From Alger Hiss to Hillary Clinton: Republicans need to channel Nixon

From Alger Hiss to Hillary Clinton: Republicans need to channel Nixon

The GOP could learn a lot from studying how Nixon handled Alger Hiss.

California Congressman Richard Nixon enjoys a morning headline in 1950 announcing the conviction of Soviet spy Alger Hiss.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2015 – He was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law. He served as a government lawyer and eventually took a post in the U.S. State Department. While serving as director of the Office of Special Political Affairs, he helped organize the creation of international organizations, like the United Nations, to oversee the reconstruction of countries devastated by the second World War, which included the establishment of a global financial system still in effect today.

Oh, and Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy.

He was exposed by senior Time magazine editor Whittaker Chambers, a former Soviet spy ringleader working in the nation’s capital, whose Christian moral sensibilities reawakened during the Soviet purges of communist dictator Joseph Stalin.

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It’s telling that mass murder never furrowed the brow of Hiss, the stone-hearted Harvard elitist.

The Hiss case of the late 1940s elevated an obscure congressman from California to national prominence, who rose to the highest office in the land, earning the eternal hatred of the American left, Richard Nixon.

When Hiss was convicted and sent to prison in 1950, it wasn’t for espionage; the statute of limitations had run its course. Instead, Hiss was charged with two counts of perjury for lying about his passing secret State Department documents to his Soviet KGB handlers, documents that government experts determined were copies made on a typewriter found in the home of Alger Hiss.

“Hiss was a highly respected member of the Washington establishment,” says John Haynes and Harvy Klehr in their book “Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America.”

“Unbeknownst to the public and the press… Hiss had been very quietly eased out of the government by Truman administration officials who feared that he was a security risk and might become an embarrassment because of accumulating indications that he was in covert contact with Soviet intelligence.”

While we are on the subject of the illegal transfer of secret State Department documents, not one, but two inspectors general has asked the Department of Justice to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive government information stored on her unsecured home email server and a portable thumb drive.

“The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained ‘hundreds of potentially classified emails.’ The memo was written by Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of State for management,” said the New York Times.

Hillary has admitted to expunging emails she considered to be personal in nature.

“While [Hillary] Clinton was secretary of state,” noted David Sirota at Salon, “Her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton’s three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.”

Today, of course, the Justice Department has done nothing to investigate how the Clintons earned all that cash at a time the Obama administration was winding down America’s involvement overseas, thus paving the way for the rise of the Islamic State.

Republican members of Congress have been nothing if not incompetent on questions of oversight. Whether it’s Operation Fast and Furious, the Benghazi cover-up or the IRS/Federal Election Commission/Justice Department targeting of conservatives, Republicans never seem to do more than grandstand for the media.

Love him or hate him, Richard Nixon knew how to reel in an Ivy League,  pedigreed scoundrel ensconced comfortably in the cushioned confines of the unelected, permanent administrative state.

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Like today’s Republicans, Nixon faced an arrogant Democratic administration that refused to acknowledge the wrongdoing of its functionaries – even those in the employ of the communist butcher Joseph Stalin.

President Harry Truman shakes the hand of the first appointed U.N. Secretary General Alger Hiss.
President Harry Truman shakes the hand of the first appointed U.N. Secretary-General Alger Hiss.

As Nixon testified before a New York grand jury, then deliberating whether to indict Hiss for perjury, he had little confidence in President Truman’s Justice Department because it was not “particularly taken with the work of the [House] Committee on Un-American Activities.”

“Consequently,” Nixon continued,  “the Committee on Un-American Activities has not been able, frankly, to avail itself of FBI investigators and FBI laboratories to carry on our investigations, due apparently to the fact that the Department of Justice has so instructed the FBI.”

He further told the grand jury he employed the services of government agencies to provide their technical expertise in linking Alger Hiss to the stolen State Department documents, strengthening his case against the Soviet spy.

The grand jury, no thanks to the Justice Department or the FBI, indicted Hiss, who was later convicted and sent to rot in the Lewisburg Federal Prison for nearly a half decade.

In his book “Witness,” Whittaker Chambers recalled a meeting with Nixon at his home:

“I have a vivid picture of him [Nixon], in the blackest hour of the Hiss Case… saying in his quietly savage way (he is the kindest of men): ‘If the American people understood the real character of Alger Hiss, they would boil him in oil.’”

Nixon single-handedly brought a high-level Soviet spy in the Truman administration to justice without the cooperation of the Justice Department or the FBI.

In 1982, Federal Judge Richard Owen rejected a Hiss appeal of his 1950 conviction, saying, “Whether these claims are considered singly or together, they raise no real question whatsoever, let alone a reasonable doubt, of Hiss’ guilt.”

Nixon did such a thorough job, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Hiss’ appeal without comment.

If lick-spittle Republicans ever hope to get to the bottom of the Clinton scandals and, more importantly, get criminal convictions, they need to perfect, as did Nixon, their quiet savagery.

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