The Tea Party/CNN debate was much better than the one sponsored by NBC and Politico, in terms of giving all of the candidates a fair chance to express their views, but some critical issues are still being neglected. One of them, internal security, did come up during the Ames debate sponsored by Fox News and The Washington Examiner, when Newt Gingrich was challenged on his view that people working for the U.S. government should be subjected to a loyalty test. His comments about the need to fix the internal security system in the U.S. were met with vigorous applause and, more importantly, were factually correct.
What we now need from the press is some important follow-up on the subject. For example, why do we have a system of nominating and electing presidents that enables candidates to escape a loyalty test or background check for the highest federal office in the land? How do we know that President Obama, who was mentored by a communist while he was growing up in Hawaii, is trustworthy with the state secrets of the United States? And how does a self-admitted communist such as Van Jones get nominated and placed in a top federal job?
Gingrich said the following: “Now, we had, after all, a Catholic head of counterespionage for the FBI who turned out to be a Soviet spy. We’ve had a Cuban-American refugee who turned out to be a major Cuban spy for over 20 years on behalf of Castro.
“My point was, there is nothing illegitimate about seeking to make sure that people are loyal to the United States if they work for the government of the United States. And I was responding to this insane moment where the New York Times [Square] attempted bomber, the guy who built the car bomb from Pakistan, was asked by the judge, who said to him, ‘But you swore an oath of loyalty to the United States.’ And he said to the judge, ‘I am your enemy. I lied.’
“And the judge seemed mystified at the idea that somebody would have lied. And my point is, we now know, for example, from the Venona papers and others there really were communist spies. And I would suggest to you we need security provisions across the board to ensure that those Americans and the American government are loyal to the United States. (APPLAUSE).”
Keen observers of national security recognized Gingrich’s reference to the Soviet/Russian mole in the FBI as Robert Hanssen. Gingrich, a Catholic himself, mentioned Hanssen’s Catholicism in order to make the point that moles can be difficult to uncover and they conceal their activities. The Castro spy he was talking about was Ana Montes, a former senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. His minor error was in describing her as Cuban-American; she was in fact of Puerto Rican descent. She admitted spying for Castro for 16 years.
His point about the Times Square bomber was also on target. The District Judge did ask the Pakistan-born bomber, Faisal Shahzad, if he had not sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen. His response was, “I did swear but I did not mean it.”
Gingrich’s reference to Venona concerned the decoded telegrams between Soviet spies in the U.S. and their superiors in Moscow showing that about 350 Americans conspired with or spied for the Soviet Union. John Earl Haynes, who with Harvey Klehr has written two books on Moscow’s ties to the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), has said many of them were members of the CPUSA and that several Soviet spy rings were operating throughout the U.S. government. Members of the communist networks included Laughlin Currie, an adviser to FDR, and Harry Dexter White, assistant secretary of the Treasury.
Gingrich had made a reference to these matters in a previous debate sponsored by CNN and held on June 13 in New Hampshire. “Now, I just want to go out on a limb here,” said Gingrich. “I’m in favor of saying to people, if you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period. We did this—we did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists. And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, you know, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.”
While the major media did not rebut or attempt to counter what Gingrich had said, it is significant that a blog associated with the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) attacked the former House Speaker for bringing back the “Red Scare.” Incredibly, the writer cited singer Paul Robeson as an innocent victim of this period. Robeson, an advocate for Soviet mass murderer Joseph Stalin, had concealed his CPUSA membership and refused to cooperate with congressional committees investigating the communist threat. It is strange indeed that CAP would go to his defense.
The writer went on, “Widely considered a dark period of hyperbolic zealotry in American history, it is astounding the former House speaker—a historian himself—would voluntarily espouse this unbridled paranoia as ‘gutsy,’ let alone appropriate. No stranger to whipping up public paranoia over his perceived infiltration of an outside threat like radical Islam, Gingrich now looks less like a president and more like a senator. Specifically, Sen. Joseph McCarthy.”
As the Venona messages cited by Gingrich demonstrate, the problem was much worse than even McCarthy imagined. Perhaps it is because Gingrich has an appreciation of history that he understands that the threat posed by communism was real, and that the threat posed by radical Islam is every bit as real.
CAP, of course, is the organization that recently produced a lengthy report, “Fear Inc.,” attacking conservatives who alert the American public to the dangers of radical Muslims infiltrating and manipulating the political process in the U.S. CAP is run by John Podesta, a former top Clinton aide who co-chaired Obama’s presidential transition team.
The CAP report was heavily covered by such outlets as Al-Jazeera and Iranian Press TV.
But the relationship goes much deeper than that. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, has actually appeared on the Iranian government-funded propaganda channel to suggest that more cuts in the U.S. defense budget should be “on the table.”
It is a sign of our troubling times that a figure such as Korb would collaborate with the Iranian regime’s propaganda apparatus and that the major media would not ask any questions. That is why Gingrich’s lessons of history are so important and why they must be addressed in the debates.
With the media trying to winnow the GOP field, effectively forcing Gingrich and others out of the race, one of the most important problems facing the U.S. may not get the attention it deserves.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.