Diana West’s Attempt to Respond
Two claims to refute my review, both false.
On her own website, amidst yet more personal smears and snide comments, Diana West offers a couple of responses to my critique of her book. After clearing her throat with the comment that my review was “7,000 words of misrepresenting, twisting, and omitting…passed off as a ‘review,’” she adds that it was also “a series of flattened, screaming, straw-man arguments that fail in terms of the most basic intellectual honesty to convey any reality-based synopsis of the evidence assembled inside the pages of my book.”
Then she proceeds to reassert her discredited claim, made on numerous occasions throughout her book, that Harry Hopkins was a Soviet agent, specifically the “Agent 19” referred to in the Venona decrypts. Since I refuted this in my review, she adds yet another claim: “I could burn the Venona document Radosh singlemindedly and dishonestly focuses on to the exclusion of other evidence and still make the same case against Hopkins.”
Here West simply skips over the fact that my review also points out that the Vassiliev notebooks, which she also alleges substantiate her conclusion about Hopkins, on the contrary make clear in scores of different entries that Agent 19 was not Hopkins but actually State Department official Laurence Duggan. Talk about dishonesty! It is not as though this claim is unimportant. It makes a big difference whether Hopkins was a sucker for Soviet propaganda or actually working for Soviet intelligence. Those who don’t understand this distinction will think highly of Diana West and her unreliable book. Not surprisingly she also fails to address the fact, raised in my review, that Eduard Mark, a third main source she draws on for the erroneous claim about Hopkins, eventually conceded that he was wrong after being confronted by the evidence that West ignores.
Later next week, Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes will deal with her fourth source for the claim, a KGB agent named Iskhak Akhermov, as well as other aspects of her book.
Now for her second and last point:
I will not, however, take responsibility for Radosh fabrications he attributes to me. I don’t yet know how many there are in this ridiculously long review, but here is something Radosh hits me for that isn't in my book:
Instead of weighing these fears, West turns to another anecdote telling how George Elsey found confidential files in the Map Room that showed FDR naively thinking he could trust Stalin, and instructed Hopkins to tell Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov that FDR was in favor of a Second Front in 1942. She believes that this was a smoking gun proving that FDR was “making common cause with the NKVD.”
This "anecdote" Radosh says I supposedly ‘turn to’ is not in my book! When I first read it, the story wasn't familiar to me, so I scanned the book, also performed a search of the electronic version, and couldn't find it. I do find one reference to Elsey, circa 1948, regarding the Whittaker Chambers case.
Maybe she couldn’t find the anecdote. But it is there in three different places where she writes how FDR told Hopkins to go into Molotov’s bedroom while he was staying in the White House so that he could meet with the President, and at that meeting, Hopkins told Molotov that FDR was in favor of a Second Front. They can be found on p. 129, p. 268 and p. 296. She missed them because of a trivial error I did make which was to associate the anecdote she took from her source, Laurence Rees’ WW II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West, with the anecdote about Elsey’s find, which is in another part of Rees’ book. West may not have mentioned Elsey’s role in her own text, but it is the anecdote itself about the Second Front that is the crux of this matter and she does refer to it on three occasions. So much for her evidence that my review is “ a series of flattened, screaming, straw-man arguments.”
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