How “Uncle Joe” Bugged FDR

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Remarkable anti-FDR essay in the latest issue of the CIA’s own Studies in Intelligence:

“Certainly the President’s moves [toward the end of WWII, when he was probably clinically depressed] can be questioned, but questionable policy can be founded on factors other than low spirits—which, in point of fact, were not generally observed in FDR at the time. Rather, the operant factors were: the President’s supreme confidence in his own powers of persuasion, his profound ignorance of the Bolshevik dictatorship, his projection of humane motives onto his Soviet counterpart, his determined resistance to contradictory evidence and advice, and his wishful thinking based on geopolitical designs—mindsets supported and reinforced by his appointed advisors. Taken together, these factors produced a false view of US-Soviet relations and inspired policy that had only superficial contact with reality. As an instance in point, they induced the President of the United States to do the unthinkable: walk into a surveillance trap, not once, but twice, and willingly.

“Normally, in order to avoid the possibility of intelligence leaks and personal embarrassment, as well as to ensure physical safety, traveling US presidents stay in their own country’s embassies or other diplomatic buildings, whose tables and walls have been swept by instruments able to discover listening devices. But when Roosevelt went abroad to meet Stalin, he wanted very badly to please him, holding him to be a key figure in the postwar division of powers, and so did not insist on such accommodations. Consequently, at the conference in Teheran (November 1943) and again at Yalta (February 1945), he stayed in Soviet quarters and was bugged like no other American president in history. . . .”

11:18 am on July 3, 2003
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