Skip to comments.NYP Book Review: AN 'INNOCENT' SOVIET SPY re: ALGER HISS'S LOOKING-GLASS WAR (LIFE OF A SOVIET SPY)
Posted on 11/14/2004 9:59:38 AM PST by OESY
...[T]here is no greater Cold War icon than Alger Hiss, the once high-ranking State Department official who went to prison for denying that he'd passed government secrets to the Soviet Union.
Nearly 60 years after he was exposed before Congress by Whittaker Chambers, a communist underground operative who later became a senior editor at Time magazine, belief in Hiss' complete innocence remains an article of faith for the political left.
For anti-communists, Hiss remains the prime example of how the Kremlin infiltrated the highest ranks of the U.S. government....
Over the years, Davis remained unpersuaded by new evidence of Hiss' guilt, while White reached an altogether different conclusion.
White's history breaks no new ground for those who have followed the case in detail. It's real importance is the book's coverage of... how Hiss spent the remaining 52 years of his life waging "a campaign for vindication" and how, remarkably, that campaign largely succeeded.
Only since his death, in fact, has the tide begun to turn against Hiss, as newly disclosed U.S. and Soviet records have added to what was already an overwhelming case for his guilt...
And, indeed, Hiss' campaign picked up steam when he made common cause with '60s-era radicals and following Nixon's self-destruction.
The other key to Hiss' campaign was his refusal to admit anything, always insisting that he'd been the victim of a monstrous political frame-up.
The most controversial part of Hiss' campaign was the public "exoneration" announced in 1992 by Gen. Dmitri Volkogonov....
But Volkogonov had never checked the files of Soviet military intelligence, for whom Hiss worked....
The weight of the evidence is clear: Hiss was a Soviet agent and, when caught, lied about it. But most people aren't inclined to examine the evidence in detail....
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
The FBI files reveal that national leaders of John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War VVAW meet with Soviet KGB agents inside the United States during a time of war.
I can't believe that there is still any controversy about this.
One must merely read Hiss' own autobiography to know that he was full of sh*t. His own account of what happened is about as convincing as OJ Simpson's.
"His own account of what happened is about as convincing as OJ Simpson's."
OJ was a spy for the Soviets??
Does anyone STILL seriously believe Hiss? Man- talk about denial...
it was the events of the mcCarthy era that informed the anti americanism of hollywood.
nixon was always in the gunsights of the media for his role in the mcCarthy era. (That's why its strange that Kerry would have even thought of running for president--given his role in the vietnam era. How could he not know that the swifties would not hunt him down.... Perhaps the same arguement can be laid against Nixon...)
But then Hollywood has operated on the basis of a lie.
The reason Reagan was such a teflon president was that he understood both the lie and where hollywood/media was coming from. His understanding however, came from years of many hard knocks. After the McCarthy period he could not get work in Hollywood--because he was an anti communist. He was the victim of a reverse black list.
If you want to see how thoroughly our government/CIA was penetrated, check out the following link. McCarthy was right, Alger Hiss was just the tip of the iceberg.
The left can never let go of their myths, regardless of the proof to the contrary.
Alger Hiss was innocent, McCarthy was wrong, Bush Stole the 2000 election, Kerry was a war hero, etc. etc.
What a crock. He mentions Ames, who offered himself up to the Soviets due to severe financial and alcohol problems and then makes the unprovable allegation that the CIA is full of moles. No one can say for sure that there aren't any other moles, but he has absolutely no evidence the Agency is full of moles. Any intelligence organization that employs thousands of people is going to occasionally have people who for one reason or another sell or give away secrets. None of the espionage cases in the last 20 years were due to an allegiance to Communism, but in most cases a result of overblown ego, money problems, or alcoholism. In the 30's and 40's they were almost universally the result of a belief in communism. There is a big difference.
Get with it, dude!
I knew that "The Juice" was a KGB agent years ago.
The VENONA files are decoded cables sent from Soviet agents in the United States to Moscow. Transcripts of the intercepted cables were released by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency in 1995 and 1996. The VENONA transcript with the most relevance to the Hiss case is #1822, sent March 30, 1945 from the Soviet's Washington station chief to Moscow. (The transcript appears below.) If one accepts that "ALES" is indeed Alger Hiss, the transcript indicates that Hiss continued to work as a Soviet agent well until at least 1945, well after his association with Chambers ended in 1938. The period of the 1940s was one during which Hiss served as an important policy maker in the State Department.
"What a crock..."
Some food for thought...
WAS ANGLETON RIGHT?
What does it say about the state of US intelligence in the late nineteen-eighties and early ninety-nineties that two top counterintellgence officials-- Aldrich Ames in the CIA's anti-Soviet counterintelligence and Robert Phillip Hanssen in the FBI Soviet counterintelligence-- were moles for the Russian Intelligence Service? Under such circumstances, who controlled the recruitments the CIA and FBI were making during this period?
James Jesus Angleton, the chief of the CIA's counterintelligence staff from in 1953 to 1974, principal concern was not with "moles" per se, but with the inherent vulnerability of intelligence services to systematic deception. To him, "moles" were a means to this end if, and only if, they were in a position to provide timely feedback to an adversary about what channels his intelligence service were monitoring and how it is was interpreting the data it was intercepting. With such a feedback loop in place, he believed perfect deception was possible. Imagine, he suggested, a wife, attempting to deceiving her husband and using his psychiatrist as her feedback source. By bribing the psychiatrist to tell her on an ongoing basis how her husband was interpreting her lies and deceptions, she would be able to modify them, elaborating on those stories which he believed and discarding or altering those stories which he doubted. Through this trial and error process, she could continue to fit her deception perfectly to what her husband believed. "The deceived becomes his own deceiver" in Angleton's example. (You might recall Woody Allen used such a similar device to seduce Julia Roberts in the movie Everyone Says I Love You)
While manipulating a suspicious spouse might require only a bribed shrink, manipulating an entire intelligence service would require a feedback source capable of getting access to secret information that is both compartmentalized and restricted on a "need to know" basis. Angleton held that a penetration able to accomplish this feat would most probably located in the counterintelligence branch, which through its investigative function can access to multiple compartments. Even so, the access of a single mole would be limited by what cases he had been assigned. What would greatly expand the feedback would be two moles, each located in a different counterintelligence branch, for example, CIA counterintelligence and FBI counterintelligence. Such a combination, if efficiently managed, could cosmically expand their access, since each could produce leads for the other to investigate--- leads which would generate a legitimate need to know for each mole. For example, if such a combo existed, Mole A in CIA could inform the FBI through the CIA-FBI liaison that there was suspicion about X. The FBI, charged with investigating all espionage in the US, which turn the case over to its counterintelligence branch, which would give Mole B the access and need to know to delve into the concerning X. Angleton feared that such a dual penetration would allow the KGB to effectively control the assessment of American intelligence Others, including J. Edgar Hoover in the FBI and William Colby in the CIA, did not share Angleton's concern. Hoover threatened to sever its cooperation with Angleton~s staff and Colby characterized the likelihood of the Russian intelligence service recruiting moles simultaneously in both the CIA and FBI counterintelligence as preposterous and Angleton as paranoid. Angleton was fired.
Yet, the dual recruitment Angleton feared is precisely happened in the nineteen-eighties when both Aldrich Ames, heading the CIA's anti-Soviet counterintelligence, and Robert Phillip Hanssen, working in the FBI Soviet counterintelligence, both operated as moles for the Russian Intelligence Service.
"communist underground operative who later became a senior editor at Time magazine...."
Infiltrate one, then the other.......
"For anti-communists, Hiss remains the prime example of how the Kremlin infiltrated
the highest ranks of the U.S. government...."
I about had a freakin' heart attack when PBS's NOVA agreed in their episode titlted
"Secret, LIes and Atomic Spies"...
I can't believe you don't believe it. Perception of a past events is important to persuade present policy.
First off, Ames was not a top official in the CIA. He was a 20 some year employee who only reached the GS-14 level. He was a problem employee with an obvious drinking problem and kept being moved around. The position he had in Soviet Division was not high level but did give him incredible access. In hindsight, he clearly should never have been given access to the identity of the most sensitive Soviet recruits. But his access had nothing to do with his status. Ironically, all the Soviet agents Ames compromised were recruited after Angleton was gone from the Agency. Angleton did indeed prevent the recruiting of double agents, but that was because during his reign not a single Soviet Agent was recruited. Every time a prospective recruit was identified Angleton would insist it was a dangle and stop the recruitment cycle. Eventually, the Moscow Station stopped trying to recruit. As soon as Angleton was gone some of the most important Soviet Agents were recruited. The fact is, the reason Ames was allowed to get away with his crimes for so long was due to institutional negligence. No one did a thorough investigation of his wealth, but accepted his claims it came through his wife, his alcoholism was ignored, his polygraphy was sloppy, his travels outside of the US were not monitored, and the old boy network at CIA refused to believe one of their own could be a mole. Angleton's approach was simply to be totally risk averse. We paid a huge price with a serious lack of Soviet penetrations for many years.
Origins of Iraqs NBC Interests
by Joseph D. Douglass Jr., Washington D.C.
On February 12, during the Senate hearings on terrorism, one of the Senators posed a variety of questions to the heads of CIA, FBI, and DIA. One of these questions was: How did Iraq acquire its interest in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons?
This was a highly relevant question. It went to the heart of the proliferation problem. If we knew more about the origins of Iraqs interest, our nations strategy for combating terrorism and proliferation could be profoundly affected.
Unfortunately, the question was not answered satisfactorily by any of the heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies.
To understand the reasons why Iraq turned to weapons of mass destruction, we need to go back to the early 1960s. At that time, secret discussions were held between the White House and Israel. From them emerged a U.S. decision to help Israel acquire nuclear weapons. The individual given the responsibility for managing the transfer to Israel was James Jesus Angleton. He was a perfect choice. Angleton was the legendary head of counterintelligence at the CIA. Even more important, at the same time Angleton ran the Israeli desk at the CIA. This desk had been placed under Angleton because of significant intelligence concerns respecting Israel and its intelligence connections to the Soviet Union.
The difference between Senator McCarthy and Zogby is that there WERE communists infiltrated in the government yet Zogby was wrong about the electorate in 2004.
The media swallowed their own BS.
Zogbyism led to a number of completely falsified "stories" being given prime time exposure designed to hurt President Bush and the Iraq war. The "National Guard" memos, the Mirror's photos of a British soldier urinating on "Iraqi prisoners", and the internet porn photos that ran in newspapers as "evidence" that US troops were "raping" "Iraqis". There were other such fabricated news items.
Pravada engaged in Zogbyism (then AND now). The American media reacted to internet exposure of their lies pretty much as I suppose Pravada did to the first outside competition in Russia.
EDITORS AND ANCHORS MUST BE FIRED over the way they acted this year. DO NOT FORGET how close they came to stealing the election. At 7PM CST on election night, every network talking head was talking about how "the economy" doomed President Bush's re-election campaign and put Kerry in office. Unfortunately 60 million voters ignored the script and told the media establishment "HELL NO" to the idea of Auxillary President Kerry.
"Angleton's approach was simply to be totally risk averse."
Actually, you are repeating the line pushed by the CIA via Tom Mongold et al. Angleton's remedy to for the CIA's mole problem was as follows:
Although many of his colleagues in the CIA considered him paranoid, James Jesus Angleton believed that enemy intelligence services had the capability of establishing moles in sensitive positions in US intelligence. Moles such as Robert Phillip Hanssen in the FBI and Aldrich Ames in the CIA should, in his view, be expected.
What remedy did he propose to the mole problem?
It was neither strapping people into "lie-detector" polygraph machines nor expelling Embassy diplomats in Washington DC.
Angleton believed, rightly or wrongly, that the recruitments of moles was inevitable. Individuals in a poorly-paid bureaucratic matrix were not an equal match for a resourceful head-hunting intelligence service with unlimited tricks to tempt and compromise.
To deal with this problem, he had proposed a "mimicry program." It was analogous to the method used to control mosquito infestations. In the case of mosquito control, a plethora of sterilized female mosquitoes are intentionally released so that male mosquitos, unable to discriminate between the fecund and the sterile females, would waste their time mating with ones that could not be reproduce and missing ones that could. Similarly, in mole control a la Angleton, counterintelligence would dispatch a plethora of "sterile" volunteers to make contact with Russian diplomats so as to exhaust their limited recruitment resources.
In terms of its mechanics, the contact need not be personal meeting in which they could be closely assessed or tested. Instead, they could send messages designating dead drops in which they would leave documents and in which the intelligence officer would leave in exchange large cash payments. Or they could make "brush" contacts, surreptitiously exchanging their attache cases or envelopes. They would have to provide real documents for the mimicry to work, but these documents could reveal what the Russians might already know or suspect such as a tunnel under their embassy or collection programs and agents that have been abandoned. Unlike strategic disinformation programs, which need to be continually kept credible, a mimicry program works effectively even when it is not continually credible. It can even be blown intentionally. Because when the targeted intelligence service learns through such slips that it is "mating: with sterile agents, and paying for the privilege, no less, it tends to suspect the real moles. And the real moles cannot prove their bona fides, since the documents that they provide are similar to the real documents delivered by the fake moles.
If such a mimicry program succeeds in confusing the real with the fake, the risks for Russians in recruiting a sterile agent outweigh the rewards of recruiting a real agent, at least in terms of their career advancement. It also depletes the Russian's "buy" money by many million dollars and, can even be, self-financing. Result, if it works: a diminishing of the infestation of moles.
"But there is no media bias..."
=== Angleton did indeed prevent the recruiting of double agents, but that was because during his reign not a single Soviet Agent was recruited. Every time a prospective recruit was identified Angleton would insist it was a dangle and stop the recruitment cycle
I never realized this. Thanks.
I think that he is a hero to the left not because he was innocent, but precisely because he was guilty. To many on the left, spying for the Soviet Union is a heroic act.
Apparently, Buckley had been approached years ago to write a book. But Buckley brushed Angleton off as a quack.
Years later, after reflection, Buckley wrote the book. I found it fascinating.
I thought Ann Coulter did a wonderful job exposing that commie and his ilk in our government in her book awhile back.
"Years later, after reflection, Buckley wrote the book. I found it fascinating."
Just remember Buckley sided with the Left's campaign both inside and outside of the CIA to discredit Angleton. I haven't read his book. Did he have a change of heart?
"The individual given the responsibility for managing the transfer to Israel was James Jesus Angleton. He was a perfect choice. Angleton was the legendary head of counterintelligence at the CIA. Even more important, at the same time Angleton ran the Israeli desk at the CIA. This desk had been placed under Angleton because of significant intelligence concerns respecting Israel and its intelligence connections to the Soviet Union."
Imagine that, an American Indian (Angleton) comes to the aid of the Israelis. How poetic...and it makes perfect sense when you think about it, no? You do know that the Israelis trusted Angleton more than any other American intel. officer don't you??? When I first found that out, Angleton's stock went way up in my book.
=== Imagine that, an American Indian (Angleton) comes to the aid of the Israelis. How poetic...
Poetic? You mean Ironic?
(When are we gonna give the Indian their land back? =)
A large theme of the book is how Angleton believed Kim Philby (a high level British agent) to be innocent and the guy turned out to be a KGB agent. But Angleton's general angst about the CIA being undermined were proven right when Casey took over.
I had read that Buckley had earlier dissed him. I don't know...I would love to get other Freepers' takes on it.
Nope, I'll stick with poetic.
Ooops...link didn't work. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this makes for one long poem.
The left has spent 60 years lamenting the treatment of Hiss. When will they realize that he got off lucky? He should have been executed or at least imprisoned for a very long time.
Anyone know how to post a picture? I read how to do it, but it wont work for me. Take a look at post #31 and tell me what I am doing wrong! Thanks in advance for anyone kind enough to help me out.
I saw him make his pitch in person in 1974. He stood not more than 6 feet from where I was seated. He was a transparent liar, and spent 50+ years after his conviction lying about his treason in order to disparage the US government.
"I can't believe that there is still any controversy about this. "
Consider the fact that there are also dozens of Communist Parties active in countries around the world.
And that a number of intellectuals still beleive in socialism.
100 million people killed by Communists wasnt enough evidence apparently.
If they lie to themselves about that, believing a lie about hiss is not a hard sell.
"I have a theory about Alger Hiss.
I think that he is a hero to the left not because he was innocent, but precisely because he was guilty. To many on the left, spying for the Soviet Union is a heroic act."
Yep. And also true of the Rosenburgs. All those red diaper babies that went to CUNY and Columbia think they were heros.
What a horrendous waste of resources to have trained officers being used to seed phony information and map out dead drops. You may be giving them false information but you are also giving them a fundamental view of your method of operation. It would require the CIA to give away their MO since deviations in the future would signal a genuine operation. The Russians were notoriously miserly with their agents. Ames got a pittance considering the value of what he gave them. So phony operations would do little to drain their resources. Dangle operations are only a small part of any good intelligence service's efforts. The most important task they perform is collecting Foreign Intelligance, not Counter Intelligence. Angleton can be credited with preventing moles in the CIA, but to accomplish that he dismissed potential agents which later turned out to be genuine. He saw a Moscow provocation in every single volunteer and it is clear now the CIA threw away many good opportunities.
"Angleton can be credited with preventing moles in the CIA, but to accomplish that he dismissed potential agents which later turned out to be genuine."
You mean rehabilitated by Leftist traitors like Colby et al as "genuine."
RE: Angleton, Colby see following link:
Nosenko for one. See link in my previous post.
You may also want to check out this link:
"The Plot to Hijack the CIA"
Nosenko was never proven to be a dangle one way or another. In fact, there are strong indications he was genuine. Furthermore, intelligence services are loathe to turn over a genuine intelligence officer to the opposition. They never really know what is given away.
Correction. He was a victim of the original black-list. The reverse black list was against the communists.
"Nosenko was never proven to be a dangle one way or another. In fact, there are strong indications he was genuine."
Angleton was on to Nosenko, that's one of the reasons the traitor Colby had him fired. Golitsyn also knew Nosenko was a phony. And seeing how 139 (out of 148) of Golitsyn's specific predictions have come true, I'm inclined to go with Golitysn on this one.
"I can't believe that there is still any controversy about this. "
Like Julius and Ethel too, right? But for me, this picture came into sharp focus when I read Coulter's Treason. Here's the reason most folks didn't 'see' the danger: they, like me, went to public, gov't controlled, schools.
Do I overstate? Last weekend, during a church youth function, several youth suddenly started quoting R. Frost. I remember that from my school years too. I didn't like Frost, but absolutely the teachers thought he was the greatest american poet.
He lived a long time, and received, literally, dozens of honorary degrees. He Dad was a newpaper editor, and a delegate to a Democratic National Convention ...; by the time he was 11, Father was dead. Thus, the liberal begins to form, for most liberals have in common one thing: Dad was missing.
Frost gets married in the Swedeborgian church - bascially its unitarian, founded by a swedish unitarian type. He ends up screwing up his family life. His son eventually shoots himself. Frost said every path I took w/ him was the wrong one.
Frost committed up to 3 of his female relatives to state asylums, all three died there.
Frost, at the end visited N. Kruschev in S.Union, and made up quotes like 'america is too liberal to fight'.
In short, he was a typical, screw-up-your-family-and-country liberal .... but I didn't learn a thing about any of this when I went to public school; esp about Frost's church, and the man behind it, that Frost was baptized in. No, pulik sckools didn't see merit in sharing the biographical info...
Nope, he was a 'Great' poet; and the kids going to school today are learning the same thing. "And I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". You sure did you self centered liberal.
What utter, complete S**T!
/rant off ... sorry. Likely a bit to wordy for a post, but oh well...
Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies,.....Or... Joe McCarthy was more right than he ever knew