"May I characterize the method of leadership in fascist and democratic countries as follows: In dictatorships people are led by coercion and lies. In democracies by lies only." Albert Einstein in a letter to Upton Sinclair, quoted in "Einstein, A Life," by Denis Brian, John Wiley, New York 1996
n February 4, 2005, I published an essay on the NY Times' contemporary report on the election held in South Vietnam on September 3, 1967. This election was a propaganda event staged by the US to lend an air of legitimacy to the two Vietnamese generals the US had hand-picked as leaders of the Saigon government and to shore up sagging support, using the "fledgling democracy" theme, for the escalating war on the home front.
My essay also showed that there were an additional 31,532 US combat fatalities from the date of the election until the US withdrew its combat forces and the Saigon government collapsed. Thus, to the extent that the Times' glowing report on the election delayed the formation of anti-war sentiment at home, it shares responsibility for those additional 31,532 combat deaths.
There remains one stone to be turned. Who was the author of the infamous Times report? Where is he now and what inferences can we make about him, especially regarding his affiliation in 1967? Surprisingly, he has left a rich trail of clues.
He recently completed two studies, under the auspices of the International Security Program (which lists him as a Research Associate) of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University:
- Israel in the Mind of America, 1983
- A Changing Israel, 1985
- Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles, 1994
- Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relation 1921-1996
- Operation Rollback: America's Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, 2001
and their biographical sketch of him is as follows:
- a historical work on international insurance
- a book on deregulation of the global electricity industry
Peter Grose, the former New York Times and Foreign Affairs editor, completed his historical work on international insurance at BCSIA this year, and is now in the last stage of publication of a book on deregulation of the global electricity industry. His latest previous book was Operation Rollback: America's Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, following upon his biography of Allen Dulles, Gentleman Spy. He periodically appears on the History Channel, CBS News, and C-Span to comment on the history of intelligence.
If a person is known by the company he keeps, the following is a significant addition to our knowledge of Peter Grose:
John M. Deutch
Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs
79 JFK St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
John M. Deutch is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as Director of Central Intelligence from May 1995-December 1996. From 1994-1995, he served as Deputy Secretary of Defense and served as Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology from 1993-1994. John Deutch has also served as Director of Energy Research (1977-1979), Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Technology (1979), and Undersecretary (1979-80) in the United States Department of Energy. [emphasis mine]
Items 6 and 7 of his publications lists two "studies," as distinct from "books." Their divergent subject matter and their classification as studies suggests they were done as contract work for which he was paid. Any clues regarding the sponsor of either of these studies would be helpful in determining his professional links, if any, to the CIA.
At first glance, item 6, "a historical work on international insurance," would seem to be far removed from anything the Agency might be interested in. However, on February 11, 2005, the New York Times published an article on the subject of North Korea's breaking off of the 6-power talks on the issue of their development of nuclear weapons which suggests otherwise. The relevant paragraphs are:
But he [Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi] is keeping in place a law scheduled to go into effect in three weeks that requires all ships over 100 tons calling at Japanese ports to have property and indemnity insurance. The bill was passed last year after one Japanese city had to pay $6.4 million to salvage a North Korean shipwreck and to clean up its oil spill.
While a seemingly bland piece of legislation, it was drafted with North Korea as the target. In 2003, only 2.5 percent of North Korean ships visiting Japan had insurance. In recent weeks, only one North Korean ship, a passenger-cargo ferry, is known to have purchased insurance. [NYT, Feb. 11, 2005, "Japan Leans on North Korea to Resume Weapons Talks," by James Brooke and David E. Sanger]
These paragraphs appear in the context of the US seeking graded means of exerting economic pressure on North Korea. The strategy described in these two paragraphs and their factual content suggests a detailed knowledge of the international marine insurance industry.
Fortunately, a chapter from his book, Operation Rollback: America's Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, published by Houghton-Mifflin, has been posted to the Internet. The chapter is titled: Overture: The Vexing "Mr. X," and it is a description of the transformation of George Kennan from an obscure mid-level State Department employee to the architect of the US policy of containment toward the USSR after the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Grose types Kennan as,
a minor and idiosyncratic member of an exclusive cadre of Soviet specialists in the State Department, unknown to the general public or indeed to anyone outside his own circle. Almost to a manů these tightly focused experts were contemptuous of Bolshevik manners and pretensions, contemptuous even more of American liberals of that era who looked upon Soviet Russia as a laboratory of social reform.In the next two sentences, Grose locates himself on the political spectrum:
In the New Deal years of the 1930s, intellectuals sympathetic to the Soviet experiment had gained an upper hand in Washington, from President Franklin D. Roosevelt on down. Dispatches from the likes of this Kennan, about purges and the murderous rampages of collectivization and communization, threatened the prevailing wisdom.This is a polite way of calling FDR and his government communist sympathizers, which is the perspective of the ultra-right in the US.
Peter Grose was probably recruited by the CIA when he graduated from college. His ultra-right politics were probably what made him interesting to the CIA recruiter. We can postulate an undergraduate interest in writing for publication and this is probably what governed his early assignments, one of which was a long stint at the NY Times, from which position he was able to produce news articles to mould public opinion as required to support US foreign policy.
Having retired some time in the early '90s, he associated himself with the Belfer Institute, which, among other things, acts as a clearing house for assignments for retired CIA agents.
The backward extrapolation of Peter Grose's career with the CIA to the September 3, 1967 NY Times article on the election in South Vietnam is the weakest link in this chain of inference. Its strongest support comes from the spin of the article itself and the low probability that he would have been susceptible to being recruited away from the Times in mid-career to the CIA.
If the inference is correct, it supports the following conclusions: