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8/29/2009
WHAT ABOUT THAT MEMO SHOWING KENNEDY WORKING AGAINST AMERICAN INTERESTS?
CATEGORY: History, Politics

Some would go farther and say that the memorandum from Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB that was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR, outlining a secret proposal made by Senator Ted Kennedy to the Soviets to help them “understand Reagan” in return for their help in making him president, constitutes treason.

It’s not a word to throw around lightly and the reason I refrain from using it is because I am unsure Kennedy’s actions meet the definition. Kennedy was not in direct contact with Andropov, using his good friend John Tunney, former senator from California, as a messenger boy to deliver the proposal to the Soviets. And he wasn’t proposing to betray any secrets.

At the time this memo was first released (1992), it was completely ignored by the American press. But I vividly recall reading about it when Paul Kengor published his book The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. There was a brief firestorm on the internet with Kennedy supporters pointing out that it was possible that Tunney - a notorious loose cannon - could have concocted the whole thing without Kennedy’s knowledge.

Kennedy office issued a statement saying that the interpretation of the memo was “way off the mark,” but didn’t deny its authenticity. This Peter Robinson piece in Forbes details what Kennedy was asking:

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.

First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.

Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. …

And then there is this tidbit about Teddy wanting to run for president in 1988 and wanting Soviet help in boosting his campaign:

Kennedy’s motives? “Like other rational people,” the memorandum explained, “[Kennedy] is very troubled by the current state of Soviet-American relations.” But that high-minded concern represented only one of Kennedy’s motives.

“Tunney remarked that the senator wants to run for president in 1988,” the memorandum continued. “Kennedy does not discount that during the 1984 campaign, the Democratic Party may officially turn to him to lead the fight against the Republicans and elect their candidate president.”

This is one area of the memo that makes the interpretation of Tunney’s remarks suspect. Kennedy had determined by 1982 that the presidency was out of reach - according to numerous friends and family members - and that he had set his mind to making a good career in the senate. This sounds like Tunney wishful thinking. As a Kennedy insider, he and the rest were desperate to “get back” to the White House. But Kennedy always kept his own counsel about his presidential ambitions and it is unlikely Tunney would have been privy to them.

The memo, while compelling, is a single source document. And while it is believable, it would never stand up in court, and the rigorous standards of evidence applied in treason cases. It is also well to remember that the KGB was sometimes overly enthusiastic in reporting that some Americans were willing to work with them. Also contained in that million page document dump after the fall of communism were memos that “proved” that FDR’s closest advisor, Harry Hopkins, was a soviet agent and that Marilyn Monroe worked for the commies too. The KGB routinely lied to their leaders in this manner and it is impossible without corroborating evidence to determine if the interpretation of the KGB chief of Tunney’s overture is accurate.

There were supposedly other memos about Tunney-Kennedy from 1978 and 1980 that Izvestia ferreted out. But no one has ever seen those memos and their provenance is impossible to determine.

That said, no major media outlet ever pursued the story which is significant in and of itself. Obviously, they were afraid of what they might find if they dug too deeply. Or they found it easy to dismiss because of the reasons I mention above.

It is also significant that not one major media obituary on Kennedy even mentioned it. Protecting the reputation - even after death - of a liberal icon appears to have trumped honest journalism once again.

By: Rick Moran at 9:14 am
28 Responses to “WHAT ABOUT THAT MEMO SHOWING KENNEDY WORKING AGAINST AMERICAN INTERESTS?”
  1. 1
    michael reynolds Said:
    9:30 am 

    “I’m not sayin’ he’s a traitor, I’m just sayin’.”

    Go take a shower. You soil yourself with this kind of sleaze.

    And you dare to call anyone else a hack?

    So the memo is…what? A right wing fantasy? A plant? A case of misinterpretation?

    The memo is there Michael. The journalist who originally ferreted it out in 1992 worked for one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, the London Times. Kengor vetted the document’s authenticity using retired soviet experts at the CIA.

    And your interpretation of this post is laughable. I was being a helluva lot more cautious than any MSM reporter would be. But since Kennedy did not deny the existence of the overture, we must conclude that there was in fact an effort by Kennedy to communicate privately with the Soviets in 1983.

    I make it plain as day that the KGB may be misinterpreting what Kennedy was trying to do. I also offer the less probable but still possible explanation that Tunney exceeded his mandate - by a lot.

    What the fuck more do you want? ANY communication with the enemy undermines the duly elected leader’s policy in this area.This is self evident and the fact that you refused to address ANY points I make in the post brands you once again as a partisan hack.

    Is it treason? Was Kennedy a traitor? Legally, probably not. But it was behavior that should be included when summing up the totality of Kennedy’s life and I think regardless of the interpretation, was despicable.

    ed.

  2. 2
    Moltenorb Said:
    9:43 am 

    I don’t know about the media, but I found it easy to dismiss because of the reasons you mention above.

  3. 3
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:09 am 

    This is the same thing you pulled the other day where you grabbed a single, unnamed source quoted in the American Spectator and joined the Malkin parade to distract from the release of CIA documents.

    Here you also have a dubious memo dubiously-sourced and presented for our enjoyment by a right-wing magazine.

    You accept as factual a memo that is the KGB talking to itself in effect. The KGB. That’s your source. Because it’s not like they ever practiced disinformation. Seriously, if you can’t trust the KGB, who can you trust?

    A b.s. unnamed source in the last hit job, and the KGB in this one.

    Is this your standard of proof, Rick? You trash the so-called MSM and this is what you’ve got? A figment of Emmet Tyrell’s imagination and a communist spy?

    But of course those are credible because they tell you what you want to believe. More to the point they give you some red meat to toss out to the birthers, deathers and assorted whackjobs that constitute the GOP.

    Why now? Because the GOP is terrified that Obama might succeed in some way, so to hell with credibility, on with the slash and burn.

    You obviously are clueless about that 1992 doc dump - read The Black Book of Communism or The Venona Intercepts which was a CIA cable intercept program but the book makes extensive use of the documents released to prove the intercepts were true.

    I admit the possibility of misinterpretation. You do not admit that there is a possibility the memo could be the genuine article. That makes me careful and you a hack. You fail to address my point about Kengor’s vetting. You fail to address Kennedy’s statement where he hints at misinterpretation but significantly, does not deny the overture took place.

    You obviously agree it is perfectly alright for a member of the opposition to be in private contact with the enemy and attempt to undermine policy. Glad you’d be so sanguine if a Republican senator communicated with Ahmadinejad and told him to go ahead and build his nukes, Obama won’t take any military action.

    You’ve gone so far off the rails that it has become an exercise in futility to get you to take off your blinders and see this Chicago pol for who and what he is. You are so far in the tank for this guy that it is impossible to debate anything with you - you refuse to adequately address anything I write anymore.

    Perhaps its time for you to find greener pastures for debate.

    ed.

  4. 4
    My smart alleck disrespectful posting of the day….. | Political Byline Pinged With:
    11:02 am 

    [...] QandO, The Other McCain, Stop The ACLU, The Greenroom, CNN, American Spectator, Weasel Zippers, Right Wing Nut House, The Huffington Post, Time, The Corner on National …, Don Surber and Exurban League [...]

  5. 5
    zish Said:
    11:07 am 

    Rick, you have officially been dissolved into yet another political tabloid blog who, for its effort, will probably draw a larger pool of rabid cretins. So congratulations! You have lost any credibility that you never had. Your casual inference and mindless gabber is the last thing we need right now. I for one will never browse this site again. Have a nice life.

    OK drama queen. To assist you in keeping your promise, you IP will be banned.

    And what is it about this post that no liberal wants to address the issues raised? Is it that you can’t? Is it that you simply have no answer, no opposite view that you can credibly advance? This is very curious. I have written an extraordinarily balanced account of the story, giving both sides equal time, logically deducing conclusions based on the factual record. Simply covering your eyes and ears and calling me crazy does not an argument make. In fact, it reminds me of birthers and truthers who fail utterly to address any argument and simply call people names.

    I can only surmise that you didn’t read what I wrote - which marks you as an idiot for commenting on something you either didn’t read or didn’t understand.

    ed.

  6. 6
    michael reynolds Said:
    11:12 am 

    Rick:

    Yeah, I’m “in the tank.”

    Am I getting paid to toss out red meat? No. That would be you.

    But you’re right, it’s time for me to move on. I had hopes that you and a few others like you would get together and repair the damage that’s been done to the Party of Lincoln. Because even when I disagree with conservatives I understand the need for them, for what they bring to the debate, for the necessary brakes they sometimes apply.

    But you haven’t changed the party, it has changed you. And we no longer get the Rick Moran who talked about the need to rethink and reformulate and honestly question the state of the party. Now we get the guy on PJM’s payroll.

    We need a rational conservative party, an honest conservative party, because we need a two party system. Both parties need a functioning “other” to discipline them, to force them to make some sort of sense, to occasionally grab the steering wheel away. And you’re just the kind of guy that new conservative party, that real conservative party could use.

    It’s depressing to watch. So I’ll take off.

    Of course I still question the party, and the conservative movement. It is you who are not questioning orthodoxy anymore Michael. Your knee jerk defense of even the most idiotic liberal actions paints you as a party man - something I am not and do not aspire to be.

    ed.

  7. 7
    Mike Said:
    12:23 pm 

    Is this “bitter-beer face” Malkin’s website? I’m outta here for good….

  8. 8
    Moltenorb Said:
    12:37 pm 

    Everyone is a partisan except for Rick..

    He occasionally criticizes republicans and conservatives…I’m guessing that he believes that this makes him even-handed, bi-partisan, fair and balanced, and above reproach..

    In one sentence Rick says:

    “In fact, it reminds me of birthers and truthers who fail utterly to address any argument and simply call people names.”

    The very next sentence he calls the same poster an “idiot”…Brilliant!

    Rick frequently “fails utterly” to address legitimate arguments laid forth by people who disagree with him on this blog, preferring to fall back on his favorite names to call people, such as “hack” “partisan” “moron” “idiot” and now “drama queen”…

    He obviously does not take criticism very well…suggesting that posters who take umbrage with his rude or disparaging comments, or his outright misleading or biased reporting move along to “greener pastures for debate”..

    He seems more comfortable “preaching to the choir” these days, like RedState or HotAir do..

    He’ll get a lot of agreement this way, but wont change a single mind, which seems to me to be the point of blogging in the first place…to try and sway public opinion and make a difference..

    So much for reasoned and civil conservatism..

    I consider someone who dramatically announces they are not coming to the site any more to be childish drama queens. Why announce it except to get attention for how very brave you are? It’s pathetic - especially since I usually get an email after banning them wondering why they can’t access the site. How pathetic is that?

    I never claimed to be non-partisan. Not now. Not ever. And people who only agree with me when I criticize conservatives or Republicans are, in fact, hacks and idiots. I will place my record against any liberal commenter here who never has anything decent to say about conservatives while defending their own like the true party men they are.

    My readership is extremely diverse so “preaching to the choir” is an impossibility. I write what I want, about who I want, and say whatever I damn well please and you can read it or not. Makes no difference to me. My success speaks for itself.

    ed.

  9. 9
    Moltenorb Said:
    12:53 pm 

    On topic…Two recent attempts from the opposition at undermining current US foreign policy..

    Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) traveled to China, America’s biggest creditor, where he encouraged Chinese officials not to believe the U.S. government when it comes to budget issues.

    Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took a swipe at President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy in Jerusalem, telling reporters he was worried about the administration’s direction in its attempts to forge a settlement in the region.

    Um…last time I looked Israel and China were friends of the US - not deadly enemies sworn to destroy us. Huge difference.

    ed.

  10. 10
    Moltenorb Said:
    1:12 pm 

    Rick,

    Thank you for admitting that you are in fact a partisan, and for not calling me an idiot in the process.

    Congratulations on your success.

    Lemme get this straight. You come to a site named “Right Wing Nuthouse” and expect…what? And if you can find anywhere on this site in any post at any time where I said I was “non-partisan” then you can claim I’ve “admitted” to being one.

    You see, how it usually works is, someone has to make a claim before he can “admit” something to the contrary. Your thesis falls a little short there, bub. And as far as calling you an idiot - I obviously don’t have to point out what, judging by this comment shows, is self-evident.

    ed.

  11. 11
    Moltenorb Said:
    1:45 pm 

    Rick says:

    “Um…last time I looked Israel and China were friends of the US - not deadly enemies sworn to destroy us. Huge difference.”

    I remember “mutual assured destruction” or MAD…where both the US and Russia promised to wipe each other from the face of the earth if either of us dared to push the button..

    So I guess we were a deadly enemy sworn to destroy them also…funny how that works.

    I also remember an unwritten rule in DC that you do not undermine a sitting American president on foreign soil..

    Politicians critcizing American policy to foreign media or diplomats should be a no-brainer…it’s wrong, whether friend or foe..

    And keep your eye on China…because if we push Iran into a corner, China will be in that corner with them..

  12. 12
    Moltenorb Said:
    2:00 pm 

    “Lemme get this straight. You come to a site named “Right Wing Nuthouse” and expect…what? And if you can find anywhere on this site in any post at any time where I said I was “non-partisan” then you can claim I’ve “admitted” to being one.

    You see, how it usually works is, someone has to make a claim before he can “admit” something to the contrary. Your thesis falls a little short there, bub. And as far as calling you an idiot - I obviously don’t have to point out what, judging by this comment shows, is self-evident.”

    With a name like “Right Wing Nuthouse”…this site could be either liberal, conservative, or purely satire..

    It has always been evident to me that you are a partisan Rick…It’s just that you call lots of other people “Partisan” like it’s a bad thing…Why is it bad for them, but not for you?..

    Most everything you write is partisan in nature…Doesn’t it seem a tad hypocritical to you to be disparaging others for the same inclinations that you put forth daily??

  13. 13
    sota Said:
    6:40 am 

    “It has always been evident to me that you are a partisan Rick”

    Define partisan, please.

  14. 14
    Moltenorb Said:
    7:12 am 

    sota,

    Are you kidding me?

    Having a firm adherence or allegiance to a political party.

    Define “dictionary” please.

  15. 15
    BellWeather Bill Said:
    10:26 am 

    Moran, you’re filthy lowlife.

    A disgrace.

    Don’t ever respond to specific points of logic or fact. Your head might explode from the effort.

    ed.

  16. 16
    Gang of One Said:
    3:09 pm 

    Rick, as you well know by now, when you get flak it is because you are over the target.

    Rock on, Rick.

  17. 17
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    3:27 pm 

    It has always been evident to me that you are a partisan Rick…It’s just that you call lots of other people “Partisan” like it’s a bad thing…Why is it bad for them, but not for you?..

    Most everything you write is partisan in nature…Doesn’t it seem a tad hypocritical to you to be disparaging others for the same inclinations that you put forth daily??

    Well,if his partisanship is soooooo evident why did he not back Bush to the hilt on the issue of interrogation of terror suspects ?

    If his partisanship was so evident, why is it his obituary of Ted Kennedy was very generous and admitted the influence that he had on America ?

    If he is so partisan why is it he has been bemoaning a lack of Republican proposals on the health care debate when Paul Ryan and Senator Coburn have offered one?

    Have you listened in on his radio show ONCE ??

    Yes, he is conservative and he does have partisan instincts.. but he does not advocate BLIND LOYALTY.

    If he is soo partisan, why do you come to the site ? Why do you comment on these message boards?

    Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) traveled to China, America’s biggest creditor, where he encouraged Chinese officials not to believe the U.S. government when it comes to budget issues.

    Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took a swipe at President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy in Jerusalem, telling reporters he was worried about the administration’s direction in its attempts to forge a settlement in the region.

    Hmm.. The Chinese dont need Mark Kirk or anyone else to tell them that. Unlike you, the Chinese can think for themselves and SEE what the hell is going on and HAVE MORE INSIGHT into America’s financial troubles than any one else.

    All that being said, Kirk crossed a line.He was wrong.

    I dont disagree with what what Cantor said either- but he should not say that on foreign soil.

    With that being said, would you EVER MAN UP to admitting that Kennedy WAS communicating with the Soviets ? And if so, why exactly was he doing this without informing Reagan Admn officials…

    Forget all the “quid pro quo” - do you want to deny the undeniable ?? Do you want to deny that Kennedy HAD HIS OWN AGENDA when it came to US-Soviet relations and WAS MORE THAN WILLING to undermine Reagan ?

    Kennedy has not denied communicating secretly with the Soviets WITHOUT INFORMING Regan Admn/State Dept - how do you respond to that ??

    You know what - you CANNOT. You know what Kennedy did was wrong and potentially dangerous. If you are so worried about Cantor and Kirk who are two lightwights who have no influence HOW THE HELL ARE YOU NONCHALANT ABOUT Kennedy communicating with an enemy state in an era of Mutually Assured Destruction WITHOUT informing Reagan Govt ??

    If this is the post that drives all high falutin moralists of the liberal creed away from this site, it couldnt be a more fitting one.

  18. 18
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    3:38 pm 

    He’ll get a lot of agreement this way, but wont change a single mind, which seems to me to be the point of blogging in the first place…to try and sway public opinion and make a difference..

    So much for reasoned and civil conservatism..

    I dont think Rick has been blogging to provide “public service” or if he has been doing it to express his thoughts on issues and allow readers to interact with him. He does have viewpoints, ideas and attitudes that are conservative. So what ? WE already knew that.

    But if you say that “trying to sway public opinion” is the main idea behind blogging, I have news for you - you are a fool. If that was truly the case then sites like DailyKos, HuffPo, DemocraticUnderground would not even exist- they all preach to the choir, and every one knows it. Heck, they THEMSELVES admit that they use blogging as a tool to reach out to people WHO ALREADY AGREE WITH THEM.

    Moltenorb, I sincerely hope that your idiotic blatherings go to “greener” pastures as Rick pointed out.

    And i ve seen how “civil” and “reasoned” you modern day liberals are - lets not even go there. Nothing grates me more than your holier than thou attitude when you liberals are among the worst muckrakers out there on the Web and have the temerity to preach civility and reason.

    Physician, heal thyself.

  19. 19
    sota Said:
    5:44 pm 

    “Are you kidding me?

    Having a firm adherence or allegiance to a political party.”

    Not kidding at all. At least we agree on the term “partisan”. Labeling Rick a partisan is laughable, at best. That’s why I ask. He can obviously speak for himself (or his blog postings can in his absence), but if you’ve spent any time reading or listening to him you’d understand why that’s the case.

    Nagarajan has a lot more patience than I do, so I won’t bother with the details. Suffice it to say, Rick defends his principles vehemently, but he does not defend Republicans blindly (which, I assume, is your implication with the label). I think even his critics here would agree that he’s conservative before Republican.

  20. 20
    Moltenorb Said:
    7:13 pm 

    Nagarajan and sota,

    You’re both partisan for Rick.

  21. 21
    Moltenorb Said:
    7:17 pm 

    To coin a term…you’re Rickpublicans!

  22. 22
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    8:38 pm 

    Moltenorb,
    Why are you still at this site ? I thought you hated us. Please blather at the non partisan non biased blog that truly exists in the blogosphere..

    And here i was, ready to take a liberal at his word that he was leaving.

  23. 23
    Moltenorb Said:
    2:00 pm 

    I don’t hate you guys, I don’t even know you..

    Hate is a very negative state to be in…I try to avoid it…I do hate the people who plot to kill American citizens though…they are worthy of my hate..

    I may think that you guys are misguided, misinformed, and generally mystified…Not to mention occasionally rude and lacking a sense of humor…but you are Americans, and I do not consider you the “enemy”…Nor do I fear your tactics or rhetoric…Politics is cyclical, you’ll get another chance at power…one day.

    and I don’t believe I ever said I was leaving…But if Rick asked me to go, I’d go…No skin off my back…He pays for the bandwidth..

  24. 24
    Moltenorb Said:
    2:10 pm 

    sota said:

    “At least we agree on the term “partisan”. Labeling Rick a partisan is laughable, at best. That’s why I ask. He can obviously speak for himself (or his blog postings can in his absence), but if you’ve spent any time reading or listening to him you’d understand why that’s the case.

    Nagarajan has a lot more patience than I do, so I won’t bother with the details. Suffice it to say, Rick defends his principles vehemently, but he does not defend Republicans blindly (which, I assume, is your implication with the label). I think even his critics here would agree that he’s conservative before Republican.”

    Sota..

    Try asking Rick who the last Democrat he voted for in a presidential election was…that will confirm whether or not he has a “firm adherence or allegiance to a political party.”

    I voted for Reagan…and I sat it out in 04′ because I couldn’t bear to pull the lever for Kerry, even if it was a vote against Bush..

    Voted for Carter in 1976. Almost voted for McGovern but in the end, didn’t vote for president in 72. Would have voted for Clinton in 92 if he had been honest.

    ed.

  25. 25
    Allen Said:
    3:47 pm 

    I always thought this was a KGB dis-information set up. He probably did make some sort of overture to them but I would suspect it was rather benign. First, I don’t believe the Soviet Union would have ever trusted a Kennedy. Second, they felt sure that Kennedy was an extremely viable Presidential candidate. To them, Chappaquiddick meant nothing.

    So why would they do this? For the pure embarrassment factor if Kennedy ever became President. They could hamstring him politically anytime they wanted. I think this was nothing more that the KGB setting up a little insurance just in case.

  26. 26
    Moltenorb Said:
    5:50 pm 

    Rick said:

    “Voted for Carter in 1976. Almost voted for McGovern but in the end, didn’t vote for president in 72. Would have voted for Clinton in 92 if he had been honest.”

    I stand corrected Rick…I do admit when I’m wrong…You are NOT a partisan…I apologize for implying that you were..

  27. 27
    Moltenorb Said:
    5:52 pm 

    That is 8 elections voting republican though…You’re on a roll!

  28. 28
    lionheart Said:
    6:35 am 

    Michael Reynolds said:

    But you’re right, it’s time for me to move on.

    Good riddance.

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