Russian espionage professionals never quit targeting America. And let’s just call them the KGB, as their specific name of the moment doesn’t really matter. They infiltrated American society and planted the seeds of political correctness nearly one hundred years ago. Vladimir Putin is a KGB operations officer -- and always will be. Manipulation and deception are as Russian as babushkas and vodka. The FBI’s arrests this week of KGB operatives in America is not surprising. Neither is it surprising that their objective was more about “gaining influence” in political circles rather than sole intelligence gathering. One of the agents worked as a journalist.
The KGB was an evolutionary outgrowth of the tsar’s own intelligence service.
Communism’s “collapse” only pressed the pause button on the KBG’s ops machine. A brief moment of openness and cooperation passed in the blink of an eye. Open archives slammed shut. Floods of revelations dried quickly. Cooperating offices became uncooperative.
After 2008, smelling weakness and sensing operational openings, the KGB oligarchy flexed its muscles, testing our young President. The Secretary of State and the President babbled about “re-setting” the relationship. Putin and his KGB minions surely reinvigorated covert operations. While they smiled at their “new best friends,” a stable of covert reporters infiltrated the enemy.
Russia saw the strategic opening. Regaining her former glory as a super-power was in reach. Surely a message went out to all KGB stations: Our historic covert influence has borne fruit. Obama and his clique are our anti-American agents of change. Reach out. Intimidate. Influence. Negotiate. Accelerate developmentals. Lend a sympathetic ear. Help them destroy their own country.
Obama was nurtured in the fertile center of Soviet covert influence: Columbia University. KGB’s file on Columbia dates back to one of the first Soviet illegals. Werner Rakov, a Soviet trade representative, enrolled in Columbia in 1925. Paul Massing, a “social researcher” spied for the KGB, and helped his wife, Heidi, recruit members of the forerunner of the CIA.
Whittaker Chambers studied at Columbia before joining the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA). Elizabeth Bentley did too. Bill Ayers earned his Education degrees at Columbia Teachers College. Cy Oggins, a hapless American agent for the KGB, shot dead in the basement of the KGB’s headquarters, studied at Columbia in 1920s. And young Barry Obama earned a degree there.
One of the Soviet’s supreme covert influence agents, Dr. George S. Counts, joined the International Institute at Columbia Teachers College in 1927. With no background, he was hired to specialize in Russia. Immediately sent to Moscow, and provided with a highly intelligent Russian assistant, he was recruited by the KGB within a year. His powerful covert influence operations, guided by the Soviets, planted the seeds of anti-American political correctness that destroyed our education system. Even today American education students cite Counts in their radical dissertations.
The KGB is not all-powerful. They are very tenacious, focused, and professional. They never take their eye off the ball. Even when the Politburo was purging KGB officers --calling them home and putting a bullet in their neck -- they still operated successfully, up to the day they got on the boat for Moscow. The agents they left behind were well-trained and continued operating. Their covert influence operations did not need KGB officers to maintain. Once they were begun, funded, and operating, the covert influence took on a life of its own. Like kudzu devouring Georgia, political correctness has engulfed our country.
The KGB targeted the three main cultural transmitters: education/academia, the media, and Hollywood. The anti-American messages (America is a racist, foreigner-hating, sexist imperialistic, hating culture), implanted like advertising, went viral. A KGB officer did not need to be at every meeting of radicals. The KGB chose its influence agents carefully. It provided the American “Willing Accomplices” with the messages, and then got out of the way. The message exploded across American society.
The KGB influence agent at Columbia, Dr. Counts, created the anti-American point of view in education and academia. In his 1932 speeches “Dare the School Build a New Social Order,” declared to American teachers that they needed to “change society.” Counts told American teachers that they had a duty to bring about a new age of collectivism. Counts told teachers that the “age of individualism is dead.”
The Russian spies today are only the tail end of Russia’s fixation on the Great Enemy, America. The questions today are: Do our protectors believe in traditional America, or in destroying traditional America? Is this the change some of us believed in? Does change mean the final destruction of the America we once knew and loved?
Kent (www.kentclizbe.com) served as a staff CIA case officer in the 1990s, and as a contractor after 9/11. He worked in Counter-terrorism against Islamic Extremism in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He is the author of an upcoming book, Willing Accomplices: Soviet Covert Influence and Political Correctness.