I’ve got answers.
There’s a new book on Ronald Reagan making the rounds, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. Its author, Paul Kengor, unearthed a sensational document from the Soviet archives. That document is a memo regarding an offer made by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts via former Senator John Tunney, both Democrats, to the General Secretary of the Communist Party, USSR, Yuri Andropov, in 1983. The offer was to help the Soviet leadership, military and civilian, conduct a PR campaign in the United States as President Ronald Reagan sought re-election. The goal of the PR campaign would be to cast President Reagan as a warmonger, the Soviets as willing to peacefully co-exist, and thereby turn the electorate away from Reagan. It was a plan to enlist Soviet help, and use the American press, in unseating an American president.
Think about that.
I received a review copy of The Crusader on Wednesday. The book first references the Kennedy plan on page 206, and includes the complete Soviet memo, dated May 14, 1983, in the Appendix. It’s an eye opener.
If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y. V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interview. Specifically, the board of directors of ABC, Elton Raul and the television columnists Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters could visit Moscow. The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.
Just, not the senator himself. Because collaborating with the leadership of a foreign state to unseat an American president, by whatever means, could be seen by Americans as treasonous. No fingerprints, that’s the rule. Who knew Reagan would win and then defeat the USSR, so this document could see the light of day?
The Kennedy KGB memo runs about four pages. If there’s an honest liberal left in the country, it would be nice to have their take on this revelation.
Update: Hoo-boy. The Congressional staffer who was suspended on suspicion of leaking the NIE has been revealed. He works for Democrat Rep. Jane Harman.
Update: I should clear up a misconception that’s making the rounds, and that’s the authorship of the memo. Ted Kennedy didn’t write the memo. The memo’s author is V. Chebrikov, head of the Committee on State Security of the USSR–the KGB. It seems to have been written as an after-action in response to a meeting with former Sen. John V. Tunney. Tunney had been sent to the USSR to propose the strategy on Kennedy’s behalf to Andropov. The timing of the meeting isn’t immediately clear from the memo, but if the meeting took place it was most likely in late April or early May 1983.
I think the next step here is to nail down the authenticity of the memo. If it’s real, then the story is obviously very significant. If it’s not real, there’s no story here at all.