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Monday, July 26, 2010

A red-letter book

The red plot against America was, if anything, worse than what was described by Joe McCarthy.

Like M. Stanton Evans, I've spent a lot of time going over old records and that conclusion is inescapable. So I believe that Evans in Blacklisted by History: the untold story of Senator Joe McCarthy (Random House 2007) has done a service by laying out in gritty detail much material that shows that McCarthy and his expert advisers really were onto something.

[I always find it interesting that some of the loudest of McCarthy's enemies, such as New Republic editor Michael Straight, had some red skeletons in their closets. Straight, in fact, had been a member of the Anthony Blunt Soviet spy ring and had even held a post in the wartime U.S. State Dept., a fact he only admitted publicly under duress after the Blunt affair blew up in the late 70s.

Straight had been appointed to a top post with the National Endowment for the Arts, in strange parallel to Blunt's career as the queen's art curator. Blunt had obtained the post even though London knew of his treason. Similarly, Nixon appointed Straight, even though Straight's background had quietly surfaced when he was vetted for a post in the Kennedy administration.]

But I have serious reservations about Evans' impartiality. Most notably, he so far (I'm only part way through the book) seems to take J. Edgar Hoover as a paragon of virtue, I suppose in order to vouchsafe the credibility of the numerous FBI reports he cites.

However, conspiracy takes strange turns. After all, it was Hoover who saw to it that the FBI was a major part of the coverup of the government role in John Kennedy's murder. Undoubtedly the communists were among those who wanted JFK (and their arch-nemesis Attorney General Robert Kennedy) out of the way. But Hoover threw in with a bad lot.

However, this doesn't mean that the FBI's evidence of communist penetration is all bogus. Most of it checks, as far as I can determine. Plus, there's other important evidence implying such a conspiracy.

As I discovered when seeking public records relating to the reds, Evans found important materials had gone missing. Examples:

# A 1946 State Dept. memo on communists and communist sympathizers should have been in the Tydings committee record concerning its review of McCarthy's charges. AWOl from the National Archives, like numerous other such materials, says Evans.

# Data provided by McCarthy to the Tydings panel. Likewise, no trace.

Finding a copy of the Wheeling, W. Va., Intelligencer in which McCarthy's charges of State Dept. subversion first appeared proved futile. The public library there copies dating to the 19th century -- but nothing for the days in question.  Even the Library of Congress is missing those issues.


  1. Paul, I agree with you about this book. But I am troubled by your "serious reservations about Evans' impartiality."

    Isn't it possible for Evans to be impartial and yet not believe that the U.S. government was involved in the JFK assassination?

    If you believe that the U.S. government was involved in the JFK assassination, presumably some evidence persuaded you of that belief. Isn't it possible that Evans hasn't seen this evidence? Or if he has, isn't it possible that he hasn't been persuaded by it? Can't impartial people interpret evidence differently, or come to different conclusions?

    Assuming that Hoover participated in a cover-up in 1963 and thereafter, how would you expect this to affect Evans' reporting on field reports of special agents in the 1930s, '40s and '50s?

    Is it possible for someone to disagree with you without thereby impugning his impartiality?

    Regards, Mark

  2. Point well taken. As I said, I think Evans has done a service. However, a note on Hoover's faults would have been valuable. And I'd say that there is a strong parallel between the coverup of the severity of communist subversion and the official mangling of the JFK assassination story.