It's hard after so many years to be shocked by the bizarre behavior of Sen. Ted Kennedy, but Paul Kengor's discoveries about the malicious behavior of the Massachusetts Senator is quite amazing. I'll write more about it tomorrow. Below is an excerpt of Professor Kengor's amazing interview with Frontpagemag.com.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Paul Kengor, the author of the New York Times extended-list bestseller God and Ronald Reagan as well as God and George W. Bush and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. He is also the author of the first spiritual biography of the former first lady, God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life. He is a professor of political science and director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College.
FP: Paul Kengor, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
Kengor: Always great to be back, Jamie.
FP: We’re here today to revisit Ted Kennedy’s reaching out to the KGB during the Reagan period. Refresh our readers’ memories a bit.
Kengor: The episode is based on a document produced 25 years ago this week. I discussed it with you in our earlier interview back in November 2006. In my book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, I presented a rather eye-opening May 14, 1983 KGB document on Ted Kennedy. The entire document, unedited, unabridged, is printed in the book, as well as all the documentation affirming its authenticity. Even with that, today, almost 25 years later, it seems to have largely remained a secret.
FP: Tell us about this document.
Kengor: It was a May 14, 1983 letter from the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, to the head of the USSR, the odious Yuri Andropov, with the highest level of classification. Chebrikov relayed to Andropov an offer from Senator Ted Kennedy, presented by Kennedy’s old friend and law-school buddy, John Tunney, a former Democratic senator from California, to reach out to the Soviet leadership at the height of a very hot time in the Cold War. According to Chebrikov, Kennedy was deeply troubled by the deteriorating relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, which he believed was bringing us perilously close to nuclear confrontation. Kennedy, according to Chebrikov, blamed this situation not on the Soviet leadership but on the American president---Ronald Reagan. Not only was the USSR not to blame, but, said Chebrikov, Kennedy was, quite the contrary, “very impressed” with Andropov.
The thrust of the letter is that Reagan had to be stopped, meaning his alleged aggressive defense policies, which then ranged from the Pershing IIs to the MX to SDI, and even his re-election bid, needed to be stopped. It was Ronald Reagan who was the hindrance to peace. That view of Reagan is consistent with things that Kennedy said and wrote at the time, including articles in sources like Rolling Stone (March 1984) and in a speeches like his March 24, 1983 remarks on the Senate floor the day after Reagan’s SDI speech, which he lambasted as “misleading Red-Scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”Even more interesting than Kennedy’s diagnosis was the prescription: According to Chebrikov, Kennedy suggested a number of PR moves to help the Soviets in terms of their public image with the American public. He reportedly believed that the Soviet problem was a communication problem, resulting from an inability to counter Reagan’s (not the USSR’s) “propaganda.” If only Americans could get through Reagan’s smokescreen and hear the Soviets’ peaceful intentions.
So, there was a plan, or at least a suggested plan, to hook up Andropov and other senior apparatchiks with the American media, where they could better present their message and make their case. Specifically, the names of Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters are mentioned in the document. Also, Kennedy himself would travel to Moscow to meet with the dictator.Time was of the essence, since Reagan, as the document privately acknowledged, was flying high en route to easy re-election in 1984.
FP: Did you have the document vetted?
Kengor: Of course. It comes from the Central Committee archives of the former USSR. Once Boris Yeltsin took over Russia in 1991, he immediately began opening the Soviet archives, which led to a rush on the archives by Western researchers. One of them, Tim Sebastian of the London Times and BBC, found the Kennedy document and reported it in the February 2, 1992 edition of the Times, in an article titled, “Teddy, the KGB and the top secret file.”
But this electrifying revelation stopped there; it went no further. Never made it across the Atlantic. Not a single American news organization, from what I can tell, picked up the story. Apparently, it just wasn’t interesting enough, nor newsworthy. Western scholars, however, had more integrity, and responded: they went to the archives to procure their own copy. So, several copies have circulated for a decade and a half.I got my copy when a reader of Frontpage Magazine, named Marko Suprun, whose father survived Stalin’s 1930s genocide in the Ukraine, alerted me to the document. He apparently had spent years trying to get the American media to take a look at the document, but, again, our journalists simply weren’t intrigued. He knew I was researching Reagan and the Cold War. He sent me a copy. I first authenticated it through Herb Romerstein, the Venona researcher and widely respected expert who knows more about the Communist Party and archival research beyond the former Iron Curtain than anyone. I also had a number of scholars read the original and the translation, including Harvard’s Richard Pipes.
Below is the link to the complete Kengor inverview with Frontpage: