You may just think I am a red Jew son-of-a-bitch, but I'm keeping Thomas Jefferson alive." – IF StoneIf you don’t know who I.F. (Isidor Feinstein) Stone is dotn be suprised. He’s a relatively obscure figure in American journalistic history, although he has quite a wide following in left wing circles.
Stone was one of those New Deal leftists who worked closely with the Communists during the 30’s and 40’s. After being caught up by the House Un-American Activity Committees in the 50’s he spent the next few decades writing for a weekly he started.
There had always been rumors and allegations, some fairly credible, that Stone had worked directly for the Soviet NKVD (precursor to the KGB) or at least seriously entertained the idea, but nothing truly concrete and bullet proof was ever presented demonstrating that he was actively groomed by and accepted a position working for a Soviet intelligence organization.
That is until now.
The preeminent scholars of WWII/early Cold War Soviet espionage in the United States John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr have unearthed archival information from the former Soviet Union that would seem to confirm the worst suspicions about Stone.
Stone assisted Soviet intelligence on a number of such tasks: talent spotting, acting as a courier by relaying information to other agents, and providing private journalistic tidbits and data the KGB found interesting. In May 1936, for example, the KGB New York station told Moscow:Naturally this information hasn’t gone over well with Stone’s accolades including Eric Alterman (and Alterman’s propaganda organ FAIR) who worked with stone and considers himself an understudy and acolyte.Pancake (Stone) reported that Karl Von Wiegand works in Berlin as a correspondent for the Hearst agency “Universal Service.” He had been ordered to maintain friendly relations with Hitler, which was supposedly dictated by the fact that the German press was buying the agency’s information. Hearst is in a deal with German industry to supply the latter with a large consignment of copper. Wiegand does not agree with Hearst’s policy. He turned to Pancake’s boss for advice.Commenting on Stone’s work as a KGB talent spotter and recruiter, the KGB New York station reported, “Pancake established contact with Dodd. We wanted to recruit him [Dodd] and put him to work on the State Dep. line. Pancake should tell Dodd that he has the means to connect him with an anti-Fascist organization in Berlin.” William A. Dodd, Jr., was the son of the U.S. ambassador to Germany and an aspiring Popular Front activist with political ambitions. The KGB did recruit him, and Stone briefly functioned as Dodd’s intermediary with the KGB, providing him with a contact in Berlin when he went to join his father at the embassy. Stone also passed on to the KGB some information Dodd picked up from the American military attaché in Berlin about possible German military moves against the USSR and the name of a suspected pro-Nazi embassy employee.
So what do we have? I think the following: A man of avowed anti-Fascist sympathies, and to my mind, still-foolishly naïve about Stalin and the Soviet Union, agreed on a couple of occasions to help those whom he believed to be actually fighting fascism, while his own country, still mired in childish isolationism, preferred to look away.Alterman is very careful to parse his words in his article; he never directly comes out and says that Stone didn’t work for the Soviets, only that he wasn’t a “spy” and did it for the best of intentions. See, Stone only did to help America and freedome, not to undermine it. He also continually mentions the fact that the documents Klehr and Haynes’ rely on are only copies and we haven’t seen the originals … not that Alterman would directly cast doubt on their accuracy, rather he just throws it out so a "discriminating reader" can connect the dots on their own. It’s a pretty common tactic, one that Klehr and Haynes wrote about in their book “In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage” about academia’s unwillingness to accept just how rampant Soviet espionage was in the US and just how involved the Communist Party was in it.
Unfortunately, even The New Republic’s Marty Perez seems convinced.
Something tells me Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t approve of an American journalist working for a hostile collectivist totalitarian foreign entity.