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Belmont Club

The Founding Fathers and Counterintelligence

October 6th, 2013 - 3:02 pm

I read Spyridon Mitsotakis’ article in PJMedia describing the Egyptian disinformation campaign in the lead-up to the Yom Kippur war of 1973 just after finishing Ed Epstein’s JFK Assassination Diary, his personal account of how he was drawn into reporting one the greatest whodunnits of the 20th century. The parallels between the two are striking but subtle.

What connects the two articles together is Russia, formerly known as the Soviet Union and the art of disinformation.  Strategic lying figures prominently in both accounts. Mitsotakis argued that Egypt and the USSR faked a falling out between themselves in order to lull Israel and the West into thinking that no war was possible, for no one would believe that Sadat would go it alone.

Using disinformation and influence agents like Victor Louis and Armand Hammer, the Soviets were able to dupe Israel and its allies into believing that Israel was in no danger. Meanwhile, they were preparing for the “military solution” that Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad had pushed for.

Here was no mere tactical deception. The Egyptians and the Soviets manufactured a whole bogus world view and gained an advantage that almost ended the state of Israel. The small lie rarely succeeds. The Big Lie always has a much bigger chance.

The direct parallel in the JFK saga was the role played by Yuri Nosenko, the Soviet defector who conveniently came to hand in the aftermath of that Day in Dallas to reassure the CIA that they played no part in grooming, training or directing Oswald. The deepest mystery in that whole convoluted conspiracy was why: why the Soviets took the trouble to painstakingly establish Nosenko; why they sent him across with the message the Sovs had nothing to do with nothing. But the biggest mystery as Epstein subsequently discovered, was not the bona fides of Nosenko.  What troubled CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton was something much subtler: the question of who was confirming Nosenko’s story within the US intelligence agencies to lend him credibility, who was providing the “feedback” that made the agencies willing to swallow the line being fed to them by the Soviet defector.

For some in the CIA and FBI at least, the JFK assassination turned into the Hunt of the Great Soviet Mole, the search for the inside man responsible for “buying” the disinformation that the Russians were selling.

Hunting the Great Soviet Mole turned out to be a career ending move for Angleton and a host of others, Epstein learned from the men he interviewed. Anyone who reads the JFK Assassination Diary hoping to find answers to that day in Dallas will be disappointed. After reviewing his diaries, combing his notes and following clues that no one had the time to run down in the hectic days of the investigation, Ed Epstein is still left with more mysteries than solutions.

Yet his efforts are not wholly in vain. For upon reflection the answer to the identity of the Great Oz pulling strings behind the curtain for the Soviets in DC is self-evident. It is Moscow itself through a system of influence, not simply a single individual. The Great Mole sought by Angleton, whoever he might have been, is probably long dead. But the Great Mole as a system must have had successors, for they worked their magic in 1973, Mitsotakis argued, in time to fool the Washington and Israel over Yom Kippur.

In fact, the system of influence may even be in business today, what with Barack Obama pondering a nuclear deal with the Iranians, convinced the Ayatollahs have turned a new leaf; now our worthy partners for peace; a conclusion of course not in the slightest concocted by the Russians, or anyone else so we are told.

But maybe though the singers change the song remains the same. If you want to sell a disinformation ditty in Washington, the Russians/Soviets have learned that you don’t go knocking on the doors of the intelligence professionals who are paid and trained to cynical, suspicious and careful. You go to their vain, ignorant and greedy political masters to peddle the Legend. You don’t try to get past Angleton, you go straight to the pols. For if one were to characterize the susceptibility of DC it would be tough in the middle and soft at the top.

It was not always so.  Though it is rarely recalled the founding fathers were talented counterintelligence operatives themselves; people who successfully conspired against and ultimately defeated the secret service of the greatest power of the day: Britain. The American revolution was manifestly very hard at the top.

Before the outbreak of the Revolution, the American colonial government, the Continental Congress, created the Committee of Correspondence in 1775. The purpose of the committee was to establish foreign alliances and gain the aid of foreign intelligence resources. The original intent of the committee was to facilitate the sharing of information about British colonial policy, but at the start of the Revolution, the Committee seized and combed mail for vital intelligence information. The organization was renamed the Committee of Secret Correspondence, and then the Committee of Foreign Affairs, and employed trusted Patriot sympathizers in Britain to feed American leaders intelligence information. After establishing protocol for obtaining information, the committee established a network of couriers to disperse information to battlefield commanders and key government officials. The committee also sought the aid of French forces in the war effort.

The Second Continental Congress also established the Secret Committee. This clandestine committee arranged for American privateers to purchase and smuggle arms to the United States. The committee used large sums of money to pay for weapons, and additionally solicited aid from Britain’s numerous European rivals. The world of the Secret Committee began in 1775, amassing weapons while still under British rule. After the Declaration of Independence was signed, the committee burned its papers and transaction ledgers to protect their contacts in case the colonies lost their bid for sovereignty.

The smuggling of weapons proved a successful venture. The United States armed its troops within months, although supplies remained limited throughout the course of the war. Many American leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, ran successful privateering ventures, using their wealth and diplomatic contacts abroad to smuggle arms for the war effort. American privateers ran their illegal cargo through the British blockade under the guise of foreign named vessels and foreign flags. Patriot spies also learned the new British semaphore code, enabling blockade runners to falsely identify themselves as British ships.

The first United States counterintelligence operations were directed by the Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies. The commission endowed several groups, mostly in New York and Philadelphia, with the task of apprehending British spies. The organization was the nation’s first secret service, employing local militia under its command to help ferret out suspected traitors and enemy spies. The group used the criteria defined by the Committee on Spies when identifying, trying, and sentencing suspects. The rules of the committee, incorporated into the Articles of War in 1776, defined the crimes of treason and espionage during the course of war, and shaped the American intelligence community with its strict definitions of intelligence information, espionage acts, conspiracy, and aiding the enemy.

By comparison to the Founders many of today’s political elites are rank fools; the placemen for special sexual pleadings, political hacks promoted into power who vote on instruction or “activists” have never managed an organization or held a normal job in their lives. They are incompetent, soft targets, dead meat for the Russians/Ayatollahs/KSA/ISI — more apt to be played than to play.

The decline in toughness at the top and the proliferation of mediocrity is due mostly to the gradual destruction of the most effective counterintelligence provisions of the constitution: the system of checks and balances and the turnover of public officials built into the system. These two features made the Republic enormously resistant to subversion because it reduced the possibility of unfaithfulness by the agent (government) to the principal (the voter).

For as long as Congress turned over and no political dynasties emerged the attitudes of America’s government would closely mirror the attitudes of constituents. There would be no one at the top, neither person nor faction, to provide “feedback” to a sent agent of disinformation because the formation of such a subversive elite was itself difficult. But as time passed, Washington no longer turned over. It petrified into the ossified club it has become today; easy to subvert by anyone with the money and smarts to do it. As Storming the Castle puts it, Washington is Hotel California. Once in, you never have to check out.

In a 2009 article for The Journal of Politics, John Friedman of UCLA Berkeley and Richard Holden of the MIT Sloan School of Management said that “the probability that an incumbent in the US House of Representatives is re-elected has risen dramatically over the last half-century; it now stands at nearly 95% .. conditional on running”. … In an article titled “Pyongyang on the Potomac”, The Economist said Congressional re-election rates compared favorably with rubber-stamp elections in totalitarian countries

And this is enormously useful to attackers because the Great and the Good defend each other with a tenacity that makes the Public School connection in Britain seem weak by comparison. The Great Soviet Mole may not have been a single person or even group of persons. Rather it collectively constituted a class whose first instinct was to protect their turf rather than find the truth. Maybe the Russians sent Nosenko knowing that Washington would want to believe him, just as the administration now wants to believe Iran is our pen-pal for peace. It might be true, but is it true? Perhaps most interesting thing about Ed Epstein’s JFK Assassination Diary isn’t its portrayal of the Kennedy investigation, but its depiction of the Great DC Fact Machine; how Washington from the 1960s onward reacted to it. They wanted to believe Nosenko and so they believed.

It almost makes you wonder whether Angleton was right, only much more correct than even he could possibly imagine.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
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Top Rated Comments   
If Americans reclaim the overseas national cemeteries then who would stop them? Would the French gendarmes move in and arrest the protestors? What should they call themselves? How about Occupy?

In his "History of the Russian Revolution" Leon Trotsky movingly describes the critical moment when the cossacks allowed the protestors to crawl under the horses bellies to safety instead of killing them. When will state local and federal LEOs, most of whom are decent people, refuse to obey improper orders?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The sad disillusionment of Greenpeace at their treatment in Russian jails recalls the shock of Oh Kil-nam ( the South Korean economist, who convinced by his leftist friends and professors that North Korea was a worker's paradise, defected there with his family (in part because they were promised "free health care") only to discover that it was all a lie.

His wife, who went unwillingly in the first place, told him to escape when they took him abroad to lure other South Koreans to their doom. She told him he could not ruin the lives of others as he had ruined theirs. So the guy ran for it and left his wife and daughters to die in the Gulag and they have not been seen since. He keeps asking the UN to "help him" get his family out.

If it weren't so tragic it would be funny. So Greenpeace actually thought they had nonsmoking sections in Russian jails and got fed vegan food. What planet are they on? And yet they "know better" than us all. They are more enlightened than us all. The fact is, they don't know squat, but they don't know they don't know squat. There's a moral in there somewhere.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You don't have to go back to the American Revolution to find intelligent patriotic leaders. I am currently reading "Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey: From the OSS to the CIA," by John Persico. I am continually astonished by the caliber Reagan surrounded himself with - Shultz, Weinberger, Lehman, Baker, etc., Compare that crowd to this one. As Machiavelli once said, you can judge a prince by those he surrounds himself with.

What I do find troubling with regards to the CIA concerns leaks, especially the leaks that came out during G.W. Bush's terms. They were not just damaging to the President, but to the whole country - e.g. Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons being put on hold as but one example.

Now we are into Obama's 2nd term, where are the damaging leaks? It shocks me that few have made their way out when you know they are probably a lot more shocking and dangerous to our country. Has the CIA been that corrupted by the left that damaging leaks only seem to come out to harm Republican presidencies?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (60)
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The choice is do we want East Germany, west Germany, or America. The idiocracy is winning the war and the battles.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
From Ace of Spades HQ

Arrested veterans sitting in the back of the police car because they would not leave the war memorial

Panic is setting in. We have the early stages of a preference cascade. Re-double your efforts.

We are winning.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are seeing a lot of evidence of overreach on the part of the Obama Admin. “Closed Due to the Govt Shutdown” has been used to ridiculous lengths, far beyond anything seen in previous shutdowns. People who have houses on leased govt land can’t even go home.

This is standard DC hardball tactics – that usually never make it outside the Beltway – applying these tactics to the entire country tells us a great dela about what kind of people were area dealing with.

While many will just want the goodies to start flowing again, I am sure there are no small number of others that are disgusted. And of those, how many have begun to think, “If this is how it is going to be, why should we have the Feral Govt involved in so many things?” Perhaps there will be a Great Awakening.

Maybe the worse it gets, the better it is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama just claimed credit for the U.S. being on the verge of becoming the largest producer of energy in the world.

Offshore Drilling Moratorium
EPA Coal Power Plant regulations
EPA dust regulations
Keystone XL pipeline
EPA fracking regulations

"if anybody doubts me..."


We're succeeding in spite of you Mr. President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The truth will set you free...

"A Fox News national poll asks voters to imagine being a lawmaker and having to cast an up-or-down vote on raising the debt ceiling: 37 percent would vote in favor of it, while 58 percent would vote against it."

Ask the right question to get the right answer.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The strategy for disarming Obama's disinformation program can be found in a combination of Evan Sayet and the Wizard of Oz.

If the goal of progressives is to teach that there are no rights and wrongs, our goal is to prove they are "Humbugs". We need to prove there truly are rights and wrongs. As I mentioned below, Steven Chu's science advisory group said that BP could not safely use the static kill to assassinate the Macondo 252 well. But we did just that. Steven Chu and Tom Hunter and Richard Garman and Alex Slocum were WRONG. They are humbugs. There was no underground blowout threat. We've got the proof. It is right there in the Chief Counsel's Report, Chapter 4.1.

Being a "Nobel Prize Winning Physicist" is not proof against being WRONG. Credentials do not make truth, facts make TRUTH.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ooops. "either by the Soviets." should read "either by the Soviets or other agents."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile, it's good to recall that Clinton, while attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, traveled for an extended period in the Soviet Union at a time when EVERY SINGLE WESTERN TOURIST would have been assigned at least one if not several "handler" agents from INTOURIST, which in those days would have been populated by either KGB agents, or people trained by the KGB ("Комитет государственной безопасности" - Committee of State Security) Until very late in the Soviet era, one simply DID NOT travel freely in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

As a tourist in the Soviet Union, you DID NOT have casual conversations with ordinary citizens - **they** were subject to arrest and imprisonment for just TALKING to foreigners except those trusted to serve them as sales clerks, nurses, specified hotel staff, and such. Just as ordinary soviet citizens were subject to arrest, trial, and imprisonment if an inspection of their personal radio or television revealed modifications meant to allow reception of ANY signal other than approved government frequencies. Not to mention all the book titles the possession of which would send you to the Gulags.

Think about that for just a minute.

We know now that Clinton since his youth has been a sex addict evidently of voracious appetite not to be denied. It seems highly likely that his well-documented inability to control his willy would have deeply compromised him during his travels in the CCCP, either by the Soviets. Presumably this would would have been known also to U.S. agents, especially considering that young Mr. Clinton chose to make public statements critical of U.S. policy in Vietnam and participated in antiwar groups with substantial communist support.

As the election campaign of the fall of 1992 unfolded, I found myself wondering how the ludicrous governor of a state that lagged behind many "third-world" nations, could be rocketing to such phenomenal celebrity and prominence in the polls.

Chalk it up to determined venality, ambition, and malleability.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Expanding on the information of wws regarding Mssrs. Gore per et fils, under Wm. Jefferson Clinton, a great portion of the United States strategic petroleum reserves were made available for public sale. Not surprisingly - considering the corrupt perverts running things then - the contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM, once owned by ARMAND HAMMER. At the time of this sale, the family of Albert Gore, Jr., owned a plurality, if not a majority share of stock.

Anyone who has not realized yet what an utter monster and shameless liar is young Mr. Gore, has no eyes to see the bald truth.

Please keep in mind that the so-called strategic petroleum reserves were set aside to ensure that our nation would have oil for our warships if other sources of fuel were sequestered or held hostage by our adversaries.

And that miscreant Clinton "privatized" billions of gallons of high-quality known oil reserves, and sold them to the oil company owned by the family of his vice-president Albert Gore, Junior, to be developed, monetized and sold for his family's further wealth and power.

Try to imagine the outcry if G.W. Bush or ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN arranged such a blatant SWEET HEART sale to one of his cronies.

This country has been lost for decades. The only question is whether we can ever find our way back to sobriety and honest government. When I talk to most people, I get the strongest impression that people are living in a world of utter delusion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Armand Hammer is beyond my understanding. At first glance, he looks like a 19th century robber baron of exactly the sort that communists liked to hang from lampposts. Despite this, Armand Hammer was closely involved with the Soviets and seemed to have a favored relationship. I assume that the Soviet leadership simply regarded Hammer as a "useful idiot".

No problem understanding that.

However, what was Hammer thinking? Was he a limousine Marxists, blinded by moonbat ideology? Maybe he had a deep hatred of the West that superseded what should have been a rational fear of the Communists. Possibly, Hammer was one of these Satanic Wall Street criminals who would happily watch the world burn if it meant that he could make another million dollars? It didn't make sense.... 2+2=5
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
From Exhibit 9423 at the BP Oil Spill Trial

From RADM Kevin Cook

"National Labs folks were really challenging each other to come up with the highest risk lowest probability event and discuss these issues on the margins; the folks calling in on the phone (retired scientists) would throw ideas out and the discussion in the room was to mitigate their concerns; these scientists became a little disruptive; national labs were interacting with BP as they went along while the emeritus team had preconceived notions about BP that were not very productive to the integration that was going on; Sec. Chu also seemed to fuel those low probability high risk events"

Ivory Tower Syndrome writ large.

"Final decisions almost never in tune with the emeritus dissenters; they really thought there was leakage into the formation and that the world was going to end"

Administration's "emeritus dissenters" were dead WRONG. They predicted "that the world was going to end".

Sound familiar????
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The static kill put a stake through the heart of Macondo 252, and the relief well as the "ultimate solution" was a pure face-saving exercise, other than for the purposes of forensics. But where is the USGS report on the "rocks" found on the deck of the Damon Bankston?

See Sam Sankar here 02:26:22
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

OT, but OMG this bears mentioning:

I just learned that Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap died last week. He was believed to be 102 years old. 102 years!

Grudging respect and admiration for that man. Whatever one may feel about him, he must be regarded as one of the most successful military leaders of the 20th century; and, by virtue of his success, one of the most extraordinary as well. He lost battles but he won wars. Would that the U.S., in fighting its wars, had his clarity of purpose and determination.

I am amazed. It's like learning that a veteran of the Civil War had just died.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I also was surprised to hear he was still alive so recently.

Giap is tied to claims that US POW aircrew were sent to the USSR during the Vietnam War and were never returned to the US. Examination of the KGB archives revealed that info in the early 1990's, but the Vietnamese claimed it was a lie and that Giap could not have authorized such a transfer of POWs because he had long since retired. Just why the KGB would want to lie to itself about that subject has never been explained. I guess the answer died with him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The softness of our elites surely must be due in part, at least, to the education they receive. They typically go to one of our "select" colleges or universities, and they all hear the same idiocies day in and day out. In fact, most of them have been hearing it since high school, if not earlier. They begin to think that they have superior wisdom, but they have been turned into mediocrities who rise because they are like those ahead of them, the very people who will promote them. Unfortunately, we have an electorate who cannot see through it all. The majority complain about their leaders, but as you write, they continue to vote for them and support them with their donations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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