Hidden History: Was Harry Truman's CIA Chief a Russian Spy?
McCarthy was right, there were a lot of Communists and their sympathizers infiltrated into American society
America gets smeared in school history rooms today, but even in those hotbeds of progressivism, World War II is still recognized as “the good war.” That era is trumpeted by the professional Left for righteousness, as well as America’s proper coming out party.
America had been denied that after the Great War, as Wilson could not deliver the great neutral America into the League of Nations. The American Empire was born with World War II, and the forces of the international communists community were victorious.
The deeper one looks into World War II, the less the official history makes sense.
A hard thing to pin down is just who were real communists. A Red Scare lasting for decades with varying strength spread through America–and with good justification.
McCarthyism is an evil concept in the official telling, but history vindicates his concerns and some specific people Senator McCarthy and Nixon fingered as spies. Some were actual communist spies, some were fellow travelers, and with time, some others look more and more like militant, homegrown communist agents.
What is certain is that to make your way up the ladder starting in 1932 and onwards, one would have to be communist, a fellow traveler, or willing to do their bidding. Robert Welch might not convince you that President Eisenhower was a communist himself, but the idea that he knowingly worked with them is easy to understand.
Another such case is the case of General Walter Bedell Smith. General Smith had a storied career as chief-of-staff to General Eisenhower from 1943-1945, was America’s ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1946-1948, was the director of CIA from 1950-1953, was the undersecretary of state afterwards and then retired from that position due to health reasons. Wikipedia dutifully notes these facts. Wikipedia also leaves out his final weeks in government service. Smith retired after being investigated by the FBI. Smith was considered tainted, if not an outright communist agent.
How could this be? Smith was an anti-Soviet Cold Warrior. Smith even testified in late 1952 that he believed, “there are Communists in my own organization… that they are so adroit that they have infiltrated practically every security organization of Government.” He had Eisenhower as a boss! As the FBI investigated State Department employees in 1953 for possible security risks, odd evidence kept piling up, and not just associations, but the man’s own words.
Due to his time as ambassador, Smith had contact with Stalin directly. He often noted how communists cozied up to people to use and discard them. Smith was open about America supporting communist coalition political factions because he noted a difference in Soviet-supported communists and “our communists.” Smith wined and dined with Soviet sympathizers, and the FBI connected Smith to enough other people that they suspected of being Soviet agents that it set off alarm bells. His report was completed in May of 1953, yet even today Hoover’s summary of the 200-page report is withheld for national security reasons.
Matters did not end with that FBI inquiry for Smith’s job at State. The investigation into Smith was reopened within the month and this time involved international sources. This was years after his time as ambassador and after his tenure as head of CIA. The Venona cables may have been a clue, but so were Smith’s own associates and his prior jobs. Smith would make public appearances at Soviet-friendly functions. Edward Ellis Smith (no relation) was CIA’s first asset in Moscow, and he claimed to have been first compromised during General Smith’s time as ambassador. A KGB defector later claimed that the KGB had turned an American ambassador to the USSR into an asset. Whether this was Smith or Averell Harriman was never determined, and both men were investigated.
In General Smith’s defense, war information being shared along with chummy behavior could have been talked up by the KGB as a way to boast of their capabilities. Smith’s observation of the Soviets’ communists being different from America’s implies a knowledge of the Anglo-Soviet split. This could explain his openness about fingering communists within CIA while being at its head. The evidence hurts Smith more than his own odd behavior with suspected and known agents. Like so much of the New Deal takeover, it takes decades for critical information to surface and even then it is redacted.
In the 21st century, heightened focus on security, surveillance, and the concept of redaction, the most damning bits of information are never mentioned in the encyclopedia entries for Smith. After his death, a treasure trove of American classified government and military documents were found at his home. Many of these documents were still classified. These were clearly marked, secret, top secret and eyes only, which would be concepts ingrained in a career military man. Some documents were reportedly focused on military campaigns. This was the former head of CIA meant to protect America from the Soviets, so he understood the risk of keeping those at home for years. Taken in totality, Smith starts to resemble the faux anti-Communist Senator Iselin from the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.
Redacted from history’s record, though, is the piece with the most damning implications. In a CIA review of Smith’s years with the agency released forty years after his departure from the agency, there was a curious deletion or redacted section. A man sympathetic to the communists can be wordsmithed into a man of enlightened ideals. This CIA review was decades after Smith’s time when the world had progressed. In the section which clearly would have covered the period of his career exiting the agency and entering the State department when Smith was under the double investigation, the CIA typed and released the phrase: “thirty-six page chapter deleted”.
An idea that can not be wordsmithed away would be a Soviet agent at the head of America’s foreign intelligence agency.