November 15, 2007

George Koval and Joe McCarthy

Just this weekend, we poor dumb Americans finally learned for the first time about one of the most important Soviet atomic bomb spies: George Koval, a GRU-trained agent who penetrated the Oak Ridge and Dayton atomic bomb manufacturing plants, then fled back to the Soviet Union in, apparently, 1948.

The U.S. government interviewed people who knew him, but then swore them to secrecy. In other words, there was a U.S. government cover-up of this horrific breach of security that lasted for over half a century until this month, according to the NYT:

"On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir V. Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb."

And, it seems highly likely that Koval's handler or handlers within our government are still being covered up for. So, is it time to rewrite the history of the McCarthy Era as well?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

chrysoperil said...

It's remarkable how well the campaign to demonize McCarthy succeeded. On one side there were people who wanted Stalinism in the US, with all that that would have entailed in mass murder, torture and pulverizing of liberty; on the other there was someone trying to stop them. And who was smeared as the dangerous un-American lunatic? Koval fits one of those important ethnic patterns that we are just not supposed to see or comment on. It may be the most important ethnic pattern of all:

Britain supplied Israel with plutonium during Harold Wilson's government, despite a warning from British intelligence that the material could help Israel get the atom bomb. But it was done without ministers' knowledge, by a civil servant in Tony Benn's Ministry of Technology, Michael Michaels, whose full name was Michael Israel Michaels.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4791182.stm

dumb-dumb said...

I wonder why Putin decided to make it a priority right now.

Anonymous said...

The McCarthy era has already required much rewriting, at least for those who have an open mind about it, which excludes most hardcore leftists, as well as some aging liberals who have reached the age where they no longer feel the need to update their views. For such individuals, the only thing you need to know about Communism is McCarthyism. The declassification of the Venona project in the mid-1990s and other revelations from Soviet archives have confirmed the identity of numerous spies, suspected and not. I doubt that the USG was merely going on "interviews"--they possibly had Venona decrypts that pointed in the general direction of Koval, and then were able to narrow it down to him through other evidence. One of the historians quoted, John Earl Haynes, is an expert on Venona, and he might be able to figure it out.

In the end, McCarthy was still a buffoon, and anti-communism suffered for his recklessness. The tragedy of cases like this is that secrecy overkill allowed the misperceptions growing out of that era to fester for so long.

Hawnky

dearieme said...

I've suggested before that "McCarthyism" be reserved to mean "the phenomenon of being right by fluke; of having been right without having had relevant evidence". There's surely no doubt that the loathsome fellow was right in his gist, however inaccurate he was in detail. Of course, if someone shows that he did have decent evidence, and was right in detail, I'd have to withdraw my suggestion.

daveg said...

I have been told that many of the non-jewish spys back in the 50's were gay.

Is that true?

RobertHume said...

Can anyone comment on why Klaus Fuchs was fully disclosed but Koval was not? I don't know quite enough of the history to compare with confidence. I don't think it could be purely ethnicity since the Rosenbergs, etc. were well prosecuted.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

Wow, did Putin catch our government off guard, or what? And he does this at about the same time he lets us know that, "uh, by the way, I'm dictator for life. I might have forgotten to mention that."
Ominous. Can we get Gorby back?

Robert said...

M. Stanton Evans has a new book coming out about McCarthy. Evans is scheduled to talk about his book on BookTV this weekend.

http://tinyurl.com/2f3dwo

Maybe the paperback edition will include a chapter on Geroge Koval.

Bill said...

I have been told that many of the non-jewish spys back in the 50's were gay.

Is that true?

-daveg


Very much so. One of the perks was getting hand-picked gay lovers when they defected.

Wow, did Putin catch our government off guard, or what?

-Jim O'Sullivan


This was a very provocative gesture. He's sticking his finger in the eye of the American intelligence establishment, showing them who's boss.

What are they going to do about it? Not much they can do, and he won't let them forget it, because their own dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs works to his advantage.

Putin is a vastly more capable and sophisticated leader than Bush.

Robert said...

Speaking of BookTV, there is an other book there that you might find interesting, Steve.

"The Mexican Mafia" by Tony Rafael

http://tinyurl.com/ypbt5z

Chaim said...

"Putin is a vastly more capable and sophisticated leader than Bush."

I'm not sure that Putin's handling of foreign policy (Chechnya) or terrorism has been more capable or sophisticated than Bush's. On domestic policy and politics, Putin has some advantages Bush doesn't:

1) Russia is a net oil exporter, and oil prices have gone through the roof in recent years, making Russia flush with cash.

2) Putin's party controls the major Russian media, so they don't give him a hard time (and the occasional one who does -- like Anna whatever her name was -- ends up dead).

3) Bush can't do anything when a pesky Jewish billionaire (George Soros) opposes him politically; Putin sent his (Khodorkovsky) to Siberia.

4) Putin has Western Europe over a barrel because they are dependent on his natural gas exports to keep the heat on in the winter; Bush has no such leverage with them.

Evil Neocon said...

Chrysoperil --

The REAL reason that Britain and France both helped Israel with their nuclear program was: sticking a finger in Ike's eye after Suez, and lingering desires to have influence in the region in a European-Israeli alliance.

Later both nations "switched" over to the Arab side, but that was after the Six Day War and the growth domestically of the hard left.

Churchill for one was a strong advocate of Israel and favored them over the Arabs who he despised from his youth onwards. The Gaullists of course hated Israel and Jews but Socialist and Socialist-light ministers in his government tended to undercut his policies, often just out of visceral dislike for De Gaulle.

What is interesting about the spies of the Atomic Age is how those of Jewish background sought to expunge their Jewish identity in favor of a Communist one. They should not be thought of as Jews but rather former Jews who converted to a new religion, Communism, where they sought advantages like many converts. Communism as a religion had many attractions, among them the idea that former religious affiliations would not matter and ex-Jews would be protected under the Communist Utopia.

Naturally, the ex-Jews found out that this was not so, Stalin was at least as anti-Semitic as Hitler (though marginally smarter and certainly more stable a psychopath). Stalin had his own Final Solution planned out with "the Doctor's Plot" but saner heads or perhaps fate prevailed and he was soon dead.

As for Putin, like all total tyrants he must fear his successors or ambitious younger men who seek his throne. GWB can and will retire comfortably to obscurity as most Presidents do. Putin will in turn live just exactly as long as he holds absolute power and is lucky. Not a minute longer.

tommy said...

I'm not sure that Putin's handling of foreign policy (Chechnya) or terrorism has been more capable or sophisticated than Bush's. On domestic policy and politics, Putin has some advantages Bush doesn't:

One other advantage is that Putin isn't hamstrung by many human rights considerations when waging his wars. He has been merciless with the Chechens. We could never get away with that.

Anony-mouse said...

If Koval fled to the USSR in 1948 this precedes the McCarthy era completely. McCarthy wasn't a senator before January 1947 and didn't make a name for himself until 1950.

I suspect whoever the Government interviewed after Koval fled spent most of their talking in full CYA mode, not quite conducive to finding out anything (too bad waterboarding wasn't around then).

Most of our info about actual Communists in the Government came fron the Venona transcripts. Approx 2/3 of the people mentioned in them have yet to be identified.

airtommy said...

The reason "McCarthyism" remains a dirty word to this day is because McCarthy fostered incorrect sentiments like this:

On one side there were people who wanted Stalinism in the US, with all that that would have entailed in mass murder, torture and pulverizing of liberty; on the other there was someone trying to stop them.

airtommy said...

One other advantage is that Putin isn't hamstrung by many human rights considerations when waging his wars. He has been merciless with the Chechens. We could never get away with that.

And that's precisely why America has no war with Islamists. We easily integrate Muslims into our society. We have no Chechnya, no terrorism, and never will regardless of how hard the Neocons try to generate hatred.

chrysoperil said...

evil neocon --

The REAL reason that Britain and France both helped Israel with their nuclear program was: sticking a finger in Ike's eye after Suez, and lingering desires to have influence in the region in a European-Israeli alliance.

That's an odd definition of "Britain" you're using there: "...it was done without ministers' knowledge, by a civil servant in Tony Benn's Ministry of Technology, Michael Michaels, whose full name was Michael Israel Michaels."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4791182.stm

Communism as a religion had many attractions, among them the idea that former religious affiliations would not matter and ex-Jews would be protected under the Communist Utopia.

So they thought communism was "best for Jews". When it turned out not to be, they abandoned it. So they hadn't discarded their Jewish identity after all.

Airtommy --

You call the sentiment incorrect without demonstrating how.

David Davenport said...

We easily integrate Muslims into our society. ...

That is a lie.

get those reds said...

"Most of our info about actual Communists in the Government came fron the Venona transcripts. Approx 2/3 of the people mentioned in them have yet to be identified."

Maybe we already know, Mouse. Though I have yet to begin the research, I'm eagerly awaiting my first book on communist infiltrators. And I suspect that the actions of past politicians and bureaucrats will pretty much scream out the identities of the other 2/3.

Svigor said...

What is interesting about the spies of the Atomic Age is how those of Jewish background sought to expunge their Jewish identity in favor of a Communist one. They should not be thought of as Jews but rather former Jews who converted to a new religion, Communism, where they sought advantages like many converts. Communism as a religion had many attractions, among them the idea that former religious affiliations would not matter and ex-Jews would be protected under the Communist Utopia.

Translation: Jews should not have to own up to their "bad eggs" the way every other group has to own up to theirs. The "bad eggs" aren't "real jews."

Svigor said...

The reason "McCarthyism" remains a dirty word to this day is because McCarthy fostered incorrect sentiments like this

No, McCarthyism still has a bad rap for the same reason Hitler gets all the press, and the far more dangerous Commie dictators get practically none - raw power.

It's the same reason the left is the mainstream now. Raw power is the beginning and the end of it. All the endless yakking about ideology and principle and position is for the suckers.

JC said...

"No, McCarthyism still has a bad rap for the same reason Hitler gets all the press, and the far more dangerous Commie dictators get practically none - raw power."

Do you remember movies about the dangerous Commies like Red Dawn, or the great miniseries Amerika, which both showed America getting taken over by the Soviets? During the Cold War (particularly the last decade of it) Commies got a lot of negative media attention.

Baby Boomers have run America for decades though, and -- partly due to their guilt over their draft dodging during Vietnam -- they sought to glorify and mythologize the WWII "Greatest Generation". It's hard to do that if you put the spotlight on our ally in that war, Stalin.

Svigor said...

Jc, you've named two whole movies. That constitutes an exception, not a rule.

There are hundreds of holocaust flicks. How many movies are there about the gulags? The holodomor?

TCO said...

McCarthyism gets a bad rap because he wasn't able to back up his assedrtions. Because he claimed to have big secrets to reveal, then could not deliver the goods. It's a different situation than if he had said, I suspect huge problems but can't prove it. But Joe said he had the hard evidence. And he lied. He didn't have it.