Post by Herbert Blenner on Feb 12, 2019 15:20:50 GMT -5
Where Did it Begin?
by Herbert Blenner | Posted April 28, 2001
During the Second World War, some spooks stole ill-gotten intelligence files and started their own dirty little company.
The time was 1943 and the place was the New York Naval District. An ambitious Commander at the anti-Communist intelligence desk was uneasy with the work force at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Many workers were immigrants or first generation Americans. The Commander suspected many were Communists.
The course of the war alarmed this Commander. While the Americans and the English were fighting the Germans in North Africa, the Red Army was poised to liberate Eastern Europe. Many fellow officers dreaded the pending westward thrust of Soviet forces. Those officers were critical of the Roosevelt administration and adamantly opposed to the US - Soviet alliance.
The Commander and his staff decided to use information they collected on radical workers. They told surveillance to watch Tom, a well-known unionist, and Phil, a communist party organizer. Meanwhile, the Commander had some supervisor hand blueprints to Tom with instructions to give them to Phil. When Tom passed the blueprints on the ship they were building to Phil, navel intelligence recorded apparent espionage.
In short, the Commander exceeded the bounds of an intelligence operation. He undertook a counterintelligence operation against ideological supporters of a wartime ally. Naval intelligence generated and passed many corrupt records to the F.B.I.
At first, things went well. The Commander fed a stream of intelligence to the F.B.I. that superficially showed communists were committing espionage. Then in 1944, they transferred an extraordinary bright Ensign into this unit. This Ensign recognized the subversion of the intelligence gathering process. He reported the counterintelligence activities to a high-ranking friend in the State Department. Alger Hiss sided with the Ensign and forwarded the complaint to the Secretary of State. Finally, President Roosevelt ordered the break up of the New York counterintelligence unit and the destruction of their files.
The Navy did not hold subordinates liable for misconduct of their commander. They sent one junior officer to Pearl Harbor with a clean record. After the war, this officer became a counsel to a Senate committee, a judge, and a college president. This officer was Lieutenant Robert Morris.
They courts-martial the Commander and reduced him to Lieutenant Commander but the damage was done. The F.B.I. had many corrupt reports in their files and no way to purge them.
Contrary to Presidential orders they did not destroy all copies of the corrupt intelligence files. Some people felt the ill-gotten intelligence was too valuable to waste. The counterintelligence activity placed damaging records on New York leftists in files of the F.B.I. After the war, they could use these records to compromise those leftists. All they needed was a copy of the corrupted intelligence files to run those leftists as their agents. Without haste, they stored copies of these corrupt files in the bank vaults of some private law offices.
Following the war, these former agents left the Navy. They were enterprising individuals who set up their own dirty little company. Superficially they saw their role as coordinators. They worked with businessmen and professionals who were eager to do their part to win the cold war. This association gave these former agents the guise of respectability. They used this camouflage to conceal their illegal agenda.
As part of the internal national security apparatus, they had inside information on events. From their contacts with lawyers they learned the weaknesses in important cases and the identity of pivotal witnesses. Occasionally they used the corrupt intelligence files to coerce false testimony from witnesses. However, they preferred indirect methods that entangled other people. Bankers, real estate brokers, lawyers, and professionals frequently fitted into their schemes. Although their immediate goals were illegal, they felt secure in using other members of the internal national security apparatus. The more members they entangled the better. For their long range plan was to criminalize as many members as possible. This they believed was the best insurance against a compromise settlement of the cold war. By the early fifties,their dirty little company effectively guaranteed compromise was no longer an option.
The internal national security community saw the dirty little company as hero and villain. This company succeeded while those who operated legally failed.
The dirty little company operated unopposed until they entangled Special Agents of the F.B.I. and agents of Military Intelligence in criminality.
In 1954, the Army confronted the dirty little company. Their fight did not become public because the Senate Internal Security subcommittee intervened. Senator Jenner contained the fight behind closed doors. Nevertheless, this confrontation did leave some public records.
Source: The New York Times
"Destruction of Red Files In '44 Tied to White House"
"Jenner Plans Inquiry Into Navy's Red Files"
"Witnesses Swear Red File Vanished"
Decades from now, historians will be examining the newly released U.S. government documents from 1954. Probably they will learn who ran the dirty little company. I wonder if they would recognize the significance of their discovery? If we refuse to let the issue of the assassination of President Kennedy fade way then they will recognize the name, Oswald.