The other day, I wrote about Eric Alterman’s ridiculous assertion that I.F. Stone could not have been a Soviet agent because Stone never told him he was. It turns out that Alterman’s explanation is now the second most stupid apologia for Stone.
The first comes from Jim Naureckas, editor of the left-wing media website, FAIR, which stands for “Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting.” FAIR is dedicated to sifting out what its editors feel is right-wing bias in the media.
Naureckas quotes from a KGB document cited in John Haynes and Harvey Klehr’s Commentary article providing the evidence that I.F. Stone was working for Soviet intelligence. The KGB file quotes an agent report that ”Relations with Pancake [Stone's KGB codename] have entered the channel of normal operational work. He went to Washington on assignment for his newspaper. Connections in the State Dept. and Congress.”
To any sensible reader, when an intelligence agency notes that one of its subjects has entered “normal operational work,” they are indicating to their control that the subject is now fully an agent, performing tasks as assigned. As he notes, this is indeed what Klehr and Haynes concludes: “The Commentary writers gloss the phrase ‘channel of normal operational work’ as meaning that ‘Stone had become a fully active agent.’” And so they do.
What is supposedly wrong about this sensible conclusion? Naureckas writes: “If you enter ‘normal operational work’ into Google with “KGB,” you get two hits, one to the Commentary article and one to Stone’s Wikipedia article quoting Commentary.” If you put those key words into Nexis, you get no hits at all.” (my emphasis)
That certainly settles the issue as far as Jim Naureckas is concerned. To print his explanation is sufficient. No further comment is necessary.