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VENONA: What my father didn't know
By Alan Caruba
My Father was a subscriber to I.F. Stone's famed newsletter in the 1950s and 60s. Stone was a highly regarded "independent" journalist and his newsletter was always exposing things about Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others who warned against Communist spies and agents of influence. The problem was that I.F. Stone was a Soviet agent of influence, financed by the Kremlin. My Father didn't know that and probably wouldn't have believed it.
He wouldn't have believed that Alger Hiss, a highly placed State Department officer and the first, interim Secretary General of the United Nations, was also a Soviet agent or that Harry Hopkins, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's top advisors, was also an agent. He probably believed the Rosenbergs who helped the Soviets get our A-bomb secrets weren't guilty, but they were. J. Robert Oppenheimer who directed the Manhattan Project that developed the A-bomb gave aid and assistance to the Soviet Union, but he was so revered after the end of the war the government merely took away his security clearance.
The fact is Joe McCarthy was right, but by now his name has been turned into a dirty word by the same liberal, leftist propaganda machine that today is trying to convince Americans the President "lied" to them about Iraq. They had to wait until after the FBI's first director, J. Edgar Hoover, was dead before they dared to slander his reputation.
How do we know this? The answer is "VENONA", the top secret name given to a program to break Soviet codes and read intercepted communications between Moscow and its intelligence stations in the West. The program began in February 1943 by the US Army's Signal Intelligence Service, the forerunner of the National Security Agency. The cables that a small cadre of very young deciphers worked on were initially dispatched between 1940 and 1948, but the effort continued apace from 1947 through 1952, and continued to crack the cable codes right up to 1980.
By the end of VENONA, 2,900 Soviet messages had been translated and the yield in intelligence regarding the way the Communist Party USA, directed entirely by the Kremlin, sought to uncover our secrets and to influence government policies is breathtakingly astonishing. In 1995, VENONA was declassified
We can be grateful to Herbert Romerstein and the late Eric Breindel for making the huge effort to tell the story of this extraordinary cipher-breaking program in their book, The VENONA Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors (Regnery Publishing, $19.95, softcover, 608 pages). This book, in part, documents the revelations in Ann Coulter's current bestseller, Treason. It is based both on the declassified VENONA information and on the archives of the Communist International that were kept in Moscow, as well as the files of other Communist parties in Eastern and Central Europe. They became available to researchers after the fall of the Soviet Union.
So why don't more Americans know about the VENONA project? Ask that question of the liberal mainstream press that, to this day, still slanders the reputation of those brave men who dared to suggest that the Communist Party USA was a threat to this nation and that "McCarthyism" is still the real threat. The truth is, ignoring your real enemies---as we learned on 9-11---is the real threat.
VENONA revealed that US policies were influenced or thwarted because of Americans who were Soviet agents and served high up in our government or were in positions to secure essential wartime information and information that affected our nation's policies during the course of the Cold War. They were quite different from spies who sold out the US for money; they were the true believers in Communism.
Frankly, I doubt my Father fully comprehended the threat of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. I was sure, however, that he bought into every Leftist lie of his day because his day began with The New York Times and included reading The New Republic and even Foreign Affairs, the quarterly of the Council on Foreign Relations. His was a steady diet of propaganda designed to make the dictatorship of the proletariat look like a noble aspiration, a great goal, instead of the enslavement it represented for millions behind the Iron Curtain or subject to it in Red China, North Korea and Cuba.
You shall know the truth and it shall set you free. The truth is, in the 1940s and the decades that followed, the State Department, the US Treasury, the CIO until it expelled some of its unions, and even the US Army, was thoroughly infiltrated by Americans whose loyalty was to the Soviet Union, a nation bent on the destruction of capitalism and the democracy upon which it was based. Ironically, you can thank the Soviet Union for Social Security and for the failure of our present educational system. Both were implemented by Leftists, the latter being based on the former Soviet model.
Hollywood won't tell you that. Instead, you can rent "The Majestic" starring Jim Carrey that includes scenes of a film writer being ruined by the "Red scare" of the 50s. The members of the "Progressive Caucus" in Congress won't tell you that, but they are as Red as they come. The New York Times won't tell you that, but the newspaper's long history of lies is now becoming more widely known.
The VENONA Secrets, however, spells it out and documents it. My father died in 1993. VENONA was declassified two years later. He was a good man, an intelligent, well-read man, but he was wrong about a lot of things. He didn't grasp what vast numbers of ordinary, working Americans instinctively understood. The threat was and the threat still is Communism. And now, add to that enemy, the new one, Islam. Not surprisingly, both use terrorism as their primary tool of conquest and control.
Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", recently published by Merril Press. His column of the same name is posted weekly on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2003
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