The death of Sen. Edward M. “Teddy” Kennedy this week marks the end of an American political era colored in crayon by the media-generated notion of American royalty. Ted Kennedy will be laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, the last of the three Kennedy brothers who once dominated the American political landscape, and the only one of the four Kennedy brothers to live to see his fifties.
As his fellow liberals attempt to shove the national takeover of health care through Congress, even suggesting renaming the bill after Kennedy in a memorial tribute, it becomes urgent to set aside the perfunctory kind words one usually says about the departed — regardless of truth. A whitewash of Kennedy’s history cannot be used as an emotional power play to push through government-run health care in his “honor.”
I will not belabor the story of Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman left behind in her own water torture at the hands of the late senator. That particular miscarriage of justice has come to mind for many as we all heard of Kennedy’s death this week and has even been reported as part of his sordid legacy by a few media outlets.
But Kennedy’s private outreach to the KGB Soviet intelligence agency in attempts to undermine first President Jimmy Carter then President Ronald Reagan say as much as Chappaquiddick did about the man who appeared to have no moral restraints whatsoever on his personal pursuit of raw political power.
Documents found in Soviet archives after the fall of the Iron Curtain revealed a great deal about the character of Ted Kennedy.
As HUMAN EVENTS first reported on December 8, 2003:
One of the documents, a KGB report to bosses in the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee, revealed that “In 1978, American Sen. Edward Kennedy requested the assistance of the KGB to establish a relationship” between the Soviet apparatus and a firm owned by former Sen. John Tunney (D-Ca.). KGB recommended that they be permitted to do this because Tunney’s firm was already connected with a KGB agent in France named David Karr. This document was found by the knowledgeable Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats and published in Moscow’s Izvestia in June 1992.
Another KGB report to their bosses revealed that on March 5, 1980, John Tunney met with the KGB in Moscow on behalf of Sen. Kennedy. Tunney expressed Kennedy’s opinion that “nonsense about ‘the Soviet military threat’ and Soviet ambitions for military expansion in the Persian Gulf… was being fueled by [President Jimmy] Carter, [National Security Advisor Zbigniew] Brzezinski, the Pentagon and the military industrial complex.”
Kennedy offered to speak out against President Carter on Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter he made public speeches opposing President Carter on this issue. This document was found in KGB archives by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a courageous KGB officer, who copied documents from the files and then defected to the West. He wrote about this document in a February 2002 paper on Afghanistan that he released through the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, found contemporaneous KGB documentation and published a story in February of 1992 of an additional communiqué by Ted Kennedy to the Soviet intelligence agency through Tunney. Full text of the letter from the appendix of Paul Kengor’s book The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism can be found here.
This time it was President Reagan in Kennedy’s crosshairs as he attempted to arrange a meeting between Kennedy and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Yuri Andropov.
In this May 14, 1983, letter written by underling Viktor Chebrikov to Andropov, he relayed Kennedy’s offer to meet, Chebrikov explaining that Kennedy blamed poor American-Soviet relations not on the Communist country, but on President Reagan. According to Chebrikov’s letter, Kennedy said he wanted to stop Reagan’s re-election effort in 1984.
Chebrikov’s letter also claimed that Kennedy was “very impressed” with Andropov and that Kennedy was reaching out to the Soviets to thwart Reagan’s forceful defense policies. Kennedy suggested the Soviets reach out specifically to Barbara Walters and Walter Cronkite to counter in the American media what he said Kennedy considered Reagan “propaganda.”
Chebrikov’s letter to Andropov also stated that Kennedy himself had offered to travel to Moscow to meet with Andropov if he would extend an invitation.
These revelations reported in 1992 suggest insight into a man so obsessed with the acquisition of personal political power that he would reach out to the communist Soviet Union for help in undermining not one but two American presidents, one from his own political party.
Kennedy’s strong support for the government takeover of health care and the effort to pass this legislation in memorial tribute fails to warrant a second glance.
Rep. Smith Prompts Senate Judiciary to Stop Perez Nomination
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested in a letter to Senate colleagues yesterday that they place a hold on the nomination of Tom Perez to be Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. Smith requested the delay of the confirmation process until the Justice Department provides Congress with sufficient information regarding the sudden dismissal of a case alleging voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party on Election Day 2008.
According to Smith, the Justice Department’s response to Congress was “overly vague, raising concerns about possible political interference in this case… If the Department’s political appointees applied pressure to career attorneys to dismiss this case, then they have committed an offense that undermines every American’s right to choose their elected officials.”