M. Stanton Evans Reveals the Truth About McCarthy
HUMAN EVENTS Editors Tom Winter and Allan Ryskind last week interviewed M. Stanton Evans, the author of "Blacklisted by History," at his Washington, D.C., office at the Education and Research Institute, where he was surrounded by stacks of books, archival papers and thousands of FBI files on which so much of his book on Sen. Joseph McCarthy is based. In both the interview and the book, Evans portrays a far different view of the famous Red hunter than what the liberal establishment has worked so hard to have everyone believe.
Evans says that McCarthy’s charges of massive Soviet penetration of our government were actually “understated.”
He accuses Sen. Millard Tydings (D.-Md.) of letting his committee deliberately ignore its chief obligation: to investigate the McCarthy cases. “His [Tydings’] committee covered up the facts and engaged in wholesale deceptions,” says Evans. “McCarthy had the goods, but the fix was in.”
Evans takes on key findings of anti-McCarthy scholars David Oshinsky and Thomas Reeves, who suggest that the senator was bluffing about his charges. Evans insists that famed physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was, indeed, a Communist Party member—contrary to the thesis promoted by the authors of the Pulitzer-prize-winning American Prometheus.
Annie Lee Moss, a black code clerk in the Pentagon, is considered the poster child for those McCarthy allegedly smeared. Evans conclusively demonstrates, however, that she had, indeed, been a Communist Party member.
Evans concentrates much of his fire on the powerful and widespread pro-Red Chinese faction in the U.S. government—a key McCarthy target. Evans says this group played a critical role in bringing down our war-time ally, Chiang Kai-shek. More disturbing, Evans says that the U.S. government actually hatched plans to assassinate Chiang when he was on the Mainland and then plotted to topple him when he escaped to Taiwan.
You must be very pleased with the reception of your book.
M. STANTON EVANS: I’m flabbergasted. I never imagined anything like this happening. I’ve written a lot of books in my time and to write a book about Joe McCarthy and have some of the major media paying attention, I’m not used to that.
Conservatives around the country are very supportive. Ann Coulter has given it a big boost and helped it climb to No. 14 on Amazon.com at one point.
EVANS: It was No. 1 on Amazon under “history,” and Tom Brokaw second. But today I was second and he was first. However, these numbers change pretty rapidly and seem to reflect a lot of media feedback. Ann’s column was a terrific send-off.
One of the print reviews we’ve seen is from Publishers Weekly, and basically the idea was that your book is all old hat.
EVANS: I don’t think that person ever read the book. The review implies that I had written it out of the Soviet archives, which I didn’t, and in so doing, I was reworking old materials. Most of my documentation is from the FBI, and the stuff I have is completely different from other studies of the subject.
You retrieved a sizable amount of new information from the FBI, various historical archives, and you’ve got the papers of Ralph de Toledano and Willard Edwards, both prominent journalists who covered McCarthy’s doings, and you’ve got other relevant materials as well. Why don’t you tell us a little about your treasure-hunting and the mystery of the disappearing documents.
EVANS: We have in our offices about 100,000 pages of FBI files on these cases. I went looking for certain specific information at the FBI and found all this other stuff I had no idea existed. You remember the day-after-day experience of my coming back from the FBI to meet you guys for lunch, trundling this big case full of these documents. I did that for a couple of years and the stuff was just amazing.
A lot of this information, you relate, was known as early as 1945.
EVANS: What happened was that in 1945, Elizabeth Bentley, who’d been a courier for the Communist Party and the Soviet conspiracy and had been working with Communists in the American government, broke with the party, went to the FBI and gave them a tremendous amount of information about the level of Communist infiltration, and the Bureau laid on a huge investigation of the suspects she named. These included Harry Dexter White and Solomon Adler at Treasury and Alger Hiss kind of marginally (although most of Hiss’s activities had been flagged by Whittaker Chambers). There was Robert Miller, a Soviet agent named by Bentley, and many, many other suspects. The FBI followed these people around, wiretapped them, opened their mail, learned everything about them and that’s where these files came from [Evans points to a big stack of files]. The files we have on the Bentley cases alone run to about 50,000 pages. It’s called the Gregory case, which was the FBI’s code name for Bentley.
If you look at these cases, those names, and you look at the State Department security records, some of which I also got from the National Archives, you see it’s the same folks, all leading up to Joe McCarthy’s charges. What was happening was that the FBI was getting the information, funneling it to the State Department security office, which then dealt with these suspects within the department.
Did they do anything about it?
EVANS: Very little. There were subliminal pressures to get people like Hiss and Miller to resign, but the whole thing was kept secret from the public and numerous suspects stayed on the payroll. There was also a lot of internal squabbling that blocked effective action.
What about those disappearing documents you’ve talked about?
EVANS: Even within the FBI, the documents are heavily censored or redacted. Documents from over 60 years ago have stuff blacked out on alleged national security grounds. I have appeals on some of these documents concerning Soviet agents. I doubt that the FBI itself decided to keep this stuff blacked out. What’s being protected? It’s not “national security”—the deletions protect people who were associating with these known espionage agents. I think that’s why this stuff was blacked out.
And then there are the disappearing documents.
EVANS: Yes, the collateral data, the State Department and other records that are in the National Archives. The book opens with an account relating to that.
A document was drafted in the State Department in July 1946 by an official named Samuel Klaus. This indicated that there were then 20 alleged Soviet agents, 13 alleged Communists, about a dozen sympathizers and about 75 suspects in the department, according to the FBI. So you’re talking about more than 100 people in the State Department who were targets of FBI investigation. Klaus wrote this memo, part of which is reproduced in the book, giving these statistics. He also attacked the FBI and its designations. Could the FBI, he wondered, prove that so-and-so was a Communist? How do we know the FBI is correct? And so on.
What happened to this memo?
EVANS: In 1950, McCarthy found out about it and put part of it into the Congressional Record. I don’t know if he had all of it or part of it. But McCarthy stirred up a huge furor about it, putting pressure on the Senate committee investigating the charges, headed by Sen. Millard Tydings [D.-Md.], to request this document from the State Department. A very important piece of information if you’re investigating Communists in the State Department, you would think.
So the committee requests this report, and it is, in fact, delivered. We know this because the letter of transmittal from the State Department, saying, here’s the report, is in the records. The letter is in the archives and in the Tydings appendix. But the report itself is gone.
Every congressional committee that does an investigation has documents, papers and things that it collects in the course of that investigation—the backup to everything it does. These files go to the archives, down at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. There is such a record for the Tydings subcommittee, and I’ve gone through it very carefully several times. This report should be in it, but it’s not.
It is absolutely not there. And there are many other documents that should be there that aren’t.
The other place the Klaus memo ought to be is in the archives of the State Department in College Park, Md., where the papers of Sam Klaus are held. I pulled the papers of Sam Klaus, and this document is listed in the index to these papers. It’s got his name on it: S. Klaus, August 1946. So I pull the box and go to the folder, open it up—and there’s a withdrawal notice. The report was withdrawn from the National Archives in March of 1993.
There was a new President then.
EVANS: Yes, a whole new administration had come to power. There are some initials there, somewhat indecipherable. AB, I think it says. I have no idea who that might have been. Could have been a clerk.
It could be that the person who did this didn’t want to put his or her name on it. Anyway, the memo is twice over absent from the archives, where it ought to be. Why?
What national security interests in 1993 are affected by a document written in 1946? I don’t think there is any doubt that there is no such interest.
Later, I did find the document, first in the FBI files when I wasn’t even looking for it. Because of McCarthy’s interest, the FBI got on the case. There’s a lot of discussion in the FBI records about where did McCarthy get this report?
I have a chapter in my book called, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” where Hoover and other officials in the FBI are discussing this report in McCarthy’s possession, and Hoover is saying, “His sources must be in the State Department because nobody else has such a report.”
Which is an interesting point to note, when people say McCarthy had no sources. Hoover thought he had sources. Still later, after I first found the Klaus report in the FBI files, I found a second copy in Tydings’ personal papers, which also happen to be in College Park, at the University of Maryland.
Were there names in the report?
EVANS: There were some names, but they have been redacted.
What about the index?
EVANS: There is no index, not in the versions I have.
Do you have anyone interested in the Congress who might be willing to help you get the names?
EVANS: Congressman Steve King of Iowa. He has been very diligent and helpful in pursuing these information issues.
You have what you describe as the “back story,” and the back story shines light on the incredible extent of Soviet penetration of our government. Though you’ve touched on it, how extensive was the penetration and how come it was so easy for Communists to rise to such important positions of power?
EVANS: It was very extensive. There were hundreds of Soviet agents or Communists or fellow travelers in our government at one time. The reason they got in so easily was because of the political atmospherics of the Depression years—and even more so of World War II.
We loved the Russians then. They were our noble allies in the war and in that atmosphere, President Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt, a big player in this, and other people, Harry Hopkins and people like that in the White House, in essence said: “We need to get more Communists into our government.”
So they, in effect, recruited Communists. They reinterpreted laws barring Communists, saying: “Hey, he’s just a Communist. A ‘mere member’ of the Communist Party should not be barred from being a radio operator on a merchant vessel or being an officer in the military just because he’s a member of the Communist Party.”
One of the people raising this issue was Adlai Stevenson, who was then an assistant to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. With that attitude, unsurprisingly, a considerable number of Communists got into the government. They particularly got into the agencies thrown together during the war years: the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Office of War Information (OWI) and some others. At the end of the war, these agencies were folded up and thousands of their employees were dumped into the State Department. That’s where the big security problem in the department came from.
Alger Hiss was already at State, but a lot of the others that we know of, like Carl Marzani and Robert Miller and Mary Jane Keeney, were transferees into the State Department toward the conclusion of the war.
And if you look at McCarthy’s cases, and we now have the case names, you can see that the majority of his cases still in the State Department came either from OWI or OSS. That’s the way it worked.
The common view of the penetration of our government was that J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI were really slackers and the President received little information about what the Communists were up to. You reveal that the President received a bunch of incriminating reports about Soviet and Communist mischief from Hoover, many of them as early as 1944 and 1945. And that the Truman Administration basically deep-sixed these reports and covered for the bad guys. Is that basically correct?
EVANS: Yes, Hoover was very strenuous about informing higher-ups about this infiltration and hundreds of reports were sent on people like Alger Hiss and Robert Miller and these other Soviet agents. Beginning in 1945 especially, Hoover sent report after report after report to the White House, the attorney general, the State Department, the Treasury Department. These reports were ignored. In many cases, as noted, the most that ever happened was that someone like Hiss would be pressured to resign. Harry Dexter White got promoted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as did Frank Coe, a Communist who went to the IMF from the Treasury Department. These people were all over the place and almost nothing was done about them and quite often they were promoted and given more responsibilities.
The result was that the security problem, stemming from a vast incursion of these people, was, at best, being dealt with by inches. It could take 12 months to get a guy out and many suspects were never dealt with at all.
Meanwhile, Congress in late ’47 and early ’48 assembled a list of people that the FBI had reported on and the State Department security office had in its records. This was the so-called Lee list, Robert E. Lee being the head of the committee staff that assembled the list of cases. In the midst of hearings on these cases in March 1948, President Truman issued his secrecy order, March 13, 1948, denying all further information about security matters to Congress. Congress did keep plugging away on the Hiss case and the William Remington case, but the info it could come up had to be developed strictly on its own.
How far did Truman’s executive order go?
EVANS: It absolutely prevented any further information, such as State Department security files, from being given to Congress. No exception was made for any department of government, including the FBI, the State Department, the Civil Service Commission, anybody.
Wherever these security records were, they were denied to Congress. There was much complaining about it by Congress at the time, but to no avail.
Two years later, Joe McCarthy came wandering down the pike, found the Lee list cases and blew the lid off. That’s the way it happened.
You mention this part of the cover-up. But there’s the Amerasia aspect and you might at least touch on that.
EVANS: Amerasia was McCarthy’s single biggest case and the single biggest vindication of McCarthy that you could possibly imagine. This was McCarthy’s No. 1 case, both chronologically and in terms of importance.
If you look at what he said about the case and the role of John Service, it’s very clear that McCarthy knew a lot—contrary to the idea that he was just making stuff up. And I think much of it came from the FBI.
John Stewart Service was probably the most important American diplomat in China in the 1940s. The reason for this was that he was able to get up to Yenan, which was the headquarters for the Communists. He went back and forth between Yenan and Chungking, which was the capital under Chiang Kai-shek, our ally and an anti-Communist.
Service had been living in Chungking with not one, but two Soviet agents. One was a Treasury attaché named Solomon Adler, who was a minion of Harry Dexter White, another Soviet agent. The other Soviet agent with whom Service was living—he was living upstairs from Service—was a Chinese official named Chi Chao-ting, a Communist who had infiltrated the Chiang Kai-shek government on behalf of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai. Chi Chao-ting and Solomon Adler were such obvious Communists, such obvious Red agents, that when China fell to communism in 1949, they both went to Beijing—Chi in ’49, Adler a few years later—and went to work for the government and lived their lives out in Communist China.
So, Service, in 1944, is sitting in this house in Chungking with his Soviet agent roommate Adler, concocting reports trashing Chiang as corrupt, despotic, ineffective and a Japanese collaborator and glorifying the Chinese Communists as the only people who were resisting Japan. The clear implication of Service’s and Adler’s dispatches is that we needed to switch horses. We needed to choke off aid to Chiang Kai-shek—Adler proposed this to Harry White—and embrace the Chinese Communists who are the only people fighting Japan, and who are democrats and wonderful people.
This is the poisonous disinformation that’s being fed back to the State Department, the Treasury Department and the White House, where you’ve got another Soviet agent, Lauchlin Currie, sitting at President Roosevelt’s elbow. Currie is also a mentor of Service. So you can see, they really had all the bases covered.
The result was that we did, indeed, cut off aid to Chiang Kai-shek. We did, indeed, strangle him economically, as White and Adler proposed, and we strangled him militarily as well.
One more point on this whole thing. When Chiang was driven off to Formosa in 1949, you conclude that there were numerous American efforts to remove him from power and even an assassination plot.
EVANS: The sequence was the other way around. What happened was that in 1944 when Service and Adler were sending back these toxic dispatches trashing Chiang and saying we needed to get rid of him, Gen. Joseph Stilwell, who was then head of our military forces in the region and for whom Service nominally worked, called in his deputy, Frank Dorn, and said, “Frank, we need to concoct a plan to assassinate Chiang Kai-shek. This has been ordered from on high.” Dorn said the order had come down to Stilwell to make a plan. Not to kill him yet, but to make a plan to do so.
The plan they came up with, according to Dorn, was to sabotage a plane in which Chiang and Madam Chiang would be riding on some kind of diplomatic mission so that it would crash and kill them. But the order to actually kill Chiang never came through. So, as I say in the book, Chiang managed to get through World War II without being murdered by his American allies.
What about Dean Acheson’s role in all this?
EVANS: When aid to Chiang was cut off, Congress got upset about what was happening and voted emergency aid to Chiang in 1948, but that, too, was stalled, until Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg protested and Truman, getting nervous, finally said, “I guess we’d better go ahead” with the aid to Chiang. Acheson then told his people: “It is desirable that shipments be delayed where it is possible to do so without formal action.”
China then falls to the Communists in 1949 and Chiang Kai-shek winds up on Taiwan, about a hundred miles off the coast of Southern China. Immediately, the State Department under Acheson—he became secretary in 1949—starts plotting to have Chiang overthrown by a coup d’état, with U.S. encouragement and assistance. I went back to the archives again and got the State Department documents that show this.
Here’s one of the documents, a memorandum written by Dean Rusk, who, by the way, had been an assistant to Stilwell back in the day when planning was under way to murder Chiang. This is an option memo, but Rusk makes it pretty clear where he stands. They were dealing with a dissident general in the Chinese Army, Sun Li-jen, and this memo says: “The U.S. should inform Sun Li-jen, in the strictest confidence, through a private emissary, that the U.S. government is prepared to furnish the necessary military aid and advice, in the event that he wishes to stage a coup d’etat for the purpose of establishing his military control over the island.”
So, as I indicate in the book, while Acheson said we couldn’t get involved in the affairs of another nation to help Chiang Kai-shek defend Formosa, we could get involved enough to overthrow him.
What role did another McCarthy target, Philip Jessup, play in all this?
EVANS: Jessup was a big part of it. He was a high-ranking State Department official under Acheson and was the principal architect of the White Paper that washed our hands of Chiang. He subsequently became a major target of McCarthy. While all this plotting to overthrow Chiang was going on in Washington, Jessup was out in the Far East casing the joint. He went to Formosa and sent back a report to Acheson which said: “The Gimo’s [Generalissimo’s] house is located quite high in the mountains, but only about a 20-minute drive from the center of Taipei,” which is the capital of Taiwan/Formosa. “There is one pillbox with one sentry among the many curves of the mountain road, and we saw a few soldiers about. But there was no great military presence.”
McCarthy was looking into the case of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the famous American scientist who headed the Manhattan Project in World War II and in the 1950s was denied a top-secret security clearance. But Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, the authors of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on “Oppie,” American Prometheus, claim he was a victim of the “McCarthy period” (their words) and they bluntly said “no” when asked if Oppenheimer was a Communist.
EVANS: The idea that Oppenheimer was some sort of innocent victim is absurd. The FBI had gathered plenty of information on his party status through wiretaps and had him on its “custodial detention” list of people to be picked up in case of a national emergency. In December 1942, the FBI wiretapped a top Soviet agent named Steve Nelson and Bernadette Doyle, organizational secretary of the Communist Party in Alameda County, California, discussing Oppenheimer’s status as a secret member of the party. A May 1943 FBI entry quotes Doyle conversing with another suspected intelligence agent of the USSR, stressing that Oppenheimer and his wife were “comrades.”
There is also a lot of other evidence that I don’t mention in my book, including Haakon Chevalier’s 1964 letter to Oppenheimer beseeching him to admit they had been Communists together—which Chevalier considered a career highlight but Oppenheimer, for some reason, didn’t. Add to this the memoir of Prof. Gordon Griffiths, saying he and Oppie were members of the same Communist cell at the University of California at Berkeley.
On the Bird-Sherwin thesis, Oppenheimer must have fooled all these self-avowed Communists as to his party status—a ridiculous notion on its face.
You make a terrific case against Sen. Millard Tydings, the Maryland Democrat who chaired the committee that investigated the potential security risks McCarthy brought to Tydings’ attention. You write—page 238—that the “Tydings committee managed to clear everybody and everything within shouting distance of McCarthy’s charges.” Explain a bit for our readers.
EVANS: Well, McCarthy presented a whole batch of names to Tydings, corresponding to the anonymous cases McCarthy had previously read out to the Senate.
Tydings claimed all these suspects had been cleared somehow by committees of the Republican-controlled 80th Congress and so were not a problem. This claim, however, was totally false, and I devote a chapter to showing how Tydings and the State Department completely misrepresented the facts about the doings of that Congress and its judgment of the cases.
Tydings thereafter took other cases McCarthy had provided who weren’t on the original list and dismissed these as innocent victims also: Owen Lattimore, Philip Jessup, Gustavo Duran, Haldore Hanson, Esther Brunauer and Dorothy Kenyon. Then there’s the case of Amerasia and diplomat John Service, and the pro-Mao, anti-Chiang material Service and his Soviet agent roommate Adler were sending back from China. When Service came back for visits to the states, he was in contact with still other Soviet agents—including Harry Dexter White at the Treasury and Lauchlin Currie at the White House. Service had a strange habit of hanging out with such people—including his other Soviet agent housemate in China, Chi Chao-ting.
And McCarthy thought this was suspicious.
EVANS: Well, that’s the kind of paranoid he was. Though McCarthy didn’t know everything we now know, it’s clear that he had a pretty good bead on the Service-Adler-Chi connection. In April of ’45, when Service was recalled from China, he took to hanging out with a self-described Communist named Philip Jaffe, editor of the pro-Red Amerasia. Jaffe had numerous meetings with Service in which the returning diplomat shared official papers and other information, the editor interspersing these confabs with still other meetings. These included Communist Party boss Earl Browder, Soviet and Red Chinese officials and Soviet espionage agent Joseph Bernstein.
Having surveilled all of this, the FBI in June 1945 arrested Service, Jaffe and four other people, and impounded about 1,000 official documents the suspects had in their possession, mostly at the Amerasia office.
The bureau also noted that Amerasia had an extensive photographic set-up, although the magazine ran no photos. According to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, it was an “airtight case.” Within days, however, the airtight case was punctured.
Service was let off entirely, while the others got a slight slap on the wrist. All of this was engineered by Lauchlin Currie, Soviet agent in the White House, Thomas Corcoran, a wheeler-dealer from the New Deal and a bunch of people in the Justice Department. They rigged the whole thing to fix the case and free John Service. We know all this because the FBI wiretapped the fixers. I have in my book the transcripts of the wiretaps where the fixers are saying, “We’ve got to get him off.” “Yeah, we’re going to get him off. Don’t worry, Tommy, your man Service, I’ll take care of it”—and they did.
McCarthy made a huge issue of this case that had been buried in 1945, and exhumed it in 1950. That was a major reason McCarthy was so controversial. The administration had thought it had disposed of this whole thing, and now, here was McCarthy, blowing the lid off the felonious cover-up of a major spy case.
And the Tydings committee just dismissed it, right?
EVANS: The Tydings committee looked at this episode and said, “There’s no problem here, the Justice Department did a fine job. There’s no fix.” So they cleared the Justice Department, which was absolutely complicit in the fix, along with all the other clearances.
The Lee list played an important role in the McCarthy drama, in that the senator presented an enhanced version of it to Tydings. Tydings was dismissive of its contents as were anti-McCarthy scholars, such as David Oshinsky and Thomas Reeves. Was the origin of that list and were the names as harmless as many historians have indicated?
EVANS: Certainly not. And if you look at the Oshinsky treatment of this and the Reeves treatment, they quote these innocuous snippets, such as, “He was left of center” or “He was a strong New Dealer.” They make you think McCarthy took this innocuous list of innocents and tried to turn them into security problems. Tydings didn’t go that far, but did indicate the names on the list were harmless.
Now here’s an Oshinsky quote, one of my favorites, picked up from case No. 104: “She entertains both Negroes and whites, both men and women in her apartment.” This wasn’t even a McCarthy case, and was certainly not representative of the list in toto, but it sounds innocuous and so gets quoted.
By way of contrast, here is a Lee list case that neither Oshinsky nor Reeves refers to: “Consideration is still being given this applicant, though he is a known Communist Party member. And a recommendation is made that his brother, who is now employed in the department, be dismissed for security reasons.”
Another one: “The records in the industrial detail of the Chicago Police Department list him as a Communist in 1930.”
Another case: “The subject and her husband are known associates of two suspects in a case of Soviet espionage activity in the United States.”
And still another: “This was a case of an appointment to an important position without a prior security clearance [a former employee of the Soviet Purchasing Commission].”
One of the most amazing aspects of the saga of the Lee list concerns the hearings on the list in 1948 by the House Expenditures Committee. You describe a surreal event starring Illinois Republican Rep. Fred Busbey, a solid anti-Communist, questioning Hamilton Robinson, the State Department official supposedly exploring potential security risks on the Lee list, about Robert Miller, Robinson’s second cousin who was on the Lee list and described by House investigators as probably “the greatest security risk” ever in the department.
EVANS: In 1947, Gen. George C. Marshall, just back from a mission to China, was appointed secretary of State. Marshall asked Dean Acheson to stay on and run the internal workings of State for him.
On the first day of the Marshall era at State, Acheson fires the relatively hard-line security czar, J. Anthony Panuch, and puts in his own appointee, John Peurifoy. The guy you mentioned, Hamilton Robinson, is then picked to do the actual work of handling all these security cases.
And it turns out, as you note, that Robinson is the second cousin and good friend of Robert Miller, who was an identified Soviet agent! Soviet courier Elizabeth Bentley, who defected and gave invaluable information to the FBI, had named Miller as a Soviet agent and FBI surveillance confirmed his innumerable Red connections. His name is all over these FBI reports.
Hamilton Robinson is called in by the House committee looking at the Lee list, where Miller’s name appears, and Busbey brings out the connection between Robinson and Miller. Robinson goes into high dudgeon, saying: “I resent this, I’ve had almost nothing to do with this man for years. Yes, I knew him, but … ” He gives this long, fuzzy answer, leaving the impression that the connection is ancient history.
The FBI, however, knew it wasn’t ancient history. The FBI had wiretapped identified Soviet agent Miller talking to Robinson on Feb. 10, 1947—just three days before Robinson’s appointment to his new seccurity job—setting up a luncheon engagement..
They go to lunch, now under physical surveillance, on Feb. 12, 1947—the very day before Robinson’s appointment. They go off to Wearley’s Seafood Restaurant on 12th street, N.W., and they hang out for a couple of hours and get back around 2:05 p.m. This is all in the FBI records.
Peurifoy pulled the same stunt, pretending he didn’t know anything about Miller. The FBI wiretaps showed otherwise, including the fact that Rowena Rommel, a buddy of Miller’s and one of McCarthy’s cases, was talking to Miller and said, “I talked to Jack Peurifoy about your case and he was upset.” The Bureau taped another conversation, with Miller calling Peurifoy directly. According to the Bureau record of this talk, Puerifoy was trying to help Miller with his problems as he was being pressured out of the State Department in late 1946. So Puerifoy was also putting on an act, leading the committee to believe he was completely ignorant of the Miller case when he obviously knew a lot about it.
What about McCarthy’s flaws?
EVANS: I must say I was a little bit surprised to find that he was less flawed than even I had imagined.
What was most amazing to me, after getting into these FBI files, was all this information he was sharing with the FBI. I have a chapter titled, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” which shows he was constantly feeding information to the FBI and spotlighting cases to the Bureau.
He knew a lot more than he ever let on in public. He was not overstating what he knew, he was understating it.
What about McCarthy’s ruining the lives of innocent people?
EVANS: Who are these innocent people? My response is: “Name one.” His critics have a hard time naming one, and when they do, the suspect turns out not to be so innocent. A case that is usually cited is that of Annie Lee Moss. But McCarthy was right about Mrs. Moss.
You may not think she’s innocent, but journalists and historians keep insisting otherwise. George Clooney made a picture featuring her and making the viewer think she was innocent. The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz assailed Ann Coulter for going after Moss. So why not elaborate a bit on what you found?
EVANS: Annie Lee Moss was a black woman who worked for the Army as a code clerk in the Pentagon. She was identified by an undercover agent of the FBI as a member of the Communist Party. Moss denied it, the Democrats sprang to her defense and she has been treated ever since as an innocent victim of McCarthy.
She was, in fact, a Communist. I reproduce part of the FBI file on her that shows this. The FBI had the records that proved she was a party member.
The conventional version is that there were three different Annie Lee Mosses and that McCarthy had accused the wrong one of being a Communist. But that claim was just plain false. The FBI record further shows that the Army itself had been trying to get rid of Mrs. Moss as a security risk throughout 1951, but somebody up at the top had mysteriously cleared her despite this.