Test your memories. What does the name Whittiker Chambers mean to you? Perhaps it will mean more if I add the name Alger Hiss. For those unaware of those, or even those whose recollection may be a little fuzzy, Chambers was an underground Communist operative in the United States in the 1930s who defected from that party in the late 1930s. He then cooperated with the government and exposed those who were in the underground with him.
One of those persons he said was giving information to the Soviets was Alger Hiss. Hiss, who held a high position in the State Department and who influenced our give away of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union in the Yalta Agreement, denied he was a Communist. Eventually Hiss was tried for perjury and at the second trial he was convicted.
That’s the bare bones summary. For outside forces were at work throughout the Chambers/Hiss episode influencing the public view of the matter. The media and those in power were all pulling for Hiss. Chambers in the late 1940s wrote a book, Witness, that sets out his experience in the Communist party, his dealings with Hiss, and the ways in which he was vilified. I’m reading the book to get a feel for the Communist influence in America in the 1930s in part to better understand J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.
Aside from Hoover few seemed to understand the threat to the nation posed by the Communists who had made great inroads into the American government and union movements. When Chambers wrote the book even though he abandoned the Communist movement he still believed that it was going to eventually become the winning side.
History is often a mirror on the present. Chambers book serves as a look at what is happening today. The media and people who flocked to the support of Hiss, who has been shown by later research and documents to definitely having been a Communist, are now lining up to support another traitor to the country, Edward Snowden.
Chambers book clearly shows that the American Communist movement was supported and directed by Moscow with the intent that the American government be overthrown by revolution. Although always denied by the Communists and their fellow travelers, that also seems to be beyond dispute. Snowden now sits in Moscow as a guest of Putin and the Russians. Thus he becomes somewhat of a darling of those who don’t necessarily have the best interests of America at heart. It causes one to wonder how far back Moscow’s reach influenced Snowden.
I mention Snowden because on Wednesday evening NBC will air an hour long interview with him that Brian Williams conducted in Moscow. If you watch it keep in mind Snowden is charged with treason to America. He has stolen NSA and CIA documents and turned them over to others for publication. His actions have damaged America since any diminution in our security is a gain for others intent on harming us.
When Snowden ended up in the hands of the Russians, the reaction from our America was not perceptible. It did nothing to show the Russians our great displeasure that it was harboring a traitor to this country. Relations continued pretty much as usual. Oh, yes, we did one thing. We send a delegation to Putin’s Olympics that was less than stellar, but that was it.
We know that with Snowden snuggling-in with the Russians he has to have given them some of our state secrets. We also know that Putin’s Russia and the Chinese are now joining together and have suddenly become aggressors toward other nations. Russia has invaded the Ukraine, seized part of its territory, and is threatening other parts of it and threatens certain of the Baltic states. China is claiming territory of other nations in the Pacific.
President Obama’s failure to act decisively against Putin when he took in Snowden may have laid the groundwork for these new aggressive behaviors. Regardless of whether it did or not, or whether it was the information disclosed by Snowden, our nation was hurt by the disclosures. We cannot know how much they emboldened those who have ill will toward us.
Snowden has given aid and comfort to the latter. Sadly, we are now going to be treated to a powder puff interview by Brian Williams, who will be assisted by Snowden’s publicist Glenn Greenwald, who finds much wrong with America, which will portray our country as some evil empire while telling us that Snowden should be receiving some type of award, perhaps the highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In the Chambers/Hiss matter we did not get fooled by those who made the enemy of our country, Hiss, into the hero. In part credit is due to J. Edgar Hoover’s knowledge of the great threat Communism posed to this country. Hoover wasn’t perfect, but in this one respect he was critically important.
Keep in mind Snowden is a traitor. His motives for becoming one are not material. Individuals have no right to turn over our state secrets to others to our detriment.
America with all its blemishes is still the shining light when it comes to freedom. The actions of the NSA which have become condemned by many who have deliberately misrepresented them were taken in good faith and under court supervision for the benefit of all of us. I know of nor have I read of anyone one who was adversely affected by anything that the NSA did. Its alleged sins are theoretical while we live in a world that is realistically dangerous.
Keep in mind that since Snowden’s betrayal we find ourselves back to the confrontation between those who believe in freedom and those who want to suppress it as existed in Chambers’s time. We’ve had a few years of relative peace but the storm clouds are on the horizen.
Chambers was wrong when in 1948 he suggested the forces of evil were going to win. We were able to defeat them. But they have not gone away and are planning to come back more powerful than ever with a Russia/China/Iran security alliance. Today we have no J. Edgar Hoover to buck up a wishy-washy administration that has allowed the unthinkable to come about which again may jeopardized our nation. Keep that in mind if you listen to Snowden’s interview.