From the latest Radio Times:
McCarthyism: There Were Reds Under the Bed
In the light of recent spy revelations, David Aaronovitch uncovers dramatic evidence that the notorious Communist hunter Joseph McCarthy may have been right after all about Soviet infiltration into the US government.
That’s this coming Sunday, July 25th, at 1.30pm, on BBC Radio 4.
Google, google. Here is more about the programme:
David Aaronovitch thinks the unthinkable about the McCarthy period.
The hunt for the so called ‘Reds under the beds’ during the Cold War is generally regarded as a deeply regrettable blot on U.S history. But the release of classified documents reveals that Joseph McCarthy was right after all about the extent of Soviet infiltration into the highest reaches of the U.S government.
Thanks to the public release of top secret FBI decryptions of Soviet communications, as well as the release under the fifty year rule of FBI records and Soviet archives, we now know that the Communist spying McCarthy fought against was extensive, reaching to the highest level of the State department and the White House.
We reveal that many of McCarthy’s anticommunist investigations were in fact on target. His fears about the effect Soviet infiltration might be having on US foreign policy, particularly in the Far East were also well founded.
The decrypts also reveal that people such as Rosenberg, Alger Hiss and even Robert Oppenheimer were indeed working with the Soviets. We explore why much of this information, available for years to the FBI, was not made public. We also examine how its suppression prevented the prosecution of suspects.
Finally, we explore the extent to which Joseph McCarthy, with his unsavoury methods and smear tactics, could have done himself a disservice, resulting in his name being forever synonymous with paranoia and the ruthless suppression of free speech.
Hearing from former FBI, CIA and KGB operatives as well as formerly blacklisted writers, David Aaronovitch, himself from a family of communists tells the untold story of Soviet influence and espionage in the United States.
Interesting. Phrases like “thinking the unthinkable”, coming from the BBC, generally signify something drearily conformist, of the sort that it is almost unthinkable to contest, like the claim that, I don’t know, economic growth is not all good, or that pollution pollutes. Not this time, I think you will agree.
Although, I distrust that last bit, about McCarthy’s “unsavoury tactics” being to blame for his failure. It was McCarthy’s fault that the Bolsheviks weren’t unmasked? I wait to be convinced that what saved the Bolsheviks of that time and place was Joe McCarthy’s ineptness. I prefer the more obvious explanation, which is that the very Bolsheviks who had, as McCarthy rightly claimed, dug themselves into the US government were the ones who stopped him.
I also rather resent the timing of this revelation. Now, they tell us? I think that one of the habits of the bad guys is to concede the truth, but only when it’s too late to do much good. The purpose of such admissions is not the truth for the sake of it, but to establish what honest fellows the bad guys are, so that their current or next pack of lies will also be believed, until that too is unmasked, too late, and so on. But maybe that’s to be too cynical, at any rate in this matter. I am not familiar with Aaronovitch’s writings and thinkings over the years. Maybe he’s a good guy.
I’ll certainly be having a listen to this. Either at 1.30pm on Sunday, or failing that, soon after.