A Big If

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If this allegation is true, Ted Kennedy has some very, very serious explaining to do. Sadly, I also don't think he ever will explain anything.

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.

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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.

This contact with the KGB would be highly improper – to the point of criminality. There are, of course, a few problems here that need to be addressed. Did Tunney actually go to the USSR during the time period and did he actually meet with the KGB? If so, was Tunney actually acting as a messenger for Kennedy? If so, did Chebrikov give an accurate account of what was said? A lot of 'ifs' here.

The other, probably insurmountable 'if' here should be apparent to everyone right now. The question of if the media will actually pick up on this or, as is more likely, will the media ignore both the book and the allegation. I think we all know the answer to that one. This may be a blogosphere uproar that never makes the transition to the MSM. The gatekeepers will not like having one of their favorites raked over the coals. Just as they largely ignored Kerry's improper contacts with the North Vietnamese, I doubt this one will get attention outside the right side of the blogosphere. I imagine the lefty mailing lists have already sent around instructions not to comment on this so as to 'deprive it of oxygen', to paraphrase Kos.

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