In an April 7 Newsmax column, Kessler called attempts by some conservatives to "vindicate the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and his campaign to expose Soviet spies in the U.S. government" -- he doesn't name names, but they include Ann Coulter, M. Stanton Evans and Accuracy in Media -- "dangerous." Why? "The FBI agents who were actually chasing those spies have told me that McCarthy hurt their efforts because he trumped up charges, unfairly besmirched honorable Americans, and gave hunting spies a bad name." Kessler adds:
The problem was that the people McCarthy tarnished as Communists or Communist sympathizers were not the real spies. Often, the information McCarthy used came from FBI files, which were full of rumor and third-hand accounts.
While McCarthy said he would protect the names of witnesses, their names were leaked to the press, [Senate associate historian Donald] Ritchie says. Only half a dozen of the witnesses turned up in the VENONA intercepts, all minor figures in McCarthy’s investigations, he notes.
In the end, says Ritchie, “Not one of the 500 witnesses went to jail for perjury or contempt of Congress, whereas a lot of people who testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Senate Internal Security subcommittee were investigated, prosecuted and convicted, and served jail time. Yet McCarthy was constantly accusing people of having committed perjury and urging the Justice Department to prosecute them.”
Efforts to vindicate McCarthy by people who have never caught a spy ignore the fact that rather than helping the cause of dealing with the spy threat, he harmed it.
By sanctioning McCarthy’s intimidating tactics and dishonest charges against innocent Americans, revisionists dangerously invite history to be repeated, imperiling all of us.
Ouch. How will Coulter, Evans, et al, handle this?