In March 2019, Seth G. Jones issued an CSIS brief titled: “Russian Meddling in the United States, The Historical Context of the Mueller Report”
Here at The Chris Plante Show, we wanted to provide some excerpts that stuck out to us.
- During the Cold War, the Soviet Union established a global influence campaign, referred to as aktivnyye meropriyatiya—or “active measures.”4 They included such activities as disinformation (or dezinformatsiya), forgeries, agents of influence, front groups, and targeted assassinations.5 These efforts were “active” in the sense that they could take on a life of their own, and disinformation might eventually spread throughout newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and other media forums without additional Soviet involvement. Soviet active measures focused primarily on the United States, which it referred to as the “main enemy”
- One component of active measures was attempting to influence U.S. political campaigns. Well before the election of Ronald Reagan, the KGB and intelligence agencies from countries like Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) in the Warsaw Pact—the Cold War military alliance that included the Soviet Union and countries in Eastern and Central Europe—attempted to influence U.S. politics. In the 1960s, for example, the intelligence service from Czechoslovakia ran a propaganda campaign against U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for U.S. president. Moscow was deeply concerned about Goldwater’s anti-Soviet views, and Soviet and Czechoslovak agencies orchestrated a disinformation campaign labeling Goldwater as a racist and a KKK sympathizer. They produced and distributed printed material in the United States and overseas. “It was sent to many journalists and politicians,” recalled one former Czechoslovak intelligence official. “I think the result was much more successful in developing countries than here in the United States.”16 Still Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election campaign in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson.
- In the 1968 presidential election, the Soviet leadership and the KGB strongly opposed the anti-Communist Richard Nixon and secretly offered to subsidize the campaign of Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee. Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador to the United States, recalled that “the top Soviet leaders took an extraordinary step, unprecedented in the history of Soviet-American relations, by secretly offering Humphrey any conceivable help in his election campaign—including financial aid.”
- In 1976, Service A of the KGB again adopted active measures to disparage Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, an anti-Soviet hawk, in the presidential election. As Harvard historian Mark Kramer noted, “Service A prepared a wide-ranging set of measures to discredit Jackson, especially by falsely portraying him as a homosexual. The KGB sent forged FBI letters to leading U.S. newspapers and journalists claiming that Jackson was a closet gay.”18 Service A codenamed the operation POROK. For instance, the KGB forged an FBI memorandum dated June 20, 1940 which was allegedly from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and concluded that Jackson was gay. Service A distributed the memorandum to the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Topeka Capital, and Jimmy Carter’s Democratic campaign headquarters.19 In the end, Jimmy Carter beat out Jackson for the Democratic nomination, much to Moscow’s relief.
- On February 25, 1983, KGB headquarters instructed agents in the United States to start planning activities to defeat Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. Headquarters requested that KGB agents establish contacts on the staffs of every presidential candidate and in the Republican and Democratic party headquarters. KGB leaders asked residences abroad to send agents to take part in the operation in the United States. KGB headquarters made clear that any Republican or Democratic candidate—other than Reagan—would be preferable.23
Inside the United States, the KGB active measures campaign alleged that Reagan discriminated against minorities, that his administration was corrupt, and that he was too closely tied to the military-industrial complex. Outside of the United States, the KGB campaign painted Reagan as a war hawk who was engineering an arms race and catapulting the United States and Soviet Union toward nuclear Armageddon.
- As the KGB discovered following Reagan’s landslide victory in 1984, however, its ability to influence a popular president was limited. But it didn’t stop them from trying to influence U.S. politics in the late 1980s. As one FBI report concluded, “Soviet intelligence officers have already started to collect information on the 1988 Presidential candidates and their positions on various issues.” These operations targeted “Congressmen and other elected officials by front organizations, agents of influence, Soviet influenced organizations, and the CPUSA.”
The Mueller report highlights that the United States faces a range of threats from adversaries like Russia—along with others, like China. These U.S. adversaries are undemocratic; their populations have little or no say in electing leaders. Their officials support state-run economies, not free markets. Their governments control the media and abhor a free press. And they are directly challenging a U.S.-led international order since World War II that has been committed to free market international economic institutions, bilateral and regional security organizations, and democratic political norms.
U.S. enemies are not just at the gate, they are inside it. Americans need to put aside party policies and confront these threats to freedom and democracy.
You can read the full brief HERE
Now in 2009, Peter Robinson wrote an article in Forbes Magazine titled: “Ted Kennedy’s Soviet Gambit”
In the article, Robinson discusses Senator Ted Kennedy’s relationship with the Soviets. “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”
“Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. ‘The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.'”
Robinson also wrote that Kennedy offered to visit Moscow. “‘The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.’ Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.”
Read Peter Robinson’s full article HERE