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Stay classy


It comes as little surprise that someone who commemorates treason in defense of slavery would fail to notice the absurdity in accusing Ted Kennedy of conspiring against his country, but that’s one of many reasons that Bob Owens remains a Very Special Blogger.

To summarize TIDOS Yankee’s claim, Kennedy secretly reached out to Soviet leaders twice during the late 1970s and early 1980s, probing — in the interest of advancing his own presidential ambitions — for ways to undermine the cold war foreign policies of the Carter and Reagan administrations. If you haven’t encountered this fable before, you shouldn’t feel deprived. It originates from the early 1990s and has been amplified by several recent hagiographies of the Reagan-Thatcher axis, especially books by John O’Sullivan, Paul Kengor and Peter Schweizer. “Proof” for the Kennedy-as-Soviet Collaborator argument rests on two documents, original copies of which you will doubtless be astonished to learn are unavailable for independent scrutiny.

The first — a handwritten note supposedly brought to Great Britain in 1982 by Soviet defector and former KGB agent Visaly Mitrokhin — describes a letter allegedly written by Kennedy and delivered to Leonid Brezhnev in 1979, wherein Kennedy offers to help “de-escalate” the crisis in Afghanistan by undermining President Carter. The letter would indeed by an interesting document, if in fact it actually existed; shockingly, however, it does not appear in the Mitrokhin Archive itself, nor does Mitrokhin himself discuss it in his 700-page book, The Sword and the Shield (though he does mention that the KGB sent Kennedy’s office forged documents purporting to show that Scoop Jackson and Richard Perle were “members of a gay sex club.”)

The second document — a 1983 memo from former KGB head Victor Chebrikov to Yuri Andropov — discusses a purported letter from Kennedy (sent to Chebrikov via former California Senator John Tunney) in which the senator advises Andropov to invite him to Moscow for talks; promises to coordinate interviews for Andropov with American journalists like Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters; and suggests a variety of steps that Soviet leaders might take to hinder Reagan’s re-election the following year. A copy of the “Chebrikov memo” was published in The Crusader, a book written by Paul Kengor; Kengor teaches at Grove City College, an academy of wingnuttery that has been under continuous AAUP censure since 1963 for violations of academic freedom. The memo’s provenance is predictably sketchy, having been delivered to Kengor by a right-wing Ukrainian activist (and “reader of FrontPage Magazine”) before being vetted and “authenticated” by creditable sources like Richard Pipes — the erstwhile head of Team B — and Herbert Romerstein, the former HUAC investigator who recently offered definitive proof that Barack Obama is a stealth Negro Communist. The original “Chebrikov memo” is of course (cough cough) conveniently locked away in an old Soviet archive, safe from the prying eyes of less transparently dubious observers.

Kengor has spent the past several years whining about the fact that “liberal bias” in the press has engineered a near-total blackout of his stunning revelation. Alas, the Kennedy family has evidently frightened the redoubtable FOX News into complicit silence, defying its customary editorial policy of holding out an open mic for precisely this sort of poorly-sourced lunacy:

I did a taping with Hannity & Colmes but they never used it, apparently because they were so focused on the mid-term elections, to the exclusion of almost any other story or issue. The Hannity & Colmes thing was a major blow; it could’ve propelled this onto the national scene, forcing the larger media to take note. That was the single greatest disappointment.

Fortunately for Kengor, there are more sympathetic regions of the intertubes, where no evidence is sufficiently absurd to thwart repetition.

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