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In fact, author M. Stanton Evans has produced a “‘McCarthyism’ by the Numbers” table naming 50 people identified by McCarthy, his aides, or in his committee hearings, and what is now known about them, based on official records. They are Soviet agents, Communists, suspects, or persons who took the Fifth rather than talk about communist or Soviet activities.

In total, the number was larger. Evans says, “All told, the McCarthy cases linked together in such fashion amounted to several hundred people, constituting a massive security danger to the nation. However, numbers per se were not the central issue. By far the most important thing about his suspects was their positioning in the governmental structure, and other posts of influence, where they could shape American policy or opinion in favor of the Communist interest. This they did on a fairly regular basis, a subject that deserves discussion in its own right.”

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The same question about influencing policy should now be front and center in the Benghazi probe.

But the other important question in regard to both scandals, then and now, is why a former high-ranking CIA official would take the position that McCarthy had somehow exaggerated the threat and failed to uncover even one spy. Sulick’s book includes praise from Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and former director of the NSA; Peter Earnest, executive director of the International Spy Museum (and a 35-year veteran of the CIA); and Burton Gerber, a retired CIA senior operations officer.

In his previous book, Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War, Sulick claimed that McCarthy “defamed civil servants with baseless charges” and was “eventually discredited” after his “smear campaign” was over. In this book, he says McCarthy was able to identify “no major Soviet spies.”

Sulick may feel that he has to go along with the liberal view of McCarthy in order to sell books. It may be that he is resentful that a member of Congress investigated a problem of infiltration that affected the intelligence community, of which he was a part.

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Whatever the motive, we are likely to see the same kind of resistance to a Congressional probe of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the intelligence community and White House.

The work has only just begun. The target can’t just be the White House. But it is a good place to start.


This piece originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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