channel they could work through as a "special, unofficial contact." On the back cover, blurbs stand out from Victoria Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan, a Never-Trump, Hillary-supporting "neocon" who says President Trump has turned the USA into a "rogue power," and John McLaughlin, the former acting director of the CIA who made terrifying headlines recently for a most sacriligious brand of thanksgiving: "Thank God for the Deep State."  

Kagan and Hill are both Stephen and Barbara Friedman fellows at Brookings, as Susan Rice used to be. Stephen Friedman, a retired chieftain of Goldman Sachs, was chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (2005-2009).

There's nothing wrong with associating Biden or Talbott or Kagan or McLaughlin with one's work; but it is neither "non-partisan" nor "non-political" to do so. It is standard Swamp procedure.

Are we done yet? No. We haven't even started.


Like most Americans, I had never seen Fiona Hill before her appearance last week and was unprepared, certainly, for her stong regional British accent. By way of explanation, she noted her origins in the north east of England in Durham -- "the same region George Washington's family came from" she added -- and continued: "I am an American by choice, having become a citizen in 2002." 

This is a beautiful sentiment, bespeaking a conscious decision on the immigrant's part to choose America over all other nations, a decision denied to the merely native-born. But wait -- was Hill's voyage in "no particular direction except toward the truth" already tacking in the other direction? In a video of an appearance Hill made before a Dublin think tank dated April 25, 2016, Hill explained her British birth and US government positions as resulting from the special relationship, or, at least, "special areas" between the US and the UK. "I was able to take advantage of those because I am still a dual US-UK citizen." (More emphasis added) 

There's a world of difference between "by choice" and "take advantage," so the question becomes: Has Fiona Hill since 2016 renounced her British citizenship?

If not, she may be an American by choice, but she remains a British subject by choice, too. This omission of what may well be, by definition, Hill's "dual loyalty" is quite significant, and not only as we weigh the "non-partisan" veracity Hill went to such pains to attribute to herself, and which was lavishly underscored by her Democratic partisans on the committee, no matter the topic. After Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) got Hill to confirm a perfectly bizarre biographical detail reported by the New York Times -- the story goes that while in school Hill extinguished a fire set by a classmate in her pigtails with her hands and then finished her test -- Speier replied: "I think it underscores the fact that you speak truth."  


Truth-speaking, non-partisan Fiona also chose to use her opening statement to tell the committee about her roots in a family of miners in English coal country. She described her people as "poor," men "whose families always struggled with poverty." She invoked her grandmother, "crippled from hard labor," whom Hill's father Alfred cared for rather than emigrate to America, as he had dreamed about doing, she said, since the 1960s when the local mines closed. This was also the decade in which Hill was born. Alfred Hill died in 2012, Hill told us (no word on what he did for the preceeding half century after the local mines closed), and her mother still lives in their English hometown. 

Hill invoked the ossified class lines of the old world when she declared that "this country," the US, offered her professional opportunities she "never would have had" in England due to her "very distinctive working-class accent"; nonetheless, that country, the UK, offered young Fiona excellent educational opportunities. According to a 2012 profile of Hill in The Tribe, the student magazine of Hill's perfectly fine alma mater, St Andrews University, Hill "took advantage of travel opportunities available during her school years and spent time in both France and Germany. It was her aptitude for languages and her mother’s Scottish nationality that eventually brought her to St Andrews." 

Her trajectory up into elite US academic circles and down Washington's corridors of power, begins with her matriculation at St Andrews in 1984. 

To better appreciate the background of this British miner's daughter who reached the highest echelons of US-Russian relations, we should recall that 1984, the year Hill went off to college, was a milestone for any British coal-mining family. This is due to the shattering, national mining strike called that year in protest of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's pit-closing policies and led by union leader Arthur Scargill, a Marxist, who, it is said, left the Communist Party because he objected to its de-Stalinization. 

There is a tragic ring to the opening chords of the story even in the flat prose of distant news reports: "MIners' leaders from South Wales, Durham and Kent yesterday joined the growing call in the coal industry for Monday's all-out stoppage which began when miners in Yorkshire and Scotland last night came off the late shift." (The Guardian, March 10, 1984).

Mrs. Thatcher would accuse Scargill of using the year-long strike to try to bring down her anti-communist government. To prolong the strike, Scargill sought aid from trade unionists around the world, including from the Soviet Union. 

Vladimir Bukovsky told a remarkable story about this contentious period in his recently published book Judgment in Moscow.

A little background. When Bukovsky entered the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR in Moscow after the Soviet Union dissolved in the early 1990s, he spent about one year extracting documentary evidence demonstrating that it was the West that shored up the communist "evil empire."

Bukovsky was especially interested in this deeply perverted "special relationship" as it developed after 1960, the era of his own activities in the Soviet dissident movement, of which he was a co-founder, and for which he spent 12 years in Soviet labor camps, prisons and psychiatric hospitals. By contrast, most of what is known and studied in this field in the West today is confined to the pre-1960 period, with a notable emphasis on the mid-century Soviet-American-British-Canadian theft of Western atomic secrets.

Bukovsky discovered more than "Western complicity in Soviet crimes," the subtitle of Judgment in Moscow, which analyzes these sensational findings. He also uncovered documents attesting to what we might call Soviet complicity in Western crimes -- that is, evidence of the ways in which the Kremlin's hyper-active intelligence armies were able to penetrate, influence and "occupy" (my word) the inner sanctums of Western power, and with disastrous results for mankind. And yes, this makes my own book American Betrayal and Judgment in Moscow companion pieces of a sort, as Bukovsky himself noted here, where he also observed that we had the same Pravda-like detractors in common. Their weird animus, it seems, comes from their sense of mission to make the intelligence wars between the US and the USSR one of stolen secrets only, ignoring (suppressing) the far more deleterious impact of subversive influence. The dangerous results are a widespread, crippling American ignorance of the ways and means of subversion.

In exposing the Kremlin's powers to twist and manipulate through its extensive programs of Active Measures, which also drive Moscow's diplomacy and statecraft, Judgment in Moscow makes it convincingly clear that many of our greatest anti-communist stalwarts and politicians on the Right were taken in by them. Among the beguiled, it is fair to say, was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose soft spot for Comrade Gorbachev was a source of distress for Bukovsky in his role as her unofficial adviser, which he discusses in Judgment in Moscow.

He wrote:

Attempts to argue with her, explain something were useless: she simply refused to listen. At the mention of Gorbachev's name she would only say with a proud toss of her head as a mother would about her child:

"Isn't he marvelous?"

As Bukovsky continued, his tale shifted to Britain's turbulent days of 1984. 

That ended the discussion. But I persisted, and at every new meeting I returned to the painful question. For me, it became a sort of fixed idea. Finally, in 1992, when I was digging in the CC [Central Committee] archives in Moscow, I came across a document dated 1984 regarding Soviet aid to striking British miners.

There was little in it that was new -- there was no secret that at a critical moment in the strike, the USSR transferred a million dollars to them. To be more precise, the fact was known, but it was thought that the aid was sent by Soviet trade unions to their class brothers. Looking at that document now I realized that the decision to send aid was made, naturally, by the CC and among the signatories was Gorbachev -- the Second Secretary of the CC at the time, and without whose signature not a single decision could be approved. (Emphasis added.)

Naturally, upon returning to London I hurried to see Thatcher, anticipating the effect. Knowing how crucial the 1984 miner's strike was to her, a strike that could have brought down her government, I did not doubt that I had finally hit the bullseye. Yes, when she saw her friend's signature, she paled.

When was this signed? she demanded. I pointed at the date.

"This is even worse," she said quietly. "I asked him about it at that very time and he said he knew nothing about it."

This was my long-awaited moment of triumph:

"The difficulty of `doing business' with communists is that they have the disgusting habit of lying while looking you in the face," I said slowly and clearly, enjoying every word.

There was a long pause, possibly too long.

"I am not naive, you know..."

In the book of her memoirs, which was being prepared for print, a mysterious footnote appeared on the relevant page.

In fact I have seen documentary evidence suggesting that he knew full well and was among those who authorized payment.

This is a tremendous story in its own right, but I have included it here for several reasons. Rather like Jack Horner, Bukovsky stuck in his thumb and pulled out this plum, this top secret, internal Central Committee document, which alone changes the nature of the Thatcher-Gorbachev relationship by providing proof of his deception and her gullibility. Further, it speaks to a covert Soviet effort, even as  "perestroika" and "glasnost," the signature wiles of "liberal reformer" Gorbachev, were coming online, to de-stabilize an anti-communist British government. It also reminds us of the immense powers of state-executed deception to set the world stage for action, and, maybe most of all, the difficulties involved in lifting the curtain on what is really going on.   

The story also conveys something of the intensity of the place and hard times in which Fiona Hill came of intellectual age, something she isn't known for speaking about. What might she carry with her from this background of "class struggle"? When, in 2019, Fiona Hill, a star witness for the Democrats' effort to remove the President of the United States, introduces herself to the American people by emphasizing her "working-class accent," her "poor" coal-mining family's "struggle with poverty," and other depredations of "hard labor," is she channeling the rhetoric of the old British Labour Party, or even that of the Marxist-led coal miners union, which she must have heard in her youth, and perhaps even at her own dinner table?

At the same time, it seems fair to assume that this same upbringing amid the "class brothers" would have been a boon in Fiona Hill's eventual selection as a St Andrews student for admission into an elite Soviet language school to study Russian intensively in 1987-1988. 

Nellie Ohr (of Fusion GPS fame) wouldn't start hitting the Lenin Library until 1989, so it seems that Hill and Ohr just missed overlapping in Soviet-era Moscow. I mention this because it is the case that Hill and Ohr, both Russian speakers, have notable relationships in common: Both studied Russian history under Harvard professor Richard Pipes, and both worked closely with former MI6 officer Christopher Steele (of "Steele dossier" fame), to be discussed below. At this juncture, it's worth recalling from the ideological profile of Nellie Ohr developed in The Red Thread  that Western students permitted to study in Soviet-era Moscow were commonly chosen on the basis of their Soviet-approved research projects, and, while in the USSR, had to submit to state controls on their movements and research activities. Ohr would travel to Smolensk to research the aftermath of the Ukraine Terror Famine; Hill, we learn from a 2012 article, journeyed on the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Khabarovsk. Her 2003 book, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, by the way, also co-authored with Gaddy, appears to have come out of the trip. (From the 2012 article: "The solution proposed by Hill and Gaddy is a relocation of the younger generations, away from Siberia, leaving their parents and old people behind. This proposal is as harsh as the Soviet policies once used to populate the area ...")  

Here is how Fiona Hill described her unusual education to the Schiff committee:

I began my University studies in 1984, and in 1987 I won a place on an academic exchange to the Soviet Union. I was there for the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and when President Ronald Reagan met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow. This was a turning point for me. An American professor who (sic) I met there told me about graduate student scholarships to the United States, and the very next year, thanks to his advice, I arrived in America to start my advanced studies at Harvard.

In Hill's four-page Brookings Institution CV she describes her Moscow studies more clearly:

Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages, Moscow, Russia:

Ten-month intensive Russian language program. British Council, and Rotary Club Fellowships,1987-1988.

Just to keep our historical references straight, once upon a Cold War, Maurice Thorez was the leader of French Communist Party leader who absconded to Moscow at the time of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and was ever-faithful to the Stalinist line after his return to France. But that's all dead and gone, right? Let's just say that as Lenin remains unburied in his mausoleum on Red Square, and Putin still supports communist regimes worldwide, the "Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages" name remains on the website of Moscow State Linguistic University, where Thorez is designated "a friend of the Soviet Union." On checking the Thorez Institute's top news item in post-Communist Russia, I find a report on a visiting delegation from communist Cuba.

Now, imagine a post-Nazi German state school featuring the Marshal Petain School of Languages, where Petain is designated "a friend of Nazi Germany," and where the top news item refers to a visiting delegation from The Boys from Brazil  ...  

Note that Hill's heavily veiled reference to her Russian language studies segued straight to a Cold War milestone, the December 1987 signing of the INF treaty. (President Trump, of course, has removed the United States from the INF treaty, much to Putin, Xi's, and Adam Schiff's consternation.) From Hill's dramatic "I was there" telling, one can almost see the young exchange student, right there, in the ornate state room for the treaty-signing, maybe even having her "turning point" on the spot, when, even as President Reagan and "leader" Gorbachev's pens were scratching across the vellum, an "American professor" thought to whisper into Hill's ear, Go West, young woman, and apply to Harvard.

The "turning point" story as told in a 2014 profile of Hill in the Harvard Alumni Magazine evokes no such dazzling super-power summitry. Hill's road to Harvard began in Moscow, all right, but her encounter with the still-anonymous American professor took place while Hill was "making coffee" for Maria Shriver of NBC, where Hill was an "intern" at the "Today Show."

Come again? British coal country recedes as Fiona-the-NBC-intern begins to come into focus. The alumni mag story continues: Having "struck up a conversation" with the coffee-making Hill, the unnamed professor told her about U.S. scholarships that were available for Russian studies. A period of something like negotiation ensued: "After several conversations, a few trips to the U.S. Embassy, and many chance encounters with Harvard graduates, Hill found herself applying for Harvard’s Kennedy Scholarship and Knox Fellowship." That Maria Shriver connection couldn't have hurt, either.

But wait: an even more interesting tidbit emerges in a 2012 profile of Fiona Hill in The Tribe, the student publication of St Andrews. (I am linking to the article cached at because after June 30, 2019, it was longer to be found on The Tribe's website.) The Tribe reported: "In Moscow, Hill worked as an unofficial correspondent and translator for NBC, which enabled her to meet Maria Shriver." (Emphasis added.)

A new picture begins to emerge. Naturally, it wasn't young Fiona's coffee-making skills that paired her with the NBC anchor and niece of John, Bobby and Ted along her way to Harvard, where she would complete her Ph.D. in 1998, and later the highest White House councils, but rather her excellent Russian language skills learned at the Thorez Institute. Maria Shriver, meanwhile, was in her heyday, one day in Moscow, the next day in Havana, where she enthused over Castro's Cuba. "The level of public services was remarkable: free education, medicine and heavily subsidized housing,” Shriver reported from the island-prison in February 1988. When she asked Castro if there was any drug trafficking at all in Cuba, he replied: "Cuba is the cleanest country in the world, the entire world as of drugs." 

Apparently holding not a single grudge over Castro's deceptions (let alone his human rights abuses), she tweeted on his death in 2016 this snap of Castro and herself, which some might even call rapt:


Like the anonymous American professor, Shriver was probably smitten by bright young Fiona, a genuine product of the honest-to-goodness working class.

It wasn't a straight shot for Hill to Harvard from Moscow. According to The Tribe, after completing her undergraduate degree at St Andrews in 1989, Hill worked "in the North of the UK, mostly in local politics and exchange programs with Russia and Eastern European Countries." Hill's CV notes:

Durham County Council, Durham, England

Assistant to International Office––June to September, 1989 & 1990.

Amazing that hardscrabble Durham even had an "International Office"! 

The Tribe story continues. 

[Hill] won another grant and left Britain; this time for the other participant in the Cold War, America. In 1991 Fiona completed an A.M. Degree in Soviet Studies at Harvard University and quickly became a translator for Kennedy School of Government, working with Graham Ellison (sic)  and Grigory Yavlinsky."  

Given that Graham Allison and Grigory Yavlinsky were both at the time promoting massive amounts of US aid to Gorbachev's Soviet Union, it would seem that Hill's translating skills quickly put her where some of the real action was.


Los Angeles Times June 3, 1991

Click here for Part 3

Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West