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July 16, 2007

The Left Still Isn't Giving Up On Alger Hiss

The VENONA intercepts proved he was a Soviet collaborator and agent (not merely a communist) long ago. But that was just set back in the left's 50 year war to clear Hiss' bad name.

The VENONA intercepts proved that Soviet asset codenamed "Ales" was Alger Hiss by noting that wherever the Soviet "diplomatic" cables said Ales was, that's, coincidentally I'm sure, where Hiss was. If Ales was reported by the Soviet spymasters as being in Yalta, gee willickers, it turns out Hiss was in Yalta too. When Ales was reported to be in Mexico City, wouldn't you know it, but that's where Hiss was at the time.

Except in one case, which is where these unrepentant red-defenders make the entirety of their case. One cable, revealed recently, reports that Ales is still in Mexico City, whereas contemporaneous news accounts state that he'd already returned to DC 12 or so days before.

Rosenbaum notes the obvious problem with vesting so much in a single incongruent report -- just because Hiss was in DC doesn't necessarily mean the spymasters knew he was back in DC. He may not have checked in with them yet, leaving them with the impression he was still in Mexico City. Or that part of the report may have been days old, part of a blast of information from the past several weeks reported to Moscow in an information-dump including both fresh and stale reports. Or Gorsky -- the guy who sent this cable -- may have just not been very up on his Hiss-tracking. As Rosenbam notes, dryly:

And as we know, bureaucrats are never incompetent.

And Soviet bureaucrats were of course the most competent of all.

"But it gets worse," Rosenbaum notes, because in their giddy thrill to vindicate a long-ago lost delusion, they resort to McCarthyite tactics to identify an apparent innocent -- a man named Wilder Foote -- as the real Soviet agent.


They also find that Foote had "several longstanding friendships" with leftists, including two friends described by the Soviets as "highly left-wing," although there is no evidence that these friends were involved in espionage. Guilt by friendship!

They even use the rhetoric used by both communist and fascist regimes to brand their internal enemies: "Foote was a cosmopolitan," they say, and "an intellectual, and an internationalist." Case closed!

Worst of all, they quote Wilder Foote's son (who categorically denies their indictment of his father): "My father was on McCarthy's 'list' but was never called to testify."

The ultimate irony. In trying to exonerate Hiss, they end up (partially, at least) exonerating McCarthy's notorious little list of security risks. Essentially, they're saying that one of the alleged communists on McCarthy's list really was a secret Soviet asset.

So McCarthy's list of suspected Communist agents wasn't quite as apocryphal and flat-out fantastical as we had previously been led to believe, eh?

A long article, but an interesting one. It speaks volumes about the mindset of the left -- especially the part where, having branded an apparently innocent man of being a highly-placed Soviet agent and traitor to America, they attempt to make nice with him, calling him an "honorable" and decent man.

Well of course Soviet agents and traitors were honorable and decent men, dears. They were fighting the good fight to champion the murderous tyrant Stalin over the decadent (but not murderous nor tyrannical) West.

It reminds me of Islamic radicals speaking of Osama bin Ladin -- of course he's innocent of the 9/11 attacks! But he is a good and just man for ordering them, you know.

Related: An ex-Marxist pens an essay titled Why I Am Not A Marxist.


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posted by Ace at 03:06 PM

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