Talk:Joseph McCarthy/Archive 1

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An event in this article is a February 9 selected anniversary


Joseph McCarthy - the politician besides his anti-communist campaign

I've inserted some content on his action prior to the witch-hunt from 1950 on, mainly regarding his first campaign against La Follete and some of his actions once he was elected senator. I find character assasination disgusting and he was a master at it.

Great Article!

I like to check back and see how articles I've had a part in are doing, and usually they degenerate into POV messes, but this one has flourished wonderfully! Great job every one: factual and pertinent! Amicuspublilius 6 July 2005 19:46 (UTC)

I.F. Stone was a much harsher critic of McCarthy than Murrow yet he is not mentioned in here. Here is one example.

The most subversive force in America today is Joe McCarthy. No one is so effectively importing alien conceptions into American government. No one is doing so much to damage the country's prestige abroad and its power to act effectively at home. [1]

The Wikipedia article on I.F. Stone has the following:

Although considered by many a standard for independent investigative journalism, much evidence points to Stone's involvement with the KGB in espionage and disinformation activities. It appears that Stone received payments from the KGB from 1944 to 1968, and Stone was known as agent BLIN in Venona cables [1] ( Oleg Kalugin, a former major general in the KGB who had worked as a press officer at the Soviet embassy in Washington, has also verified these claims.

I believe this is a very relevant addition that should be added into the Venona portion. --Zimbabwe Lovegun

OK, question: How was Senator McCarthy participating in the House Un-American Activities Committee? I had been under the impression the activities of the two were at least nominally separate. --Fubar Obfusco

You're right. He wasn't (according to the noted external link). --Reboot

The force of McCarthy's personality was so great that he virtually took over the anti-Communist movement in the United States, ultimately discrediting even legitimate concerns about Communist influence in various government bodies and other organizations.
  1. This sentence assumes that it is "legitimate" to have concerns about Communist influence in government bodies and organizations. (Compare: ultimately descrediting even legitimate concerns about capitalist influence in various government bodies) Legitimate is a hard word to use well NPOV-ly.
  2. Depending on what "ultimately" means in this context, this is not entirely true. As late as the 60s and the 70s--indeed, as late as the documents run--the FBI was investigating many people for ties to communism and having many of them fired.

Something like ultimately discrediting many investigations into Communist influence in government bodies--even ones which he took no part in. would be more neutral and more accurate. DanKeshet

I don't agree:

  • "Illegitimate investigations" -- pursuit of government employees for their political beliefs.
  • "Legitimate investigations" -- pursuit of moles, covert agents of foreign powers acting secretly within the government, like Alger Hiss.

It was the illegitimate McCarthyist pursuit of all sorts of innocuous citizens that discredited the legitimate pursuit of spies like Hiss. Ortolan88

That's your definition of legitimate; I didn't know until you said so. Some people thought it was "legitimate" to investigate civilians but "illegimate" to investigate soldiers. Given your clarification, then, I would prefer ultimately discrediting even investigations into agents of Communist countries acting within government bodies and other organizations. Is this what you meant in the first place?
But beyond the definition of legitimate, I still doubt the veracity of the statement. This paper says that McCarthy became a liability when he went after friends of other senators, but that the Cold War regime stayed very much in place. It seems highly illogical to me that the government would have difficulty continuing to pursue "legitimate" or "illegitimate" investigations of communists in government, then turn around and spend millions of dollars and 13 years investigating and harassing CPUSA under COINTELPRO. Admittedly, though, I haven't had the chance to study this period in American history very thoroughly. Do you have any starting points? Where did you get this statement from? Thanks, DanKeshet PS. Ortolan: Despite the fact we seem to disagree about many issues, I find it very pleasant working with you to fix up articles. :)


This article was short and punchy, but it was not rubbish. It is now long and boring, and still not rubbish, but I am not through contributing to it and I don't expect to hear any more about rubbish.Ortolan88 (signed properly more than a year later, so DanKeshet would know who was thanking him. Ortolan88 16:54, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC))

It was short. It wasn't necessarily punchy, i'd prefer the term "inaccurate" (McCarthy was nowhere near taking over the anti-communist movement, for a start, except as that movement was seen by the media). It spent a paragraph talking in a vague and unhelpful way about McCarthyism, a topic much better cover in on McCarthyism. A page on McCarthy should be about McCarthy, which is what it now is. Having said that I was probably crossing the line to call it 'rubbish', for which I apologise. "Boring" is a bad term to apply to an encyclopaedia article. Encyclopaedia articles aren't necessarily meant to be gripping, they're meant to be a useful source of information, which I believe this article now is, more so than it was before. --AW

Does anyone know what the copyright or rights involved in the government documents linked in "external links"? The prologue to the recently declassified documents is outstanding and gives a much more indepth history into McCarthy than we currently have. --Reboot

Quite a lot of content was removed in recent edits... didn't seem that it was that POV... wouldn't rephrasing be better? -- Wapcaplet

The stuff removed was POV. I tried to rewrite it in a NPOV way. Some things there is dispute about, and can't be regarded as factual, and so were removed. If I removed anything factual, please reinstate it. However, please note that due to the emotional nature of McCarthys actions, it is hard to find honest reporting on him. Original transcripts of Senate hearings and the like are the only evidence I can really trust on this issue. There was also some stuff that more appropriately belongs in the article on McCarthyism. I will be editing that article shortly. Sorry if my edits seemed too bold.
Good point. Now that I look closer at it, the stuff you removed was rather wishy-washy and wandering. Your version is definitely better. Keep up the good work :) -- Wapcaplet
Anyone who contributes a link to something called "How the Marxists in America Destroyed Joe McCarthy" can hardly be considered neutral on the subject. -- Zoe
Zoe, the fellow made substantial edits, and from what I can see he made real NPOV improvements. Removing someones entire work because you don't like one part of it seems a bit excessive. On any emotionally charged political issue or bit of history, there will be contrasting views. You may not like the link he provided, but it too fills in a part of the story readers of the Wikipedia need to be aware of. -- Moshe Nackmen

I'm going to revert this as Zoe did. I tried to work within the edits but as I looked this over thoroughly and it is full of subtle factual errors (for instance how did Roy Cohn launch the investigation against the Army after he resigned???). The edits seem to be an attempt to subtly vindicate McCarthy or make it seem like he was the victim of some press conspiracy. I'm reviewing the declassified government documents which are far more authorative and contain actual transcripts than the opinion papers used by this author as source material for his edits. -Reboot

Roy Cohn didn't resign until the Army hearings turned into a major fiasco. Your declassified government documents tell important parts of the story, but not the whole story. Could we have less hand-waving and more facts? If you got this wrong, what else have you gotten wrong in the article, but are refusing to admit to yourself? -- Moshe Nackmen

You regularly attend synagogue -- that's why you link to virulently anti-Semitic articles? -- Toby 13:16 May 7, 2003 (UTC) [on User talk:Moses ben Nachman]

My rabbi says, and I agree with him, that the only safety for my people is to be honest with each other, and with others. As soon as you start dismissing the truth, you stray from reality, and set yourself up for a hard fall. The article, which I quickly glanced over, seemed factual and well researched. If you don't care about the truth, and objective fact, I suggest that you don't bother involving yourself with an Encyclopedia project. To mention the fact that Bugsy Seigel was a Jew is no more anti-Semitic than it is to say that Boss Tweed was Irish. The article on McCarthy and Roy Cohn falls into the same category. Please, get over yourself. You are giving me a lot of pain and heartache. I really worry for the future of my daughter in a world like this, where people are actively trying to alienate the Gentiles against me and my kin. Remember the pogroms! -- Moshe Nackmen

So your rabbi advised you to blow the lid on the international Jewish conspiracy, eh? And make no mistake, that's what you're claiming if you call the reactor-core article "factual". After all, there's a difference between stating that Roy Cohn was a Jew and stating that "the Jews" as a nebulous whole were behind McCarthy's downfall.

Perhaps you didn't read the article carefully enough; here are some choice quotations:

  • "International Communism and international finance -- the twin thrusts of Jewish power -- were both ill-served by the attention McCarthy drew to the issues of loyalty and subversion."
  • "If the Senator had taken account of Jewish traits -- especially their bent for deception, which goes far beyond anything encountered in the Gentile world -- then perhaps he would have braved the charges of "anti-Semitism" rather than tolerate Jews on his staff."
  • "[...] Sokolsky was well-placed to accomplish much for the Jewish obsession with the New World Order [...]."

You can find more by searching for the string "Jew". Despite the article's title, it's not at all about how "Marxists" destroyed McCarthy; it lays the blame squarely on "the Jews".

As for the alleged tendency to characterise criticism of individual Jews (like Cohn) as anti-Semitism, let me note that I believe that Ariel Sharon deserves to be brought before The Hague on charges of war crimes (both for 1982 and for 2000+). There are some that would call that belief inherently anti-Semitic, but of course it is not. On the other hand, blaming a nebulous international Jewry for political events through control of "international Communism and international finance" is indeed anti-Semitic.

I don't suppose that I'll have much to say if you start objecting to the above -- there's that bit about feeding the trolls. The nature of the link is now laid bare for any future editors, so they won't be tempted to put it back in to provide balance.

-- Toby 04:35 May 8, 2003 (UTC)

Instead of reverting and re-reverting, could somebody please add a list of authoritative published books or articles about McCarthy? Surely the man had at least one biographer competent enough to have done real research as to whether, for instance, he was a "social drinker" or a "heavy drinker". Those references are how I and others can determine whether the claims made in this article are true, or have been made up by somebody sneaking in a POV. Stan 18:29 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

From,1,2134751.story (you need to register to read their articles, but if you do, you'll see that this is what they say): McCarthy was censured by his colleagues in 1954 for conduct unbecoming a senator and his public stature quickly faded. A heavy drinker, he died at age 48 in 1957.. I'm putting back the bit about his drinking. -- Zoe

I poked around the web in an idle moment, and there seems to be general agreement about the heavy drinking. But interestingly, there also seems to be 4-5 different immediate causes of death cited, although none of them quote a well-researched biography by name, so I don't know which one to believe. Stan 02:38 May 8, 2003 (UTC)

Although there seems to be no universally accepted convention for doing so, I wish to cite my edits from yesterday as having used the Intro to the declassified documents linked in external links section (link #1). My second set of edits, this morning, sourced the NPR broadcast (link #2).

I'd like to see us fill out more about McCarthy's gang of reporters (who presumably hung around because he was such a fun guy to drink with) and the role of the media in McCarthism. I'd also like to fill out more about Roy Cohn and the rumored homosexuality of McCarthy (which was false) and Cohn (which was true) being thought to have perhaps brought his attack on homosexuals. Secondly, I'd like to show some more depth on some of the folks who were ruined by McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities. To pull this off I need to find a cleaner seperation between McCarthy and I suppose the Era of McCarthism as well as the subtopics.

I'd like to research Roy Cohn a little more closely. According to yesterday's NPR broadcast: as a Jew he decided to be as some sort of American avenger and ironically targeted Jews a little more heavily than others. McCarthy never seemed to have racial or anti-semitic motives in his targeting/attacks. The rumors of both McCarthy and Cohn's homosexuality actually might have not only hastened McCarty's marriage but brought on McCarthy's crusade against homosexuals and Sexual perverts. Cohn later proved to be a homosexual. I'd like to find out if he actually did play a part in the short lived crusade against homosexuals and "other sexual perverts". It would make him indeed an interesting character having attacked two minorities of which he was a member!

Any assistance is indeed appreciated on any of these points.

While I'd like to cover these things, I'd like to do it in a way that does not detract from the impact of the article and preserves a balanced and factual account. I realize the article is somewhat controversial even today (though I did not know that in advance) due to the ideological views of some of the participants; however, I appreciate the efforts of everyone to use reference material and facts rather than their mere opinion or belief system. I have full confidence in our abillity to create a balanced factual presentation on McCarthy, McCarthism and the other characters in this interesting history without watering down force and subject of the article. Controversy can be avoided by citing it here and scruitinzing non-credible sources.

- Reboot May 8 09:38AM (EDT)


Please do not remove the NPR link. I used it as source material and secondly it was rather authorative as several authors and experts were interviewed on the subject of McCarthy. There was some great information which adds balance.

- Reboot May 19 00:32 (EDT)

A lot of this Roy Cohn material needs to be split out into its own article. -- Zoe

Sounds like a good idea, care to give it a go? They should still be linked. -- Reboot ---

His hunt was made easier in the backdrop of the Great Depression where many desperate Americans had joined "labor fronts" and other organizations which later became associated with communism. Mr. Cohn, having reached his maturity after the depression reportedly could not sympathise with this and pursued such individuals with vigor. In his "memoirs" he reported that a retired university professor had once told him "that had I been born twelve or fifteen years earlier my word-view and therefore my character would have been very different."

This belongs in an article on Cohn. --Len


I think we need more detail on the tactics McCarthy used and some statistics between those he indicted and those who actually were communists. --Reboot

Agreed, but it isn't trivial to find the data. Most McCarthy mentions on the web are broad and hysterical--for example, tying him to the HUAC, blaming him for the Hollywood blacklisting that took place before he even came onto the scene, etc. A simple list, of the people he actually accused, should be a matter of public record, but isn't yielding to spare-time searches. --Len

I'm curious about the external links. They are all regarding how unfairly treated McCarthy apparently was, and how he was a great guy regardless. It seems a bit one-sided to me. -- goatasaur 15:22 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Yes, the issue of the links is rapidly turning into an edit war, but it's obvious we shouldn't be linking only to such one-sided articles. I removed them (again). Evercat 14:07 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)
To anon: Feel free to explain how linking only to a whole bunch of far-right sites about how wonderful McCarthy was can possibly be NPOV. I await your answer, here. Evercat 19:52 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

You are saying that facts are irrelevant, if they are presented by the "wrong" people? The NPOV clearly says that we need to be neutral and balanced. Excluding a viewpoint isn't allowed just because a few people don't like it; but it is much worse to discard actual facts because they don't agree with your political views. This isn't the place to push communist propaganda. I am very concerned by what seems like a lack of regard for the truth. I am going to put the links back until you point out factual errors in them, instead of complaining that the articles were written by people with a different political ideology than you. Innocent until proven guilty! --

NPOV means presenting both sides of the debate, not just yours. There could possibly be a place for one or two of your links, but not without some balance. It should be obvious that linking only to sites on one side of the debate is not NPOV. Evercat 20:10 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

There is no debate here, just trying to get the facts heard. There are many inaccuracies in the article, which keep being reverted. The least you can do is allow the articles to be linked, since they do deal strictly with the facts of the case. Wikipedia biographies should be designed as factual articles, not as smear pieces promoting the viewpoint of the far left. Remember, balance and neutrality. Far-left apologetics is not neutrality! The idea of balance you are promoting seems to be "I want to tell people you are an axe-murderer, and you want to present facts that would lead people to believe this wasn't true. Let's find a balanced compromised; just let me say you beat up your taxi driver while you stay silent." That attitude is clearly contrary to the intent of the NPOV. --

I invite you to read NPOV dispute, from which I quote:
Neutrality is all about presenting competing versions of what the facts are. It doesn't matter at all how convinced we are that our facts are the facts. If a significant number of other interested parties really does disagree with us, no matter how wrong we think they are, the neutrality policy dictates that the discussion be recast as a fair presentation of the dispute between the parties.
Evercat 20:28 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Moved from User talk:Moses ben Nachman:

I think [the links] should be there, but properly categorized, and described (see Wikipedia:Describe external links). --Eloquence 00:27 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

That's a very good idea. I'll do that. Evercat 11:08 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I write this article with no right or left point of view. I've completely deleted all of the socialist ranting as well as the right-wing ranting. I understand that there are those who wish to demonize him further than the article does, and I understand that there are those who want to make him out to be some kind of hero. I want to tell about WHO he was, WHAT he did, WHEN he was. I don't want this to be some watered down wish wash but at the same time I don't want this to be POV. Note that the only links that I've left are the ones I used to write pieces of the article. I invite you to pick NPOV sources and add NPOV information. Don't draw pre-suppositions. Thus far I see "here are 10 opinion essays telling us what a great guy McCarthy was" that have NOTHING to do with the content of the article. Add content, add unbiased fair content or go focus on an issue you have less of an opinion on. For instance, I don't contribute to anything more than *stub* articles ("this is a") about anything I know I cannot write an unbiased article on although I might be regarded as an "expert" on those topics. Thus far I've deleted (and will continue to) any NON-factual articles linked from here. Factual = no references, just proof or based strongly on logical fallacies or one-sided views. -- I will continue to delete any links to socialist, conservative or whatever sources. I will continue to preserve unbiased or balanced articles and those that were used to write this (which should fit that criteria)

-- Reboot

Thank you, that's exactly what I did several times, but after someone continued to revert them, I decided to leave them until someone else agreed with me. :-) Evercat 11:31 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

If a neutral article is linked that isn't a mere editorial or opinion essay but rather from a reliable source, I'll leave it in. However, I would prefer to see that it is source for article content not just "Here are all my favorite conservative weeklys" save that for your homepage... Ad hominem attacks on me or calling the article communist propeganda is just silly. I looked through the articles, and matched them up to the logical fallacies page, but generally it turns to "prove a negative" which of course is pretty difficult. Rather than resorting to a Denile of Service attack on this article and people trying to write an NPOV article, why not try and do some actual research. You have the declassfied senate hearings. You should be able to find period news paper pieces. Maybe you can find enough information to prove that McCarthy was a saint that saved the country from communism. Thus far there aren't facts that support this view, just opinion essays. These do not constitute information worthy of an encyclopedia. Flip open Britannica and turn to the bibliography and aside from the "ultra-conservative" or "American Communist Party" see if "conservative weekly" opinion essays or editorials of "the new socialist" periodicals are linked as reliable sources of information. If they are, my bad, prove it, I'll remove my objection and we can call up ol' Rush Limbaugh and see what he thinks of McCarthy and rewrite the article as dittoheads.


Your argument is illogical and extreme. I regard McCarthy as a hideous intimidating demogogue but I find the idea that you claim the right to censor links supportive of him frankly McCarthyite. NPOV does not mean neutral links, it means neutral text, with links provided to allow a full understanding of the views held. Wiki articles regularly put links on to various sides of the argument, even the nutty sides of a one sided argument; I have done so on numerous occasions even where I regard the link's contents as utter garbage. (A Seventh-day Adventist nutty link to claims about how the pope wears a tiara with words that link to 666 on it, for example. No tiaras containing the words actually exist. The whole thing is a figment of a SdA anti-catholic paranoia. I also put on a link to a Roman Catholic rebuttal and a link to where both sides debated the issue.) The reader has a right to know of such links so they can read them and make up their own mind on it, not have you have it up for them.

I have reverted to reinsert the links. I have also added:

  • a long list of books written about McCarthy and McCarthyism, written from the 1950s to the present day;
  • additional neutral links;
  • a list of critics of McCarthy links to balance the defenders list there.

If you really wanted to NPOV the links rather than censor them, that is what you should have done, provided a balance not censored those links you don't like.

I have also rewritten the opening paragraph which was severely flawed and inaccurate in its definition of McCarthyism. FearÉIREANN 07:29 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Re 217's question. I didn't deliberately. I got stuck in an edit conflict and sometimes stuff can be edited and re-edited by people simultaneously and so changes may get lost when finally a save works. If any changes were lost I will try to retrieve them. I wasn't working on the text of the article, merely its opening paragraph and bottom links. FearÉIREANN 07:41 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Thanks JT, I think it's fine as long as there's balance in the links, rather than only having links to one side of the debate. Evercat 14:07 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I quickly skimmed the article but was unable to glean from it whether McCarthy was "on to something" or "full of beans". This is rather disappointing for such a lengthy encyclopedia article.

I really would like to be able to use the Wikipedia to help me figure out whether McCarthy was just persecuting people under the pretext of anti-communism, or what?

Were there, or were there not, spies passing US government secrets to the Soviets during the McCarthy era?

Did McCarthy do anything to expose and/or punish these spies, or not? --Uncle Ed 19:22, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There were spies in the US Government. Read "Treason" by Ann Coulter

There were spies, but I'd suggest a somewhat more reliable source than Ann Coulter, the real world's equivalent of a Slashdot troll. In any case, the article now includes some information on where McCarthy was right. --Delirium 06:34, Aug 31, 2003 (UTC)

I added a short bit at the end of the section on McCarthy's fall to note the early opposition of Margaret Chase Smith to his tactics. If anyone has any other notable examples of earlier opposition to McCarthy, it should be added. In the Senate itself, I know only of Smith and her six supporters. To anticipate a question, I felt it should be at the end of the section, rather than the beginning, because it was not the direct cause of McCarthy's downfall (that distinction goes to the Army-McCarthy hearings) but it is certainly worth noting.
--Xinoph 12:14, Apr 3, 2004 (UTC)

Has anyone considered that the CIA and FBI may have been well aware that there were spies but thought it better to monitor them rather than expose them?

Exile 13:50, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

NPOV dispute - still?

The NPOV dispute tag on this article is more than a year old, and I don't see any recent arguments here. The dispute over external links appears to have been solved by providing a number of partisan links both for and against McCarthy, which are clearly labeled as such. To me, this is now a very thorough and balanced article and no longer needs the tag. If no one says otherwise in the next week or so, I'll remove it. Hob 06:04, 2004 Sep 3 (UTC)

  • No one said anything. I'll remove the tag. Quadell (talk) (help)[[]] 01:25, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Well, one thing that still looks questionable to me is this statement in the VENONA section: "regardless of the specific number, McCarthy consistently underestimated the extent of Soviet espionage". I'm not sure that is a logical conclusion, since it's comparing a total number of "at least 349 people in the United States" with McCarthy's various figures on communists in the government. But even if anyone wants to argue over the phrasing of that bit, I don't think the whole article needs the NPOV tag. Hob 06:04, 2004 Sep 3 (UTC)

Meaning what?

The article on McCarthy contains the following sentence:

Upon his ascension, McCarthy essentially re-staffed his Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, often not dismissing the predecessor.

The predecessor of what, one may ask. Readers should not be forced to guess. I can't change it because I do not know what idea the original writer was trying to express. 金 (Kim) 06:28, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • That sentence confused me too. It seems to go straight from the Senate investigation in 1954 of the Army matter (McCarthy's downfall) to his "ascension" and restaffing. Could anyone take a stab at this? Quadell (talk) (help)[[]] 01:25, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
  • I reorganized some parts of this article, moving some bits to the Roy Cohn article, and moving other bits around. That questionable sentence got dropped. If anyone knows what it meant, feel free to add the info back in. Quadell (talk) (help)[[]] 11:39, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Broken link

"to a very large extent, history has vindicated the basic thrust of his anti-communist crusade,"???

This second paragraph:

"McCarthy has been much maligned by various groups, often falsely. However, to a very large extent, history has vindicated the basic thrust of his anti-communist crusade, even if some individual charges have been disproved. The VERONA decrypts have shown McCarthy's charges of widespread communist subversion within the United States Government were largely accurate."

Has history actually vindicated McCarthy? Maybe in Ann Coulter's world, but in general her book has been discredited...

The fact that "some" of the hundreds of people persecuted by McCarthy actually turned out to be communists does hardly seems to mean that what he did was, in fact, OK. and "correct."

  • Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy, Appendix A, 7. The Cold War; "proof that there had been a serious attack on American security by the Soviet Union, with considerable assistance from what was, indeed, an 'enemy within.' The fact that we knew this was now known to, or sufficiently surmised by, the Soviet authorities. Only the American public was denied this information." nobs 18:24, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
I can't find your first quote in the cite. The second quotation is seriously misquoted.
  • By 1950, when it was learned that Weisband had revealed the existence of the VENONA project to the Soviets, the United States Government possessed information which the American public desperately needed to know: proof that there had been a serious attack on American security by the Soviet Union, with considerable assistance from what was, indeed, an “enemy within.” The fact that we knew this was now known to, or sufficiently surmised by, the Soviet authorities. Only the American public was denied this information.
They are saying they needed proof, not that they had proof. -Willmcw 02:40, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, the links got screwed up (had Chairmans Forward instead of Appendix A.6); second cite reads,
the United States Government possessed information which the American public desperately needed to know....Only the American public was denied this information.
I read to say the US. gov. knew, the Soviets knew the US. gov. knew, the US. knew the Soviet gov. knew the US. gov. knew, only the American people were denied knowledge. nobs 02:56, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the correction. Anyway, since the text has been removed it's a moot point. Cheers, -Willmcw 07:28, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
The operative phrase from the above passage really is "serious attack on American security", all conspiracy theories aside. The point is, the U.S. government (with the exception of a few congressional reports like Morgenthau Diary, Subversive Activities Control Board Report, etc.) never published such a strong and high profile finding admitting as much, muchless admitting the American public (i.e., media, etc) was kept in the dark until the mid to late 1990s. nobs 19:23, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Drug addiction?

I was under the impression that McCarthy was a drug addict -- that a pharmacy near the Senate had permission to fill morphine prescriptions for McCarthy

Harry Shapiro's book, "Waiting For The Man", mentions that McCarthy had a special exemption from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to recieve cocaine and morphine without doctors' prescriptions. Harry Anslinger, then-head of the FBN, in his autobiography, mentions an important politician who is using those drugs. While McCarthy is never mentioned by name (he may still have been alive at the time). enough allusions and references are used to strongly suggest the politician in question is McCarthy.

I heard he liked to wear womens underwear too

Owen Lattimore

McCarthy also accused Johns Hopkins University professor Owen Lattimore of being the number one Soviet spy in the United States. It was later confirmed that Lattimore too was indeed a Soviet agent [2].

I removed the allegation that Owen Lattimore was a Soviet spy. The external link to FBI documents released under the FOIA do not, in fact, demonstrate this claim. The Owen Lattimore page states merely that "speculation" regarding Lattimore's alleged treason continues to this day. Also, Lattimore is not mentioned on the Venona page, so the claim does not belong in the "Vindicated by Venona" section. Peter 05:51, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I removed the allegation again for the same reasons as above. I would add that the proper place to debate Lattimore's guilt or innocence is on the Owen Lattimore page. Peter 00:48, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I note the defenders of McCarthy are labeled "conservative," while the critics are not labeled "liberal." Is this deliberate? Is it fair?

Re: Overall impression of the article, I found much of it used opinion and semantically slanted wording. I even added some of my own to see if they would be cut out and other opinion left in. For example, the sentence containing "testifying to other Senators' fear of McCarthy's political attacks" attributes a cause to other senators' actions which is speculation." I added "possibly," though would have basically just cut out the speculation as to senators' motives. Unless those senators published their motives somewhere!

One paragraph lists many politicians, most of whom are essentially unknown except to political junkies, and ALL of them were disparaging toward McCarthy. There was no listing of politicians who supported McCarthy, though many existed, including John F. Kennedy, so I added this statement.

Finding unbiased info about McCarthy is difficult after years of demonizing by certain elements. A mythology has grown up which is much different from fact. Luckily, I grew up during those years and remember much that was going on. (

Your edits, while sometimes factual, either rehash, repeat or completely cover a fact in your POV. Because you were there doesn't mean you've got some monopoly on facts or the right to blatantly slant those facts.--TheGrza 02:06, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)

Well, gee, not quite so. Is the John F. Kennedy statement praising McCarthy elsewhere covered in this piece? Are not all the derogatory statements left in and the praise left out? Is not supposition left in if it is unfavorable to McCarthy? Is not the information that, indeed, Truman and those in his administration trusted and stood up for their fellows who were Soviet agents left out of the Truman/McCarthy conflict? And I have not claimed monopoly of facts. I have suggested that some folks, perhaps you from your comments, are biased. I agree, by the way, tha tsome of my statements were supposition--but the point is, you delete my suppositions while leaving those in which reflect badly upon McCarthy. But those are suppositions nonetheless, or as you say, POV. But thanks anyway. It's good to see bias revealed.


Don't presume bias, especially when none has been exhibited. I don't deny your facts (I'd like a little backup, but I don't deny them). The problem isn't your facts, it's the incredibly biased way you presented them. Most of the comments in the article have been fought over, discussed, debated and settled upon. If you don't like any of them, start a conversation here. Wikipedia is based on the trust that those participating are trying to make Wikipedia (1) Awesome and (2) bias-free (in this case). Presuming anything else doesn't help with 1 or 2 and balancing bias with other bias (the old two wrongs issue) is a terrible way to improve an article.--TheGrza 23:43, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)

Howdy, SailFree here again. I am still suggesting that you print supposition and bias when it is anti-McCarthy, and then hypocritically claim that you avoid bias when you refuse to print any supposition favorable. For example,

"One of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods came in an episode of the TV documentary series See It Now, by respected journalist Edward R. Murrow, which was broadcast on March 9, 1954. The show consisted mostly of clips of McCarthy speaking, so any negative reaction would be mostly from McCarthy hanging himself, as it were. In the clips McCarthy does such things as accusing the Democratic party of "twenty years of treason" (1933-1953, in his estimation), and berating witnesses including an Army general."

I note that the rather quirkily phrased comment does not at all consider that the "documentary" could be quite biased by its use of selective editing, much as the infamous Michael Moore "documentary" about George W. Bush. That would negate the "hanging himself" claim.

In addition, the following is pretty much supposition substantiated by more supposition and rumor:

"In addition to being a heavy drinker, Senator McCarthy may have been addicted to morphine. In his 1961 memoir "The Murderers", Harry Anslinger, U.S. Commission of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, admitted to regularly supplying morphine to "one of the most influential members of the Congress of the United States." Although Anslinger's depiction is melodramatic at best, the story strongly suggests that the senator was Joseph McCarthy. This theory was supported by Anslinger's biographer John C. McWilliams in "The Protectors."" ((Sort of National Enquirer encylopedialization here.))

I note someone expresses interest in the facts that Joe McCarthy was respected by John F. Kennedy and that Joe McCarthy was the godfather of Bobby Kennedy's first-born child, Kathleen. These were documented in a biography of McCarthy that I cited. But those facts, reflecting favorably on McCarthy, were deleted.

I am not without reason suggesting some bias here.


Sail Free: Those are important and worthy biographical points—and extremely interesting. Reading the article now, I've discovered that McCarthy was not a monster, that he in fact was human, nevertheless still an idiot. I think it is approaching balance. Those biographical elements would be helpful and insightful. So please reinsert them. Thank you. nobs 01:12, 10 October 2005 (UTC) [edit]

VENONA files

I would suggest to "SailFree" that he or she create and use an account. This makes it easier to discuss who has changed what. I presume "SailFree" is the same person who made all the changes attributed to
The John Kennedy quote strikes me as a good addition to the page, although I'd like to see a reference. In fact, supportive quotes of prominent politicians would make a nice section. But, it should be done in such a way that the reader can decide for themselves whether this is an endorsement of Joseph McCarthy or an exposure of poor judgment among leading politicians. If McCarthy was really the godfather of one of JFK's daughters, this would also be worth including.
Also, I don't see a good reason to refer to various parties as "liberal" or "conservative". There are people who can be labelled "conservative" who don't like McCarthy and there are people labelled "liberal" who did. JFK, for example, could be seen as a liberal and apparently supported McCarthy.
I do feel the edits by were overly bold and not carefully prepared. I support the decision to revert them, although I do feel there is some content that could be cleaned up and reasonably included in the article.
I have a specific issue with the comments relating to VENONA, and with the current VENONA section in the article: VENONA does not reveal the name of a single agent of the Soviet Union. Code words were used and the names attached to those code words are speculation. It is factually inaccurate to state the McCarthy was vindicated in the specific with regard to any particular person he accused of espionage. However, VENONA does show that there was an active Soviet espionage effort in the United States in the 1950s. Some people seem to feel that this is a vindication of McCarthy and a quote by a prominent representative of this faction would be nice to include. Peter 02:12, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
As to Venona: McCarthy began with a half truth; McCarthy alleged there was a huge underground Soviet apparatus made up of government employees and the Truman administration was doing nothing about it. The half truth is there was indeed a huge underground Soviet apparatus operating within the government in Wartime; the other half truth is the Truman administration didn't know about the Venona_project#Significance, so it was distrustful of FBI reports cause Truman didn't know the material originated in the Signals Intelligence Service; Truman thought it was FBI hype coming from J. Edgar. So whose to blame? No one. Cause ultimate the decision of General Bradley to keep existence of the program secret was probably the right decision, however, this is the question that needs to be debated today. Those seeking to demonize someone, be it McCarthy appologists or McCarthy critics, will probably begin with the premise that "somebody" is at fault, and "somebody" has to be the bad guy, for allowing the brutal partisanship that existed on both sides of this question. To rehash the same old garbage without a proper understanding of the Venona's significance, is a dead end. Nobs01 03:39, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Secret apparatus

This is an interesting article from the notorious right wing rag, Time magazine of November 30 1953. Although McCarthy is not mentioned in the article, it gives a good sense of the atmosphere of the time. Please note neither Harry Dexter White nor Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. are mention in the McCarthy article either. The American public was very much interested in this subject, and concerned about the underlying truth of the matter, that a Soviet Secret apparatus of more than 400 individuals existed in the United States government during wartime, and it appeared (we now know why) that the Truman administration was doing nothing about it. Nobs01 02:07, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Let me clarify two statements from above: (1) the "Soviet Secret apparatus: some would say should read "CPUSA Secret apparatus", however that is dealt with at Secret apparatus which explains the CPUSA secret appartus (made up of American citizens) worked hand in glove with Soviet intelligence. (2) The "400" individuals did not all work in the government; those names, known, identified & corroboarted can be found at Venona#List_of_Americans_in_Venona_Papers; that list may in fact be incomplete. That list does not include other decrypted code names yet to be identiified that worked in the government. That list does not include civilian employees of vital government War contrators, like Bell Aircraft, etc., or in Acedmic institutions doing vital scientific research for the government & War contractors. That list is far from complete regarding American citizens outside the government acting as go-betweens, or cut-outs, and couriers, etc. Hence, overall, more than 400 American citizens operated in the Secret apparatus on behalf of the Soviet Union. Nobs01 02:36, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I don't know what you meant to convey with your Time link. Was "notorious right-wing rag" supposed to be sarcasm? If you meant something like "even a moderate, non-partisan magazine like Time thought Truman was ignoring the subversive menace, so obviously it was a general consensus and there must have been something to it", that would be very misleading indeed. Under Henry Luce, Time was extremely partisan, as much so as Fox News is today; Luce thought Truman was soft on Communism at home and abroad, and missed no opportunity to beat that drum... which surely contributed to the "atmosphere of the time", rather than just reflecting it as you imply. You're just blowingAs for Brownell, if you think the McCarthy article should include something about Brownell then don't just complain about it - add it! Hob 18:42, 2005 Jun 19 (UTC)
I think that misses the point. I will draft a proposed rewrite putting Joesph McCarthy in perspective of the Venona project. Oddly enough (sorry to disappoint partisans of the "left" & "right"), everybody is a fault, or nobody is fault, now that a clearer picture has been revealed (Brownell & J. Edgar really have nothng to do with this story; to understand it properly one must put aside their prejudices towards persons & personalites, of whatever stripe, and simply review the evidence). Nobs01 20:58, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Telegraph vs. Telegram

A telegraph is a machine used to send messages. These messages are called "telegrams". See Telegraphy or a good dictionary. Peter 00:34, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Eisenhower and McCarthy

Below is some proposed language for the Ike/McCarthy subhead; I've placed it here because it contains a lot of "perhaps'es", but hopefully it's illumintating.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower due to his past close association with General Omar Bradley may have been apprised of the existence of the Venona project, the secret program within the U.S. Army Signals Intelligence Service decrypting KGB messages originating in the United States. Eisenhower's former chief of intelligence and the first head of the CIA, General Walter Beedle Smith may have been brought in on the secret too, and the CIA began recieving some decrypted information in 1953. There is no indication Eisenhower's Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. was made aware of the highly secret information. This may explain why Eisenhower was willing to leave McCarthy to bark up the wrong trees.
Nobs01 01:42, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think the question question is whether this is your speculation (in which case, please see Wikipedia:No_original_research), or whether it's a generally held suspicion (in which case, a reference would be helpful). Assuming the latter, I'd put this paragraph after the first one in the "Eisenhower & McCarthy" head, and re-write to put the idea of why Eisenhower may have done that as the paragraph's topic sentence, e.g.: "It is speculated that President Eisenhower may have been willing to leave McCarthy to pursue false leads in order to protect the CIA's successful program to decrypt KGB messages. President Dwight D. Eisenhower due to his past close association with General Omar Bradley may have been apprised of the existence of the Venona project... etc." Zashaw 02:16, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

For anyone interested here is the relevent FBI memo 1 February 1956 which is primary source reading to understand Venona significance [3] Nobs01 1 July 2005 01:35 (UTC)

War record

Wartime log entries list 11 missions under McCarthy's name as an aerial photographer and tail gunner. McCarthy claims to have flown 32 missions, and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross.

This handles the disputed war record, unless someone wishes to improve on it. War records show 11 missions, the Distinguished Flying Cross is generally awarded to those who have logged 25 missions; McCarthy apllied for it in 1951 and claimed to have flown 32 missions, claiming due to wartime conditions flights weren't logged, etc. The Navy took his word for it and awarded him the Flying Cross. The 30 missions I just deleted is redundent. This also covers the charge that McCarthy "embellished" his record. Nobs01 2 July 2005 17:39 (UTC)


Placed here for sourcing:

McCarthy was greatly influenced by another young politician who was elected to Congress at the same time. He was Richard Nixon and McCarthy was greatly impressed as his pioneering use of smears pertaining to Communism to destroy an opponent.

Nobs01 2 July 2005 18:44 (UTC)


Placed here awaiting source material:

rather than in combat, as he later claimed.

Nobs01 3 July 2005 19:14 (UTC)


As a cheesehead versed in Wisconsin's GOP, Progressive Republican, and Socialist political history, I feel qualified to revert this phrase and place it here, pending sourcing on Ike's sentiments.

"a poor representative of the people of Wisconsin". nobs 01:52, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

A well-reasoned and perfectly reasonable removal. Sounds like someone's synthesized OR interpretation piggybacked on Truman's comment. Have you considered becoming involved with WP:WPWI? Tomer TALK 04:22, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you. Will Seriously look into. Wisconsin has a fascinating and truelly relevent political history that is underrepresented and has never realy been collected or written about as whole. nobs 16:51, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Grammar fix necessary

May be its one of those days when I can't seem to think straight, but the sentence below look like its has some issues. I hestitated fixing it, for I can't be sure what it was meant to say. Can a sentence end with the words "should not be" It sound weird to me.

McCarthy stated that he referred to 57 "known Communists," the number 205 referring to the number of people employed by the State Department who, for various security reasons, should not be.

"should not be employed", or "should not have been employed", is the thought I beleive. nobs 18:59, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Grammar fix necessary

May be its one of those days when I can't seem to think straight, but the sentence below look like its has some issues. I hestitated fixing it, for I can't be sure what it was meant to say. Can a sentence end with the words "should not be" It sound weird to me. Oh, and this guy looks like Karl Rove

McCarthy stated that he referred to 57 "known Communists," the number 205 referring to the number of people employed by the State Department who, for various security reasons, should not be.

Requirements for calling attention to possible grammatical flaws

  1. The ability to correctly spell the word "grammar". Tomer TALK 04:47, August 2, 2005 (UTC)


I belive this articale is POV because of the various negative portrayl of his events. It does not strain to show a opinon on his events, but i cant find any counterpoints, like how mccarthy did not want his list to be public, how he wanted secret meetings to discuss his concerns, and how he was demanded to show his list to the public by members of the liberal party.--NightDragon 07:35, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Have i mentioned the WOW pov intro on the article? --NightDragon 07:36, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

you're right! I suggest you also visit this article, people keep saying such negative things about Hitler!! Not very NPOV!! I smell an anti-Hitler bias here on wiki!!! you must correct this at once!-- 19:21, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Venona Files

This paragraph seems to have almost nothing to do with McCarthy, and appears to be an attack on LaFollette. The first sentence seems adequate for that task. I propose removing the rest. The information is repeated in at least one other article. -Willmcw 18:21, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

It is very relevent for at least three reasons (and I could list more),
(1) This is the McCarthy bio, like other bios of U.S. Senators, of primary interest to the states and constituents who elected them & they served;
(2) McCarthy held the seat of the U.S. Senator whose own staff had more documented Communists working on it than any other (admitted by LaFollette in a Feb. 1947 Colliers Magazine article LaFolette authored).
(3) It can been seen this was a major contribution as to why the people of Wisconsin ever elected McCarthy, its Senate seat exchanging hands between a Senator who knowing tolerated willful violations of Federal law by permitting Communists on his Committee Staff, to one obsessed with rooting them out.
(4) Both died premature deaths within a span of 3 years, probably directly related to the Great Red Scare of that era, LaFollette by his own hand (as historians theorize because of fear of McCarthy) and McCarthy drank himself to death in frustration and failure.
I could go on with more. But there are some extremely interesting facets to this (Indeed, Wisconsin could be said to have lost the lives of two U.S. Senators in the Red Scare). nobs 18:38, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Put succinctly, and dramatically, when we ask the question, "Who were the victims in the Red Scare?", Americans mistrusting Americans & paranoia, etc., "victims" meaning "who lost their lives", not who lost their jobs, we come up with this list:

The Red Scare cost the State of Wisconsin the lives of two U.S. Senators. nobs 19:01, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Nobs, your contributions to this article are appreciated, but in your eagerness to hammer home the importance of VENONA revelations, you really tread close to the line on NPOV—while obscuring many of the points you're trying to make. The paragraph that Willcmw quoted above is indeed mostly irrelevant: what on Earth do the names and previous jobs of the four committee members have to do with McCarthy, especially when there is an entire article about the committee? That was what Willcmw was proposing to remove—not La Follette himself, as you apparently assumed in your response—and I've done so. As for La Follette, as you said, he and McCarthy make up a historically interesting pair. But that perspective is not included anywhere in the article; you just brought it up on the talk page, as if it should somehow be automatically clear to readers. (And at least one of your points above makes no sense: how could La Follette's Communist staffers have been an issue in the 1946 election, if they weren't revealed until 1947?) If you devoted one-tenth the attention to the article that you do to talk-page arguments—especially if you tried to see it through the eyes of a reader who doesn't already share your knowledge and opinions, and if you read more carefully for grammar and sentence structure—it would be much more worthy of featured article status.
One of your recent edits replaced a careful, general statement—"It is generally believed that McCarthy had no access to VENONA intelligence, but VENONA confirmed that a few, though far from most, of the individuals investigated by McCarthy were indeed Soviet agents"—with the following: "83 persons plead the fifth amendment right against self incrimination in public hearings conducted by McCarthy. An additional 9 persons refused to testify on constitutional grounds in private hearings, and their names were not made public. Of the 83 alleged victims of McCarthyism, several have been identified by NSA and FBI as agents of the Soviet Union in the Venona project involved in espionage." Those numbers are, again, totally irrelevant to the subject of the paragraph (since there are no corresponding numbers of people identified in Venona, just "several"); there is one embarrassing grammatical error ("plead") and one garbled phrase ("agents of the Soviet Union in the Venona project involved in espionage"); and the gratuitous phrase "alleged victims of McCarthyism", in the absence of any source for such allegation, looks like nothing but sarcastic POV.
You also tend to respond to concerns on the talk page by basically changing the subject. First, Peter stated that "VENONA does not reveal the name of a single agent of the Soviet Union. ... It is factually inaccurate to state that McCarthy was vindicated in the specific with regard to any particular person he accused of espionage". You didn't contest that fact, yet the article continues to say that VENONA "confirms" this or that person to be an agent. Second, I questioned whether it was appropriate to cite TIME magazine as an unbiased source; you responded only that I was "missing the point". And just now, in response to Willcmw's specific point about irrelevant historical details, you moved on to the subject of paranoia and suicide—a truly bizarre segue that makes it look as if other editors' comments are just springboards for your personal ruminations.
You often insist, quite appropriately, that other editors provide specific sources and context for facts and interpretations; please consider applying this more carefully to your own edits. Otherwise I think an RfC is called for. Hob 20:05, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. I appreciate very much the tone of constructive criticism. Let me mention that not all Venona references in Wikipedia are attributed to myself, and actually if a careful review of the history were to be done, you would discover that I have attempted to clarify the significance of Venona vis-a vis Joseph McCarthy in this article very carefully, despite exaggerated and sometimes overzealous contributions made by other editors. In fact, as regards McCarthy, my focus has been more on claims made by individuals who were not investigated by McCarthy, rather than any attempt to claim Venona vindicates McCarthy's actions.
As to a discussion with Peter, again I think you will find that I have not ever engaged Peter directly in a discussion. I did make a general overall posting regarding the discussion of Venona which speaks for itself at the end of that subhead, and did not argue one way or the other about "confirmation". Time magazine I cited to give a "flavor of the time", i.e. to see what was of concern in popular media at the time, not as a source of specific reference material. Regarding McCarthy & LaFollette, this is a discussion which has become current very recently, since the 2003 release of PSI Executive Session transcripts. I do not expect everyone to be familiar with it, and research is far from complete. All these articles, Lafollette, McCarthy, Civil Liberties Committee, etc., may be subject to change as new scholarship emerges. As to my exchange with Willmcw, again we are discussing a work in progress with issues much larger than can be addressed in a simple posting.
One more comment on this phrase, "It is generally believed that McCarthy had no access to VENONA intelligence", I replaced what appears to be the seeds of a conspiracy theory with factual information in light of what appeared to be a brewing edit war. And, as can be seen, as I stated a moment ago, my focus was not on Venona and/or vindication of McCarthy, but more relating specifically to separate persons McCarthy investigated, from those he did not, who claim victimhood.
Again, I appreciate very much you constructive efforts and criticism. nobs 20:54, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Let me state a simple premise: "Venona does not confirm McCarthy was right; it confirms many ' vicitms' were not victims at all". nobs 21:20, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
LaFollette: Lafollette confirmed the rumors, i.e. there were rumors in Washington & Wisconsin going back to the 1930s. ("in bed with the Communists" was a common approbation, though it would be incorrect to characterize it as such). nobs 21:32, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Nobs, many of the premises you state are clear enough, but the relationship of them to your actual edits is not always so clear. And, as someone who has followed the discussions on this article pretty closely even when I'm not actively editing, I find your constant flight into generalizations ("research is far from complete... a work in progress with issues much larger..." etc.) to be unproductive and frustrating. It seems to be very hard for you to answer specific questions and concerns. So I will restate the specific points that I don't think you've answered:
  • In the "83 persons plead..." case, regardless of what you intended your "focus" to be, if you didn't want it to be about "vindication of McCarthy" then why did you insert numbers that related only to McCarthy's investigations and not to VENONA? It's not enough to say that it's "factual information"; it's quite easy to introduce POV by stating true facts that have nothing to do with the subject at hand.
  • I have yet to see any justification for the "83 alleged victims" phrase. I'm sure someone somewhere has used the word "victims" to refer to all of the people who pled the Fifth, but in this article you are the only one who's done so. Your wording was basically equivalent to "Opponents of McCarthy say that everyone he investigated was innocent; but VENONA proves that they weren't"—which is a straw man. And you may have meant to focus "specifically" on people McCarthy didn't investigate "who claim victimhood", but I don't see any specific mention of such persons in the article—you just alluded to them here on the talk page. Also: if someone belonged to the Communist Party and/or was a Soviet agent (a distinction that's been lost in much of this discussion, which tends to lump everyone together as active spies), it does not follow that he could not also have been a victim of McCarthy's methods. To use an admittedly loaded example: if a lynch mob kills an innocent prisoner and a guilty one, they are both victims of lynching. And I have no idea what you mean by "seeds of a conspiracy theory" in this context; the material you removed in that edit, which began "It is generally believed", was nothing of the kind.
  • The names and job descriptions of La Follette's staffers were not relevant. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether La Follette himself is relevant. I don't care if you're "engaging in an ongoing discussion" with Willcmw; you ignored his point about inappropriate material that you had put in the article, and responded as if he were talking about something else. And if you think the article needs something more about La Follette, then put it in the article... don't just use the talk page to make vague allusions to it.
  • I don't know what you mean by "I have not ever engaged Peter directly in a discussion." He said this and then you said this; if it wasn't meant as a reply, then you should've placed it somewhere else. You make it harder to assume good faith when you deny your own words. And you're still ignoring his point: it's an error to say that VENONA "confirms" these people by name as Soviet spies, yet you've continued to use that word.
  • On TIME magazine, though I know you didn't actually cite it in the article, I don't know why you don't get this: support for McCarthy in TIME is not a representative sample of what "the American public was interested in", because TIME was a highly partisan outlet for the most extreme anti-communist elements of the Republican Party, via Henry Luce. TIME was certainly influential, but not a disinterested observer. You referred sarcastically to it as a "notorious right-wing rag", but that's what it was (at least on that issue), and unashamedly so—just as the New York Post is today. Hob 22:20, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Point (A) Because that is the focus of the article, Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, and those who claim victim status, not Venona.
Point (B) The subsection began as an edit war with an Anon editor [4], it is directly related to the discussion going on here Talk:McCarthyism#Blacklist regarding specifically who can claim to be victimized. On the McCarthyism page, I requested specific citations, and proposed a method of investigation, because there are vague references like "many if not most", or "few if any", etc., coupled with what seems to be a determination to compile names, without any obligation to provide evidence. As to "seeds of a conspiracy theory"; you may not see it, but someone studying the Venona project certainly can. There is absolutley no need for an unsourced, unreseached, vague allusion like this when factual material is available, factual material that actually addresses the subject, that does not create unwarranted theories.
Point (C) Restatement of my previous response: (1) This is the McCarthy bio, like other bios of U.S. Senators, it is of primary interest to the people of the state who elected them, and who they served. Just as John Kennedy cannot be understood with some understanding of Massachusetts politics, or Bill Clinton without some understanding of Arkansas politics, McCarthy cannot be understood without some understanding of Wisconsin politics. And this point particularly, is sorely lacking within this biographical page.
Point (D) Reading the context of both postings, it is just as both of us have stated. I did not address Peters' point because I was not directly responding to his issues. I prefaced my remark "As to Venona", and proceeded to reiterate exactly what I have stated time and again, (a) Venona does not vindicate McCarthy's actions (b) The significance of Venona regarding McCarthy is exagerated (c) I called attention to the issues that should be under consideration when discussing (1) McCarthy and (2) Venona. I may have made a mistake of indenting my comment after his posting, which in retrospect could be considered a direct response; so I concede, that technicality was a mistake.
Point (E) Your premise is "support for McCarthy in TIME". (1) No such claim was made. (2) The TIME article does not make such a claim. For the third time, the TIME magazine article demonstrates the concerns of the American people regarding anti-Communism, as expressed in popular media, was very common, and very widespread. The TIME magazine article demonstrates concern about anti-communism was not a bunch of wacked-out right-wing neo-fascist radicals, it was mainstream politics, mainstream media, and mainstream popular discussions. nobs 01:35, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

If anyone can make sense out of Nobs's responses above, please do. It seems to me that he is continuing to state the same things, in different order and with varying degrees of coherence, regardless of what question he is asked or the context of the passage he is editing, and has very little grasp of how to show a progression from one idea to another—while remaining keenly sensitive to any perceived lack of clarity or neutrality in other editors. I think an RfC is going to be necessary, but I don't want to get too deeply into this on my own.

Right now I'll just respond to the most confusing item above: (C). Yes, Robert La Follette is certainly relevant to Wisconsin politics and to the McCarthy article. John Abt, Charles Kramer, Allen Rosenberg, and Charles Flato - or at least their names and job histories - have nothing to do with Wisconsin politics. There's no evidence that any of those guys individually meant anything to Wisconsin residents - the issue of Communists working for La Follette would be the same no matter who they were. I still see no sign that Nobs has grasped the difference. At least he hasn't tried to reinsert that text, but I see the same continuing problem with many of his edits: inserting a bunch of tangential detail as if sheer volume will support or clarify his point of view, and then when it's questioned, simply acting as if something else had been questioned. As for his view that statements in the Venona subsection don't need to have anything to do with Venona because this is the McCarthy article... I'm at a loss for words. Hob 05:16, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Okay, ONE more thing: what Nobs says above about the Venona section is very strange. He cites this edit to show that the subsection arose from an edit war, and says he was removing "conspiracy theory" text. Where's the edit war? Where's the conspiracy theory? Nobs removed the following text: It is generally believed that McCarthy had no access to VENONA intelligence, but VENONA confirmed that a few, though far from most, of the individuals investigated by McCarthy were indeed Soviet agents. For example... What on earth was so controversial about that statement? If Nobs thought that "a few, though far from most," is inaccurate - well, his replacement text didn't help at all, since it gives numbers for how many people were investigated but no numbers for how many were implicated by VENONA, thus no way to determine "few" or "most". Is this just a reading comprehension problem? Again, I see absolutely no attempt by Nobs to point to specific wording he objects to and what is wrong with it - just a lot of hand-waving along the lines of "you'd know what I mean if you understood Venona." Hob 05:33, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, I'm at a loss for words too. Let's clarify issues. Two questions seem to be at stake: (1) the significance of Venona vis-a-vis McCarthy; (2) relevency of Lafolette Subcommittee material. The history shows (a) I inserted the Lafollette Subcommittee material (b) I was asked regarding its relevence (c) I responded (d) it was deleted (e) I did not reinsert it (f) how that gets transformed into a dispute, I have no idea.
Venona material: How this is transformed into a dispute I have no idea either. My response regarding its significance has been stated at least half a dozen times.
One last effort to clarify problems: What is apparent is the problem of reconciling the Joseph McCarthy article with dozens of other articles in Wikipedia. McCarthy is cited in the gay bashing article, for example; or the film High Noon, where Senator McCarthy, as Chairman of the HUAC, blacklisted Hollywood. Or at least half a dozen physicists working on the Manhattan Project ended up on the Hollywood blacklist. These are just a few examples. What do they all have in common? Anyone who wishes to claim to be a victim of Joseph McCarthy and/or McCarthyism is allowed to do so unchallenged, without proper citations. My arguement --> It is within our power to establish the facts. nobs 16:59, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Nobs: No one is saying Venona is irrelevant here. NO ONE. No one has been trying to remove any Venona material in this case. What was removed (in two edits that you for some reason described as an "edit war") was a sentence you added in the Venona section, listing statistics on how many of McCarthy's targets took the fifth, etc. The problem with this was that you added it in the Venona section, where those statistics are irrelevant. It would've made sense if you had provided a corresponding number like this: "83 people took the fifth, and (some other number) of those people were later implicated by Venona"... but you didn't. Do you understand what I'm saying? This isn't the kind of dispute where you keep re-adding problematic material... and I thank you for that. But it's really, really frustrating that you keep totally ignoring the specific points that are raised, and responding instead to different points - half a dozen times, like you said. The same goes for the La Follette staffer names: there, the dispute was just that we kept saying "X isn't relevant" and you kept saying "Yes, Y is relevant" where Y is not the same as X. It's a reading comprehension problem or something.
And you've been on Wikipedia long enough to know that the talk page is for discussions about this article - not all the other articles that link to this one. If you want to fix problems in a particular article (like the incorrect reference to HUAC above), just do it. But if you want to discuss general issues about a whole group of articles, go to Wikipedia:Requests for comment. Hob 23:37, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. I understand your point and its well taken. You are correct, that material in the Venona section either needs more substantiation, or be left out. And I will save a lame-ass excuse to justify an argument for another time. Thanks again. nobs 02:07, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Totally irrelevent factoid

Regarding the irrelevence of listing names of 4 CPUSA members decyphered in Venona project materials as working on behalf of Soviet intelligence. One member, Allen Rosenberg, a purported victim of McCarthyism, not only was never prosecuted for espionage, but personally argued a case before the United States Supreme Court in 1955. I could develope the information as whether or not he was ever subpeaned by Joseph McCarthy. However, I do understand the POV that this is not relevent. nobs 17:50, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

A second name on the list John Abt, was requested by Lee Harvey Oswald to represent him shortly before Oswald met his unfortuneate demise. nobs 17:54, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, those are totally irrelevant factoids in this article. They are perfectly relevant in the articles on those particular people. Hob 23:37, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
I suppose you have a point; while McCarthy was engaged in witchhunts, Soviet agents were arguing cases before the Supreme Court. nobs 04:01, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I do see the point you're trying to make there, though you sure chose a roundabout and sarcastic way of making it. However, I don't see that it adds much to the basic argument that's already implied by all the Venona stuff: Soviet agents existed at the same time that McCarthy was chasing Soviet agents; that by itself doesn't mean he was after the right targets, or that his methods were justified, any more than the existence of many criminals in the general public justifies every criminal investigation. (You're also, in this case, factually wrong: the Soviet agent [singular] who argued a case before the Supreme Court - which, by the way, can be done by any licensed lawyer and carries no governmental authority - did so in 1950, not 1955.) But if you can present such an argument clearly, please do. Until then, there is no point in adding a bunch of factoids without the context that would make them into a coherent point... which is what you did with that list of staffers. Figure out how to say what you're saying first - explicitly, not by means of unspoken implications - then put it in the article; the place to clarify your statements is in the article, not just here on the talk page. Hob 04:42, 18 September 2005 (UTC)


Thank you. I was speaking from memory. I'm dealing with ~311 cases, and I likewise just relized the case was 1951 not 1955 (in dealing with counterintelligence files, it's easy to see why McCarthy & James Jesus Angleton both went nuts).

I would like to call your attention to another problem; Venona was not used to corroborate Elizabeth Bentley's testimony, though now in most particulars the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (formerly NACIC) now stands by her credibility & testimony. The problem is Venona only decrypted a fraction of transmissions sent, and evidence exists regarding a host of other individuals Bentley named, McCarthy investigated, but are not named in Venona decrytions. They may be unidentified codenames, or references to them were never recovered in Venona traffic. The point to be made is, in the late 1940s & first half of the 1950s, Bentley's credibilty was smeared and tarnished because of the governments unwillingness to use Venona material (or the FBI's screw up). The U.S. government now states Venona confirms the accuracy of Bentley's testimony. There are numerous others, many prominent, to whom the evidence exists, and who worked extremely closely with many who were named in Venona, specifically all members of the Perlo group, and Silvermaster group, among others. nobs 05:09, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

You can try to call my attention to whatever you like, but I won't respond to any more of these talk-page digressions unless they include an actual suggestion of what to do with an article. Hob 07:57, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

VENONA files - actual work

It would be helpful to list the actual espionage that those called "Soviet Agents" performed. "Agent" is an extremely vague term. Did these people engage in spying, sabotage, political reporting, or what? Thanks, -Willmcw 04:04, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

You mean language like, "subverted FDR's foreign policy and assisted the Maoist regime to power", for example? nobs 04:11, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, if that is what the evidence shows. -Willmcw 01:45, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Willmcw, it's going to be a little difficult to rigorously document exactly what services and material most of these people provided, in part because the Venona cables were usually just administrative in nature. For instance, the actual intelligence 'take' (copies of documents provided, etc) would have traveled in diplomatic bags, etc. There are exceptions; e.g. we know a lot about what Judith Coplon provided, but most are not like that. You can take a look at Haunted Wood, which includes some material from NKVD/NKGB archives, and it goes into a little more depth, but not much. The historical situation in these quarters is still (and may always be, alas) a lot murkier than in say, the Allied code-breaking effort in WWII, which is now pretty well laid open to light. Some clues as to their activities, other than providing information, are available, but a lot of it is to some degree reading between the lines, and people who for ideological reasons wish to play down what happened will only accept absolute "beyond reasonable" doubt levels of proof. I suspect the best we're going to be able to manage, for a lot of the people who had connections with Soviet intelligence, is things of the form "person X says in book Y that they did Z", as the historians battle it out. Noel (talk) 11:18, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

McCarthy and Truman

I'm not sure what purpose the the Truman section currently serves, since it contains virtually nothing specifically about Truman except the telegram image - couldn't it just be merged into "Anticommunist crusade"? However, I'm particularly unhappy with this paragraph, and I'm removing it until someone can make it logical and factual:

In 1947, it was apparent that no individual in the U.S. Government realized that evidence of massive Soviet espionage within the government was developing on twin tracks. There was an FBI counterintelligence investigation which empanelled a grand jury in New York, and the Army Signal Intelligence Service at Arlington Hall reading Soviet cipher decrypts. It was a case of one hand not knowing what the other was doing. So when McCarthy later made charges that the Truman administration knowingly protected Soviet agents, on the surface, this appeared to large sectors of the American public as true.
  1. "It was apparent" to whom?
  2. Why 1947? The choice of year seems arbitrary.
  3. Where's the evidence of "one hand not knowing what the other was doing"?
  4. "Large sectors of the American public" is vague and unsupported. Please show evidence (other than Nobs's citation of TIME magazine) that there was widespread acceptance of McCarthy's charges in the general public, rather than in the media.
  5. The use of "so" in the last sentence makes it seem as if the preceding sentences are a reason for the general public to have believed McCarthy. That would mean that (a) the general public was already aware of this evidence of espionage, from sources other than McCarthy; (b) the grand jury investigation (specific reference/link to this, please?), and the secret Army decryption, would have adequately supported McCarthy's sweeping claims, if only the government had paid attention to them; (c) even though the government was investigating espionage, Truman's disbelief of McCarthy's charges must have looked like he was "knowingly protecting Soviet agents". In other words, faced with a single crusading Senator who waved around a lot of lists, a President who said the Senator was full of it, and a bunch of intelligence reports that supported some of what the Senator said but that no one had seen, the Senator must have looked more credible to any rational person. The logic is not impressive. Hob 17:24, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, a number of interesting issues. I will reserve comment pro or con whether there is a need for separate Truman section.
  1. "apparant" is the discovery of the Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy (it was not "apparant" prior to Sept. 1947. FBI was unaware of Venona evidience, Venona was unaware of FBI investigations, i.e. Elizabeth Bentley's defection & deposition naming several of the same persons in Venona materials).
  2. "1947" September of 1947 is when Venona (aka Arlington Hall or Army Signals Intelligence), began sharing information with FBI.
  3. "Where's the evidence"? Moynihan Secrecy in Government Report, among other U.S. Govt. source publications, and secondary sources.
  4. "Large sectors of the American public"; let me turn the question, what sort of evidence would be acceptable. Poll numbers could be presented. Also you need to address specific timeframe; given the HUAC hearings of 1948, Hiss trials, and death of Harry Dexter White, this all occurred prior to McCarthy's rise to media spotlight, so the issue was well known. As late as 1954, Hubert H. Humphrey proposed mere membership in the CPUSA be made a felony. This point, between 1948 and 1954 is easily documentable.
  5. Last point you raise, I think we are getting close to the heart of the matter. Truman was never informed of Venona. Hence, when public accusations were made by Elizabeth Bentley (and Richard Nixon) in 1948, and Joseph McCarthy in 1950, Truman publicly denied it ("a red-herring" he called it). This emboldened many accused, and their supporters, to resist and fight back. McCarthy, on the other hand, felt the Truman Adminsitration was either hiding evidence,or not actively pursuing investigations (several instances can be cited, that were publicly known then, of Soviet spies being identified, and then recieving promotions and payraises rather than being fired or prosecuted, to wit Harry Dexter White & Nathan Gregory Silvermaster). This last point gets close to the heart of the matter; a decision was made by unelected career bureaucrats & military not to inform the President. The result was a bitter partisan division in domestic politics, that based on what is now known, (a) may have been totally unnecessary, (b) neither side in the dispute is vindicated or justified. nobs 18:23, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Rather than adding back the same text with a bunch of footnotes, I think it should be reworded. For instance, the footnote on "1947" still does nothing to explain the significance of that year; it's still a confusing sentence. The footnote for "Soviet cipher decrypts" is ridiculously redundant, because what you're talking about is the VENONA project, which already has its own article and is mentioned several times in this one. And the footnotes on public opinion simply don't support your point: they show that Americans thought communism was a threat, and that Margaret Chase Smith thought the Democrats looked bad on this issue, not that Americans thought "the Truman administration knowingly protected Soviet agents".
The point being made in that paragraph, if I understand it correctly, is illogical: you're saying that the lack of communication between the Venona project and the Truman administration made Truman look insufficiently anticommunist to the general public; but the general public hadn't seen any more of that evidence than Truman had - and neither had McCarthy. Yes, "the issue was well known" regarding HUAC, Hiss, etc., but as far as any incriminating evidence that's come out since then, neither Truman nor McCarthy had any special insight at that time, and their constituents did not have the perspective of your omniscient narrator; people's positions on those cases were based on what was known at the time, including much misinformation on both sides and a good deal of irrational prejudice too. The Venona information may make Truman's position look unfortunate or uninformed to you, now, but that is very different than what you were saying in that paragraph. I don't think the footnotes help at all; I'll try to think of some alternative.
As for what to do with the Truman section: I propose merging Truman and Eisenhower into a single section about presidential resistance to McCarthy. The extent to which he was despised by both presidents, and the various effects his campaign had on electoral politics, are certainly noteworthy. I'm not sure what such a section would be called. Hob 00:32, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, I am gonna a keep working on the idea however, I'd prefer primary sources to secondary. The illogical point you cite is really just that; newspapers were full of stories about spies, there were numerous Congressional investigations beside HUAC & McCarthy, yet it seemed to the public that the Truman administration not only was not actively investigating & prosecuting, certain known spies were being promoted, and Truman denied the basic allegations of "hundreds" in the administration. As late as 1956 Truman wrote in his memoirs what an excellent job the FBI did in protecting the federal government from subversion during WWII, which was rumored then to be BS, and we now know was an utter failure. nobs 01:00, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Note on 1947: It was the year of passage of the National Security Act of 1947 which created CIA & NSA, and the law governing coordination between agencies, etc. Even with the new law that dictated CIA should have been involved in this type of counterintelligence investigation, that did not happen til 1953, so great was the mistrust between agencies. There too, we know the CIA was compromised from day one. nobs 01:07, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
"the Truman administration knowingly protected Soviet agents" is what McCarthy alleged, Margaret Chase Smith said "lost the confidence of the American people", and "nationwide distrust and strong suspicion". Smith, incidently, offers good NPOV. The ONCIX link I offer in place of a Gallup Poll, which could provide the same thing. Also from the NSA Venona Archives, Robert L. Benson link we have this quote,
"The tacit decision to keep the translated messages secret carried a political and social price for the country. Debates over the extent of Soviet espionage in the United States were polarized in the dearth of reliable information then in the public domain. Anti-Communists suspected that some spies--perhaps including a few who were known to the US Government--remained at large. Those who criticized the government's loyalty campaign as an overreaction, on the other hand, wondered if some defendants were being scapegoated; they seemed to sense that the public was not being told the whole truth about the investigations of such suspects as Julius Rosenberg and Judith Coplon."
which carries much the idea the paragraph is intended to convey (and that quote is also quoted on the Moynihan Secrecy Commission report). nobs 01:43, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


I see some problems in the text -

"unaware of Venona project decrypts which corroborated Elizabeth Bentley's debriefing"

This would lead me to believe that the Venona project unambiguously corroborated most or all of Bentley's debriefing. I do not see this as the case. For one, the Venona project is ambiguous - we are told something agent code name X says or does, and then we have to take it on faith that agent X is Ethel Rosenberg or Alger Hiss or Harry Dexter White or Albert Einstein or whoever. It only corroborates portions of what she said if after reading "Agent X did so and so" you make the leap to "Agent X *is* so-and-so". This may be additional circumstantial evidence, but it is not corroboration.

And of course, we needn't to go into all of the problems with Bentley and her testimony. She often contradicted herself, and when she was sued for libel, she lost the case. And Venona does not corroborate her, it doesn't say "John Smith did this", it says "Agent X did this". Ruy Lopez 19:54, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Also, Nobs01 is going through his habit of listing a string of names and accusing them of all being proved as spies. For example, Nobs01 says that Lauchlin Currie was a spy, which proves that some of the people McCarthy was bothering were spies. But I do not agree that Lauchlin Currie was a spy at all, or that this has been proved. This is a pretty weak case to list as one of McCarthy's stronger cases. Ruy Lopez 20:09, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

OK, I think it's about time to start a general RFC about what constitutes consensus and NPOV when talking about these espionage allegations and the Venona files. Otherwise we just have what we have now: 20 arguments on 20 talk pages. Nobs in particular has been very industrious in adding this material into lots of articles, but others certainly share his point of view and feel strongly about the wording, and I don't want to mix up the NPOV issue with questions about one editor's personal style. I for one have not read the sources in question but I can still get the ball rolling, since this is an RFC and not an RFA. I've pointed the RFC at Talk:VENONA project because I think that's the heart of the matter. Hob 01:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Ruy, you're wilfully ignoring what people have told you over and over again - that for many of these people, their names occur in the clear in Venona messages, in ComIntern archives, and in NKVD/NKGB archives. So it's not entirely guesswork, as your comments imply. Each case has to be considered individually, not swept under the carpet 'en masse', as you seem to be trying to do.
As to Elizabeth Bentley's credibility, in all the cases where her revelations were checkable via Venona, they proved to be correct. Yet Bentley knew nothing of Venona! To claim that it's pure chance that she happened to be correct in the ones where Venona could cross-check her, and yet incorrect in the others, is ludicrous. That her statements checked out in all cases where they could be cross-checked leads to the conclusion that her other statements are almost certainly correct as well. It's not Bentley's credibility that is suspect, but the credibility of those who denigrated her. Noel (talk) 11:38, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
User:Ruy Lopez allegations regarding Elizabeth Bentley are disposed of here Talk:Elizabeth_Bentley#Remington_libel_suit; here's a quote from the editor who disposed of Ruy Lopez's allegation:
"This claim, that Bentley "lost" the libel case, is nonsense (and Ruy ought to know it, since he seems to be in possession of a copy of Clever Girl, which explains the outcome very clearly and precisely - if he does indeed have access to a copy of this book..."); it's worth reading that editors full post. nobs 03:21, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

The best thing to do it just to quote the book directly:

It would cost more to win the case than it would to settle it .... The NBC lawyers moved to settle. ... 'Meet the Press' producer Lawrence Spivak wrote a long and vehement letter to NBC's insurance company begging them not to settle. Spivak told the press that he did not believe a libel had been comitted on his show.. (Clever Girl, pp. 201)

So much for "lost". When your co-defendant (or, to be precise, their insurance agents) settles, I wouldn't exactly call that "losing". It's also worth noting that Remington was later convicted of perjury and jailed for his testimony on precisely the issue on which she was sued - whether or not he had been an active Communist. Noel (talk) 11:38, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Joseph McCarthy

Senator McCarthy was buried in St. Mary's Parish Cemetery.Therefore.I added "Parish".St Mary's Parish in Appleton has a website: am surprise you did not go to Find A Grave and added the McCarthy gravesite to the article.Thanks-Richard Dungar

VENONA - random list?

Which of these people were called to testify by McCarthy?

  • Mary Jane Keeney
  • Lauchlin Currie
  • Virginius Frank Coe
  • Harold Glasser
  • Four staff members of the LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee
  • Allan Rosenberg
  • Nathan Gregory Silvermaster

None of those names are listed as having testified in the index of the McCarthy hearings.[5] William Ludwig Ullman is the only one on our list who is. I suggest that the names of miscellaneous Soviet agents are not helpful for this article, and make it appear that McCarthy actually uncovered them. -Willmcw 22:42, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

What is the relevence of "called to testify"? nobs 22:56, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Let me make that clearer: What do these people have to do with Joseph McCarthy, the subject of this article? Thanks, -Willmcw 23:03, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
  1. The site you are looking at is (a) incomplete; it is only one HTML page of a five volume set available here --> Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations#External links; (b) the remaining four volumes are only available in PDF, and the indexes are all there.
  2. The five volumes are closed Executive Sessions; I do not believe anyone has yet assembled a list of those who testified in open Public Hearings.
  3. McCarthy's papers here --> Joseph McCarthy Papers, Marquette University Library gives an inventory of McCarthy's investigatory files; "giving testimony", is not the standard of "being investigated". Many persons gave testimony who were not the subject of investigations. Likewise, many subjects of investigation never testified publicly or privately.
  4. Also, in discussing subjects of investigations, many subjects were institutions, not simple single individual persons. For example, Amerasia, National Labor Relations Board and the Department of State, all institutions, investigated as institutions, which had subjects named in Venona.
  5. Another thing that remains scetchy is how to deal with persons named in hearings were Venona or other corroborating evidence emerged later. Since the McCarthy Archives will not be available before the year 2040, persons named in hearings where evidence emerged later of complicity, whose name does not appear on a file, or the hearing transcripts indicate McCarthy had little interest in investigating, should not be considered to be subjects of McCarthy's investigations until the McCarthy Papers are available in the year 2040. nobs 23:26, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
That's all fair enough. Until we've established a direct connection between these individuals and McCarthy, let's leave them out of the article. Thanks for your input. -Willmcw 23:30, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
The direct connection has been established; all these persons were subjects of Joseph McCarthy's investigations. nobs 23:59, 12 October 2005 (UTC)


Individuals and institutions investigated by McCarthy who the NSA disclosed between 1995-1998 either singularly or within thier ranks had persons complicit in espionage.

  • Fort Monmouth, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 99 (Army Signal Corps Laboratories)
    • Joel Barr (emigrated to USSR)
    • Julius Rosenberg, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 13
    • Alfred Sarant (emigrated to USSR)
  • Institute of Pacific Relations, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 4 Folder 24
    • Harry Dexter White (deceased)
    • Alger Hiss (in prison)
    • Virginius Frank Coe, Special Assistant to the United States Ambassador in London, Department of State; Executive Session
  • Mary Jane Keeney, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 11
  • Philip Keeney, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 11
  • Lauchlin Currie, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 4 Folder 24 (emigrated)
  • Sergei Kournakoff, (Sergey Nikolaevich Kurnakov) Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 17
  • National Labor Relations Board, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 6 Folder 14
    • Charles Kramer
    • Allan Rosenberg, Executive Session
  • Duncan Lee, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 21
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 6 Folder 20 (NSA deemed inconclusive; Pavel Sudoplatov says otherwise)
  • Ethel Rosenberg, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 13
  • Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 20
  • Harold Glasser, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 48
  • Staff members of the LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee
    • Charles Flato
  • State Department, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 25 and 26
    • John Abt, LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee
    • Marion Davis Berdecio (inconclusive)
    • Ralph Bowen
    • Laurence Duggan, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 2
    • Maurice Halperin
    • Donald Hiss
    • Flora Wovschin
  • William Ludwig Ullman, Executive Session

nobs 00:30, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

This list does not include persons not identified complicit in Venona transcripts who defected, confessed, or were convicted, or where corroboration came from Soviet Archives, or whom the FBI deemed evidence inconclusive. nobs 01:08, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Soviet Archives

  • Joel Barr
  • Earl Browder
  • Louis Budenz, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 2 Folder 13 (not in Venona), defector
  • Virginius Frank Coe, Special Assistant to the United States Ambassador in London Department of State, Executive Session
  • Lauchlin Currie
  • Laurence Duggan, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 2
  • Harold Glasser, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 48
  • Alger Hiss
  • Clarence Hiskey; employed on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory; testified in Executive Session in relation to the State Department Teacher-Student Exchange Program, 19 June 1953 pg. 1305. Also, comes up in testimony at the Fort Monmouth hearings; See The Army-McCarthy 1953-1954 Communist Witch Hunt.
  • Charles Kramer
  • Sergei Kournakoff, (Sergey Nikolaevich Kurnakov) Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 17
  • Franz Leopold Neumann, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 6 Folder 16
    • (Info added to the German Wikipedia by an IP in New Mexico on 20 Oct 2005.[6])
  • Allan Rosenberg, Executive Session
  • Ethel Rosenberg, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 13
  • Julius Rosenberg, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 13
  • Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 20
  • William Henry Taylor, Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 7 Folder 34, Executive Session (not in Venona)
  • William Ludwig Ullman, Executive Session
  • Charles Flato (from a source other than Weinstein and Vassiliev).

Source: Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—the Stalin Era (New York: Random House, 1999).
Allen Weinstein is now the Archivist of the United States. nobs 03:49, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

What's the direct source for this info, please? Thanks, -Willmcw 01:50, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Mostly List of Americans in the Venona papers, Joseph McCarthy Papers, Marquette University Library, and the Executive Session transcripts Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations#External links; but as I said, this does not include evidence given in the more famous Public Sessions. nobs 02:12, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's another example: The McCarthy Papers list "Lee Report, 1948, n.d.", this refers to Duncan Lee of the OSS. This high profile case dates from 1948, before McCarthy began any of his investigations, but it will add several more members of the OSS, who are subjects of this case. nobs 03:25, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Correction: the "Lee list" refers to the c. 1947 "Lee list" of Department of State security officer Robert Lee. nobs 17:57, 26 October 2005 (UTC)


Here's the OSS list that stems from the Lee Report (Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 5 Folder 21); this list needs secondary verification. Carl Marzani, Eugene Dennis and William Z. Foster (Jospeh R. McCarthy Papers Series 14 Box 3 Folder 40) may fit in with this group.

Let's review what was deleted

OK, here we deleted four spies named in Executive Session transcripts;

now if we follow two links from the above passage,


In three clicks we uncover more Communist spies than Joseph McCarthy ever did in his wildest wet-dreams. nobs 02:30, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Just remember, we're only here to write a biography of McCarthy, not to uncover the Soviet agents that he missed. Thanks, -Willmcw 03:39, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the thorough documentation, BTW. Cheers, -Willmcw 03:45, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Bar Association

Which bar association was he a member of? Wisconsin or the national level one? User:FeanorStar7

11 February 1950

McCarthy to Truman telegram [7] clearly reads,

"We have been able to compile a list of 57 Communists in the State Department. This list is available to you."

elsewhere reads,

"You personally appointed a board to screen State Department employees for the purpose of weeding out fellow travelers. Your board did a pain-staking job. And named hundreds which it listed as "dangerous to the security of the nation", because of Communistic group of approximately 300 certified to the Secretary for discharge, he actually discharged approximately 80. I understand that this was done after lengthy consultation with Alger Hiss."

This is not reflected accurately in the text. nobs 04:30, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

NPOV Alert?

An anonymous user has made a series of edits to the Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism articles. I showed up at some point in the middle just to read the articles, fixed a couple of spelling mistakes, and then noticed that I "interrupted" this user. I had a look at the edits and there are a lot of spelling mistakes and some statements that do not seem to be from a NPOV. There are probably people more qualified and knowledgeable than me on this topic, so when this user has finished his/her edits, perhaps someone can have a look at them and either just fix the spelling, or decide whether there needs to be discussion about POV. Thanks! --Craig (t|c) 10:59, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

I've reverted that user's edits. Regardless of spelling, it's inappropriate to make those kinds of drastic changes with no discussion and no edit summaries, and some of them were definitely POV ("innocent", "unfair") and/or factually misleading (e.g. removed any mention of McCarthy's original Democratic affiliation). The edits to the VENONA section left one paragraph completely garbled. The one bit that might be OK is adding a mention of the Senate censure to the intro paragraph, as it was certainly a distinguishing feature of his career, but that can be attempted separately. Mr./Ms. 65, if you're reading this - regardless of your opinion of McCarthy, please respect the process here.
However, I think we still have some NPOV problems related to (big sigh) the references to VENONA. The VENONA section now says "the underlying premise of Communists in the government was true", which is a strong yet vague statement since it implies that McCarthy's campaign could be reduced to an "underlying premise"; then it concedes that "many" of his targets were innocent, which is a weaselly way of saying that most were not. Those sentences are redundant anyway - there's no need to make the same point about VENONA three times. So I'm repeating 65's deletion there. Hob 13:38, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed words like "innocent" and "unfair" too, as well as I think a big section of VENONA disappeared -- or maybe that was in McCarthyism. Anyway, I thought that if I just reverted stuff right away it would just get reverted back again, as he/she seemed to be doing a series of edits instead of just one, so I left it. --Craig (t|c) 13:46, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, much of what was cut from the VENONA section has been hotly disputed here before, particularly the list of names - lots of debate over whether this or that person was really one of McCarthy's targets and what VENONA really said about them. I don't think there's a good consensus on this yet, and I personally feel that the section is still biased and out of place, repeating material that should properly be addressed in the VENONA articles and attempting to subtly vindicate McCarthy by building up a mountain of detail without actually saying so. Several editors disagree and are inserting similar material in many related articles. I don't think this will be settled any time soon. Hob 03:32, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Actually I agree somewhat with that; what we have often is a person identified in the Venona project as an agent of the Soviet Union, sitting before a McCarthy hearing and denying to answer questions of whether or not he was a party member, not whether or not he was involved in espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. I guess McCarthy can be blamed for the half-assed way he went about investigating and holding hearings. My personal impression is, that J. Edgar moreless gave McCarthy "dead end" files, files FBI tried every legal means possible to make a case and couldn't, but still had suspicion that either the person was involved in some measure, or knew something they wanted to know, so they turned it over to McCarthy who was willing to use extra-legal or extra-judicial processes to weigh on a witness. nobs 04:20, 30 October 2005 (UTC)


Most of the people McCarthy investigated were not later identified as Soviet spies or Communists.

Reverted & placed here for these reasons:

  • (A) "investigated" needs to be distiguished from "accused", these words are used to often interchangeably in all McCarthy related articles;
  • (B) McCarthy's primary investigatory focus was on institutions; to use the world "people" or "persons" needs proper qualification.
  • (C) giving testimony is not the same as "being investigated"; a large number of witnesses willingly testified to provide background information.
This is worth pinning down, not simply deleting. We seem to be making general assertions about the success of McCarthy's investigations vis the VENONA files. He seems to have investigated many people who were not later found to be agents. I'm surprised that no recent author on the topic has reviewed his overall performance on this matter. -Willmcw 02:53, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, again, you state "He seems to have investigated many people"; McCarthy's primary focus was on institutions. There is half a century of misinformation and distortions that needs to be unlearned. nobs 03:17, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
You're right, and I've changed it in accordance with your concern. --Holdek (talk) 03:45, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
That's part way, but it's not that simple. This statement occurs under the Venona section discussing "spies" and "espionage". A distinction needs to be made between "people McCarthy accused" of being "spies", and "people McCarthy accused" of being "members of the Communist party or fellow travellers". And I would suspect citations are necessary for both. For now, I would suggest moving the rewritten language outside the Venona subhead. nobs 03:56, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I went ahead and made the alteration and put it back in the VENONA section. It's an important point to make in association with VENONA. Holdek (talk) 18:35, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Yah butt you still have the problem of WP:CITE; because of the astronomical amount of misinformation accumulated over decades, this particular statement may require a citation to specific documented cases and numbers. On it's face, as written, while I understand the need, wish & desire, and commercial demand for such a statement, my qualified guess is it is in error. nobs 19:05, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

(<-- Two WP:CITEs:

"McCarthy constantly told people he had the names of Communists within the government. Yet, he never released a single name to the press nor did he identify a single Communist in the government."
"At the most, he publicly exposed about 160 persons, all of whom had significant records of collaboration with or support for communists and/or communist causes."

At best, there has been no WP:CITE presented to support any language for,

  • "Most of the people McCarthy accused (and/or investigated) were not later identified as Soviet spies or Communists." nobs 19:35, 9 November 2005 (UTC)