The Other McCain

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‘A Conspiracy So Immense’ — Was FDR Aide Harry Hopkins a Soviet Agent?

Posted on | June 6, 2013 | 48 Comments

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Hopkins

“A confidential message from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, reproduced in [Diana] West’s new book, told [White House aide Harry] Hopkins that a ‘continuing’ investigation had discovered that Russian diplomat (and Comintern agent) Vasily Zarubin had made a payment to U.S. Communist Party official Steve Nelson to help place espionage agents ‘in industries engaged in secret war production … so that information could be obtained for transmittal to the Soviet Union.’ This information had come from a ‘bug’ at Nelson’s home in Oakland, California, through which the FBI first learned of the Soviet effort (code-named ‘Enormous’) to obtain the atomic secrets of the Manhattan Project. Instead of warning President Roosevelt, however, Hopkins ‘privately warned the Soviet embassy in Washington that the FBI had bugged a secret meeting’ between Nelson and Zarubin, according to documents from the KGB archives smuggled out by [former Soviet intelligence officer Vasili] Mitrokhin.”
ViralRead, “Top FDR Aide Hopkins Was Soviet Agent; Book Examines ‘Betrayal’”

“Robert Stacy McCain has seized on the conclusion . . .”
Diana West, “American Betrayal: Making News”

Just doing my job, ma’am. “Seizing conclusions” is a fairly apt job description and, as was I reading through the book, my head nearly exploded when I saw the evidence against Harry Hopkins: “Holy freaking crap! Harry Hopkins ratted out the FBI to the Reds?”

The evidence pointing toward Harry Hopkins’s complicity in a plot of subversive Soviet influence within the FDR White House is more extensive than this one incident, but this incident by itself is shocking enough to deserve front-page headlines.

The FBI had gotten clear proof that the Soviet Union was using diplomatic cover to insert Comintern agents into the United States, and that these agents were, in turn, funding and directing espionage aimed at our top-secret Manhattan Project. And when J. Edgar Hoover told the president’s most trusted aide about this investigation, in a letter that emphasized the confidential nature of the information, Harry Hopkins tells the Soviet embassy about it?

HOLY! FREAKING! CRAP!

And perhaps the most startling thing about this is that experts specializing in the history of Communist espionage have known of the suspicions about Hopkins’s subversive pro-Soviet activities since it at least 1990, when made headlines in the New York Times:

Roosevelt Aide Called an Unwitting Spy
A new book by a prominent Soviet K.G.B. defector names Harry L. Hopkins, an architect of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and his closest personal adviser, as an unwitting ”agent of major significance” for the Soviet Union. . . .
The book, co-written by a Cambridge University history professor, Christopher Andrew, says that Mr. Gordievsky concluded that Mr. Hopkins was valuable to the Soviets in the sense that he encouraged Roosevelt to take positions favored by Moscow, and not a knowing spy. It says Mr. Hopkins influenced the United States to accept Soviet control over Poland, the Baltic states and Romania. . . .

“Unwitting”? You could call Harry Hopkins a lot of things, but “unwitting” is the one thing he never was. And without regard for Gordievsky’s belief about the “unwitting” nature of Hopkins’s treachery, it’s important to quote Gordievsky’s original source:

Harry Hopkins, as ”Mr. New Deal” in the 1930’s, was a target of right-wing critics of Roosevelt’s liberal social policies. He later was an adviser to President Truman. The assertion that he unwittingly helped the Soviet Union stems from a lecture that Mr. Gordievsky attended in the K.G.B.’s headquarters in Moscow by Iskhak A. Akhmerov, who the book says was Alger Hiss’s wartime K.G.B. controller.
Mr. Hiss, who served in the State Department, was accused by Whittaker Chambers of having given him confidential documents to transmit to the Soviet Union. Mr. Hiss was convicted of perjury but denied having been a Soviet spy.
”Akhmerov identified the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States,” the book says, ”as Harry Hopkins.”

Iskhak Akhmerov didn’t say “unwitting,” did he? No, and while specialist historians may want to debate the nature and extent of what Hopkins did for the Stalinist regime and why he did it, the very fact that such a dark suspicion could fall on such an important official — no one could dispute that Hopkins was as close to FDR as any presidential adviser could ever be — is headline-worthy news.

And yet I, having spent many years as an amateur student of Communist subversion, had never even heard this before? It immediately struck me that, if I didn’t know about it, the vast majority of Americans certainly don’t know about, and this startling ignorance is itself a mystery that requires an explanation.

Trying to find that explanation is really what Diana West’s book is about. How is that historians and journalists have ignored, or explained away, or deliberately suppressed, the evidence that U.S. policy in the 1930s and ’40s was not actually U.S. policy, but was in fact so influenced by Soviet penetration of our government that, to a great extent, Roosevelt’s policy was actually Josef Stalin’s policy?

Yesterday, I spent some time on the phone with the legendary M. Stanton Evans, who provides a dust-jacket recommendation for Diana West’s book, and Stan invoked Evans’s Law of Inadequate Paranoia: “However bad you think it is, it’s probably much worse.”

Evans last year published his own book, Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government, co-authored with the late intelligence expert Herb Romerstein, and anyone who has taken the time to explore the subject can understand the inadequacy of paranoia. Every time you dig a little bit deeper, you find another bizarre layer of treachery, another inexplicable connection between the supposedly random red dots in the pattern:

However, Evans noted Hopkins’s connections to other known or suspected Soviet agents, including his onetime assistant David Niles, who was mentioned in the Venona cables as helping two KGB agents obtain U.S. visas.

David Niles — that name is one worth Googling a bit, trust me.

How was it that Niles, an adviser to FDR, was connected to Soviet spy Michael Burd, who was in turn connected to Robert Menaker, whose niece was married to arch-traitor Victor Perlo, so that when the Reds wanted U.S. visas for two undercover agents, the encrypted secret Soviet cable contained this kind of stuff?

Through CAPITAN’S (Roosevelt’s) advisor David Niles –will take 3-4 days, will cost 500 dollars…. [A]round Niles there is a group of his friends who will arrange anything for a bribe. Through them TENOR (Michael W. Burd) obtains priorities and has already paid them as much as 6000 dollars. Whether NILES takes a bribe himself is not known for certain.

This isn’t guesswork or some paranoid fantasy, these are historical facts obtained directly from Soviet intelligence sources. Such was the atmosphere in FDR’s White House that when the Kremlin wanted to get its agents across the border from the U.S. to Mexico, there was “a group” of “friends” who were only too happy to collect $500 for this service to the Stalinist regime. This is documented history, I  remind you, so why isn’t it more widely known?

“Implications” is a word you will encounter often in the pages of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, and rightly so: What are the implications of this cover-up? What does it mean that, for more than a half-century, Americans have been taught a lie about their own nation’s history? What are the implications of this for the integrity of our education system?

If professors and teachers of history know about this Soviet subversion — and certainly, it is their business to know it — why isn’t it being taught in our colleges and universities and high schools? And why have we forgotten the real heroes of our own history?

There is no statue of Elizabeth Bentley at her alma mater, Vassar College, nor is there any memorial to her at Columbia University, where she received her master’s degree. Bentley’s career as a Communist spy could be the stuff of a Hollywood thriller, complete with a romantic interest in the form of her lover, Soviet intelligence agent Jacob Golos.
Yet Bentley is nearly forgotten today for the very reason that she became famous: She quit the Communist Party in 1945 and went to the FBI with the names of nearly 150 Soviet agents — including such prominent officials as Victor Perlo, chief of the aviation section of the War Production Board — and subsequently testified before Congress about the Communist espionage network she supervised.
Hollywood and academia don’t celebrate anti-Communists, but as Diana West points out, there is a professorship at Bard College named for arch-traitor Alger Hiss. . . .

Read the whole thing. And then read my ViralRead article about Harry Hopkins, and don’t stop there. You need to buy Diana West’s book, and a lot more books you’ve never read, because there is an entire history that hasn’t been taught to the American people, and you’ll never know the truth if you don’t start teaching yourself.

 

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Comments

  • Pingback: Holder, Asked Whether DoJ Intercepted Congressmen’s Communications, Says, “How About a Closed Session?” | The Necropolitan Sentinel

  • Guest

    Looks like a good companion to Johnson’s Modern Times, which portrays FDR as less of a dupe and more of a sympathizer: ““The moment Hitler’s declaration of war made Russia America’s ally, he devised procedures for bypassing the State Department and the Embassy and dealing with Stalin directly.3 His intermediary was Harry Hopkins, a political fixer who reported back that Stalin, naturally, was delighted with the idea: ‘[he] has no confidence in our ambassador or in any of our officials’.4 Roosevelt also wanted to bypass Churchill, whom he thought an incorrigible old imperialist, incapable of understanding ideological idealism.”

    Excerpt From: Paul M. Johnson. “Modern Times.” HarperCollins, 1983. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.

  • Dianna Deeley

    I really thought everyone knew that Hopkins was (if not a formal agent) at least a fellow traveler? He was, at best, more sympathetic to Soviet interests than to the United States.

    Of course, if you are in Soviet studies, you learn about the brazen Westerner sympathizers. It tends to leave a really bad taste in your mouth. There is no excuse, they were willfully blind to the evil they supported.

  • robertstacymccain

    Misguided sympathy is one thing, and outright treason is another. When the FBI manages to get a bug inside a nest of spies, then reports this confidentially to the president’s top adviser, and this adviser then alerts the Soviets …

    What the hell? I mean, really, what the hell? Perhaps we begin to see why J. Edgar Hoover became so suspicious and why Joe McCarthy (who got secret info from FBI sources during his investigations) became so outraged by witnesses who wouldn’t give straight answers, and by officials — including his fellow senators — who did not share his determination to blow the lid off this mess, at all hazards.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Well, so long as it was ‘unwitting’…

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    It is kind of disgusting to read about.

    It’s kind of like carrying some family pride about some legend that all of your ancestors were heroes in the Civil War, only to find out they were runaway slave hunters.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Well, good thing modern Senators would never act like that.

  • riverlifecallie

    This explains a lot about how we got to this god-awful place, doesn’t it?

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    As we all know from disclosed accounts (a fictionalized version pretty close to the truth was done by John LeCarre in Tinker, Tailer Soldier, Spy) British found traitorous spies at the highest levels of government, who were recruited at elite British universities, who were compromised and thus completely at the mercy of their handlers, and who continued to give information to the Soviets for years.

    Glad to know that could never happen in the United States. Oh wait…

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Well not good, but I suppose that is still better than finding out they were Yankees.

  • NeoWayland

    I realize the focus is on Hopkins, but there was obviously something else going on.

    Think about it, the head of the FBI, who is supposed to report directly to the Attorney General and through him to the President, cut both of them out of the loop.

    From what I’ve read, it wasn’t the first time either. Apparently Hoover liked getting the goods on someone so he could tell them know he had the goods. It doesn’t excuse Hopkins, but Hoover and his FBI certainly weren’t on the side of Good and Justice and the American Way.

  • Verizon (an NSA company)

    You guys are blowing this way out of proportion. Sincerely,

  • WarEagle82

    Roosevelt’s administration was riddled with Soviet agents. It has long been suspected that Hopkins was one of the more highly placed agents on the Soviet payroll.

    This is not “news” as it is pretty well-known if you read any history of the period. Now, maybe West has discovered some new harder evidence?

  • M. Thompson

    Hey, some of us are proud of being descended from the GAR.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Now we wonder who placed Obama in power and whether or not he is a groomed agent of certain political persuasions…

    [NSA computers just copied that comment]

  • Freddie Sykes

    It is not as if Teddy Kennedy would ever cooperate with the Kremlin in exchange for help in getting Reagan defeated. That just would only occasionally happen.

  • Freddie Sykes

    Hiss was the US point man on creating the UN. White was the US point man on creating the World Bank. Both were communists. Any problems we have with those two institutions are features, not bugs.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    The point isn’t that all Democrats are closet communists and the natural enemies of freedom and the US Constitution.

    It’s that they’ve been that way longer than most people thought.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Hah! Good one. I wonder who else Putin has files on, and how far back this goes.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Heh.

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  • richard mcenroe

    FDR was a classic parlor pink, endlessly bloviating from the WH and his Hyde Park mansion about how no American “needed” to make more than $25000/year, or taking the workers who had just fought their way out of the company towns and sticking them in government-run “workers’ villages”. Harry Hopkins’ malfeasance, as with that of the current Administration, was most likely a feature, not a bug.

  • Wombat_socho

    Even the Soviets despised them; the slang term for such people was govnoyed, which literally translates as “eater of sh!t”.

  • Dianna Deeley

    I had a professor who, if you got a few drinks into him, would proclaim the Democrats the party of the Commies and the Klan.

  • Mike G.

    John A. Stormer wrote about all this back in 1964 in his book, ” None Dare Call It Treason”, but people mostly ignored it because it was published by The Liberty Bell Press which was affiliated with the John Birch Society. Hopkins was only mentioned once in the book, but was associated with Alger Hiss and Averrell Harriman during the talks in Yalta, Teheran and Cairo.

    Thanks to them, 800 million Poles, Hungarians, Chinese and Czechs were placed into Communist slavery.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    Hey, get a few drinks in me and . . . but his proclamation isn’t so contradictory as it appears on the surface. Both are more about control than ideology.

    And both are absolutely convinced to a moral certainty that they, and they alone, should be IN control.

  • Dianna Deeley

    A certain amount of the blame attaches to Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman, too. There is, sadly, plenty to spread around.

  • Dianna Deeley

    Venona. Hopkins may not have actually been an agent, not on the payroll, but he was very sympathetic.

  • Dianna Deeley

    Very true.

  • Blake

    I believe Ann Coulter implies, in “Treason,” that part of the reason the press hated Nixon was due to Nixon’s involvement with HUAC.

    Also, if memory serves, “Treason” also mentions that Harry Hopkins was probably a Soviet agent.

    I’m about as shocked as Captain Louis Renault that Mr. Hopkins was a traitor.

  • Patrick Carroll

    Incompetence keeps falling on America and then landing on Europe and China.

    Odd, that.

  • Patrick Carroll

    One of the most ignorant and dishonest posts I’ve see all day.

    For the love God, please go total up troops killed, in various ways, and for various countries, and then call back.

    Or maybe hang yourself.

    I matterrs nothing.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Best example of sick-minded drivel I’ve ever seen on this site.

    Well done.

  • pschieber

    Hadn’t you ever heard of Armand Hammer? That’s right!Arm and Hammer His father was a right hand man to Lenin and he was sent to the USA. His son, Armand, was a frequent guest in the Tonight show and he was touted as one of the richest men in the USA who owned Occidental Petroleum. Actually, he was a great con man. His job was to boost the economy of RUSSIA. Al Gore Sr helped him in his endeavors.

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  • Jim

    Yes, I think that was in Stormer’s book but it’s been awhile since I read it.

  • rbeccah

    If close presidential advisors can be traitors, then who is Barack Obama listening to ?!?

  • DaveO

    There have been tales of the Red Diaper Babies going around. I imagine someone has traced the networks: who went to which schools together, had the same mentors, went to the Red Church.

  • DaveO

    They aren’t called Yankees anymore. They’re called Blue State Americans.

  • DaveO

    Admitted admirers of Mao, Stalin, the Weather Underground, and folks who really, really love money.

  • Dianna Deeley

    Did you stay up past your bed time or something?

    “Dishonest”? “Ignorant”?
    Because (hello?) I noted that the people *in charge of governments* in the closing days of WWII (sorry, I forgot Atlee) might bear just a smidgen of responsibility for the fate of Eastern Europe?

  • Mike G.

    Hammer wasn’t mentioned in the original book, but might have been in the 25th anniv. expanded edition, which sadly, I haven’t read.

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  • dad29

    “Stan invoked Evans’s Law of Inadequate Paranoia: ‘However bad you think it is, it’s probably much worse.'”

    John Yoo opines that the revelation of NSA’s phone/email database ‘will harm Government’s ability to protect the nation.’

    Given what we know about Obama and his utter contempt for America, perhaps Obama is very happy, indeed, that the NSA program has been exposed.