Having been around the block a time or two, I guess
nothing should surprise me, but I have to admit I was
profoundly shocked by Ronald Radosh’s onslaught
against my work — and honor — in what professed to be
a review of my new book about Senator Joe McCarthy
(“The Enemy Within,” Dec. 17).

Had this Radosh effusion appeared in The New Republic
or Washington Post — where it would have been more
fitting — I probably wouldn’t have bothered to reply.
As it appeared instead in the once-beloved pages of
National Review, with which I have been connected
since its inception, I can hardly let these poisonous
charges against my writing, and my character, go

Though there may be some people qualified by their
expertise to read me a condescending lecture in the
matter of Joe McCarthy, Ronald Radosh is not among
them. As shown throughout his curious essay, his lack
of knowledge is extensive, bizarrely so in certain
cases, and made the worse by the strange inventions
with which the discourse is salted. How someone who
knows so little about a topic can set up shop as an
Olympian arbiter of it is quite a puzzle.

Consider in this respect Radosh’s handling of what was
arguably the most famous episode in the whole McCarthy
saga — the June 1954 confrontation in the
Army–McCarthy hearings between McCarthy and Army
counsel Joseph Welch. In discussing my treatment of
this encounter, Radosh concedes the point that I am
making — that Welch’s “have you no decency” plaint was
an act — but then adds the truly incredible statement:
“But the hearing’s larger question was about the
promotion of Army dentist Irving Peress to a higher
rank — and Evans’s claims of the supposed dangers
surrounding the dentist’s promotion do not hold up.”

This comment is so astounding I re-read it a couple of
times to make sure I wasn’t missing something, but
there it is: The larger question of the Welch–McCarthy
confrontation was the Peress case. But as everyone
knows who knows anything about the matter, this is
absurdly false. The colloquy in question and the
hearing of which it was a part had nothing to do with
the Peress case, but were focused on the issue of Fort
Monmouth — an entirely separate topic. Welch was
baiting McCarthy staffer Roy Cohn about an
intelligence report relating to alleged subversion at
Monmouth, and why Cohn hadn’t delivered this by the
fastest possible method to the Secretary of the Army.
It was in the course of this harangue that McCarthy
brought up the matter of Welch aide Frederick Fisher
and his former membership in the National Lawyers
Guild, prompting Welch’s famous challenge.

None of this had the slightest connection to Peress,
who wasn’t involved with Monmouth, had been stationed
elsewhere, and was the subject of other, separate
proceedings. Different person, different Army base,
different hearings. From all of which it’s apparent
that Ronald Radosh is clueless on the topic — doesn’t
know the first thing about it and apparently can’t be
troubled to find out, which he might easily have done
by reading the relevant sets of hearings. This
bespeaks not only ignorance of the issues but a
reckless indifference to the claims of fact that is
remarkable in any context — the more so considering
his lofty pose as an authority on McCarthyana.

(Radosh’s comment about my “claims” concerning the
Peress case also happens to be false, but there are so
many errors of this nature in his review that I can’t
possibly answer them all in a single letter.)

A similar indifference to facts of record appears in
the Radosh treatment of other cases. Notable among
these is yet another famous episode, the testimony of
Annie Lee Moss, a black woman working as a code clerk
for the Army who got called before the McCarthy panel.
Mrs. Moss having been named as a member of the
Communist Party by FBI undercover operative Mary
Markward, McCarthy wondered how someone so identified
could get a position as an Army code clerk. Mrs.
Moss’s answer was that they had nailed the wrong
person, that some other Annie Lee Moss was really the
culprit they were after. The case was immortalized by
Edward R. Murrow in his TV show back in the 1950s and
by actor-filmmaker George Clooney in a
Murrow-worshipping movie of 2005.

I devote a chapter to the Moss case, with references
to official records, including long-classified
archives of the FBI. According to Radosh, however, a
great failing of my book is that I am simply repeating
things long known to experts such as himself —
“well-trod ground” as he puts it — and my treatment of
the Moss case is allegedly of this nature. What I have
to say about the case, per the yawning Radosh,
practically nodding off from boredom, was already said
in 1983 by liberal anti-McCarthy biographer David
Oshinsky — “so this, too, is not new.” This comment
further shows Radosh knows nothing of the matters he’s
discussing, obviously hasn’t studied the case, and
doesn’t even seem to have read my chapter on it. My
treatment is nothing like Oshinsky’s — whose
discussion would lead the reader to believe that the
FBI confirmation of Moss’s CP membership was based on
the say-so of Markward.

My version is quite different, showing that the FBI
had in its possession the records of the Communist
Party, and wasn’t simply relying on the word of
Markward. The Bureau records, part of which I
photographically reproduce, reveal that Mrs. Moss was
indeed a member of the Communist Party, that Army
officials themselves had been trying to have her
ousted as a security risk only to be overruled at
higher levels, and that the FBI had clearly explained
the facts about the case to the Democratic contingent
on the McCarthy panel a good two weeks before the
Democrats and the sainted Murrow floated the bogus
story of multiple Annie Lee Mosses. All this may be
found in the records of the FBI, but none of it in the
pages of Oshinsky, or the musings of Ronald Radosh.

As important as such factual bloopers, in some ways
even more so, is the manner in which Radosh fills gaps
in his knowledge with reversals of the empirical
record in which he represents me as saying the exact
opposite of what I have actually written. This happens
so frequently as to suggest a deliberate tactic —
apparently on the premise that, if I didn’t say
something or other in defense of Joe McCarthy, I
should have, so that’s how Radosh describes it.
Following are a few examples:

Radosh says: “In a similar fashion, Evans supports
McCarthy’s outrageous assertion about Gen. George C.
Marshall.” I in fact wrote the opposite, in several
places, to wit: “McCarthy was quite right that an
immense conspiracy was afoot — especially with regard
to China — though erring as to the role of Marshall. .
. . Without trying to rehash the long career of
Marshall, a few examples may be cited to suggest the
factual errors in McCarthy’s thesis. . . . McCarthy
made his share of errors . . . [among them] the
Marshall speech . . . .”

(The “immense conspiracy” involved in all of this, by
the way, included a high-level U.S. scheme during
World War II to murder our anti-Communist ally Chiang
Kai-shek, repeated aid cut-offs to injure Chiang in
his struggle with the Chinese Reds, and a State
Department plot to overthrow him through a military
coup d’état when he sought refuge on Formosa-Taiwan.
All of this is documented in my book, but apparently
qualifies as more old-hat material well-known and
boring to experts such as Radosh, which is perhaps why
he doesn’t mention any of it.)

On the related case of Owen Lattimore, Radosh says:
“Evans seeks to justify McCarthy . . . by bending
evidence to imply, without proof, that perhaps
Lattimore was a spy.” Bending evidence? I in fact
wrote — contra the statements of leftward McCarthy
antagonist Millard Tydings that the FBI file on
Lattimore contained no charges of espionage — that the
files show such charges did exist in fair profusion
and were being avidly followed up by the Bureau. To
which I added: “As the investigation was ongoing, and
the redacted fragments are hard to judge, this doesn’t
mean the charges were true, or that if they had once
been true that they remained so in 1950. . . . As to
whether such charges were valid when McCarthy made his
later retracted ‘espionage’ allegation, given the
condition of the files, it’s hard to judge, but the
probabilities are against it (and even if the charges
were true it’s hard to see how McCarthy could have
proved them).”

In defending Lattimore from such charges, Radosh
devotes a fair amount of space to bashing ex-Communist
Louis Budenz, who repeatedly and quite credibly
testified that Lattimore had been named to him by
Communist leaders as a propagandist for the party
(and, incidentally, it’s sad to see the long-playing
left-wing smear campaign against Budenz being parroted
in the pages of NR). But Budenz didn’t testify that
Lattimore was engaged in Soviet intelligence
operations or spying. That testimony came from former
Soviet official Alexander Barmine, who told the FBI
and the McCarran committee that Lattimore and his
sidekick, Joseph Barnes, had been identified to him in
the 1930s as Soviet intelligence agents. Radosh,
accusing me of “bending evidence,” somehow neglects to
note this.

On yet another front, Radosh writes: “He [Evans] does
not emphasize, although his own data make it clear,
that most of the knowledge about these people came
before McCarthy was on the scene.” This is in some
ways the most remarkable statement of all, as I
repeatedly say the reverse, almost to the point of
monotony, e.g.: “As the records clearly show, his
[McCarthy’s] lists of cases and much of his
information about subversion in the Federal government
were derived from rosters previously put together by
the FBI, State Department security screeners, and some
of his congressional colleagues. . . . In the typical
instance, McCarthy’s charges broke no new ground” —
and many other comments of like nature.

This is going pretty heavy on the quotations, but they
are offered to suggest what degree of trust may be
placed in the assertions and paraphrases of Radosh as
to the contents of my book. As these instances
suggest, that degree of trust is roughly speaking
zero. All of which is very bad, but from my standpoint
by no means the worst of it. Far more disturbing is a
recurring ad hominem element in Radosh’s comments —
revealing a nasty penchant for turning a debate about
substantive issues into a species of personal slander.

At one point, discussing the Amerasia case of 1945 in
which official documents were funneled to a pro-Red
publication and the facts about this hidden from the
public, Radosh writes, “Evans tries hard to make it
appear the cover-up was something he discovered.” (No
evidence is presented for this snide assertion, nor
could it be, for none exists.) Even worse, in
referring to a book he and Prof. Harvey Klehr
published on the Amerasia case in 1996, Radosh
parenthetically says this was “a book from which Evans
takes virtually all of his material and which he does
not acknowledge.” This vicious statement is an
astounding, and outrageous, lie. My documentation of
the Amerasia fix, cover-up, grand-jury rigging,
wiretapping, and so on is derived from the files of
the FBI here in Washington, several thousand pages of
which I have in my possession, accumulated over a span
of years. It owes nothing to the Klehr-Radosh book, as
may readily be seen by scanning my end-notes and
comparing these to their annotations, which are based
on an entirely different indexing system, so that one
isn’t transposable to the other.

On the merits of the Klehr-Radosh book itself, I
should add that I have the utmost respect for Harvey
Klehr, an eminent scholar of these matters, and gave
the book a favorable review when it appeared a decade
ago — even though I am personally criticized in it (a
rare experience, I should think, in book-reviewing
circles). But I derived none of my FBI documentation
from it, provide material that isn’t featured in it,
and conversely don’t cover matters that it covers
because my materials differed in form and content from
those collected at Emory University, which has its own
archive of FBI files pertaining to Amerasia, a main
source of the Klehr-Radosh data.

(A single overlapping item from this source, unrelated
to the fix or the FBI, is a photo of Lattimore et al.,
obtained by my publisher from Emory with full and
proper acknowledgment given.)

I have now been a journalist for upward of 50 years,
most of them with some connection or other to National
Review. In all that span, many things have been said
about me and my work, not all of them positive in
nature. But at no point in my career has anyone to my
knowledge ever accused me of plagiarism, one of the
most serious charges that can be leveled at a
professional writer. Nor do I recall even my most
determined left-liberal foes, however much they might
disagree with me, accusing me of being in any way
dishonest. It remained for these sinister charges to
be made in the year 2007 by Ronald Radosh — in the
pages of National Review. What all that says about
Radosh, National Review, and me, I leave to the
judgment of the reader.

M. Stanton Evans
Washington, D.C.