Christopher, through the heroic efforts of diligent historical researchers and first-hand National Review observers such as Frank Meyer, Gary Wills, and Murray Rothbard, we now know so much more of the hidden backstory of the origins of the modern “Conservative” movement than we shall learn from this fanciful cherry-picked account by Jeffrey Lord. Specifically, we now know that William F. Buckley Jr.’s entire career as a ‘public intellectual’ was built upon one ignominious deception after another as a servitor of state power. The synthetic movement he help spawn has continued unabated, growing like a cancer in the American body politic
Bill Buckley was a student at Yale University (Skull and Bones 1950) where he served as shill and informant for J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. One of Buckley’s Yale professors, former Trotskyist Willmoore Kendall (formerly of the OSS and later consultant to the CIA) was a recruiter of talent for the newly created Agency.
Kendall recruited Buckley in 1951. Kendall introduced him to former Trotskyist James Burnham (also formerly of the OSS). Burnham was consultant to the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination, the CIA’s covert action division, actively working on the coup d’état against Mossadegh in Iran.
Burnham first introduced Buckley to agent E. Howard Hunt in his Washington, D. C. apartment. Buckley then served with Hunt in Mexico where Hunt was chief of station and Buckley’s control officer. Hunt later figured as a principal in the Watergate Scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.
Hunt, in his memoirs, American Spy, (in which Buckley wrote the introduction) observes that prior to his stint in the CIA, Regnery published Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, an indictment of the supposed pervasive liberalism on that campus. The book launched Buckley’s career as spokesman for the emerging “Conservative” movement of the early 1950s. With what we now know about CIA covert recruiting on college campuses during this period, particularly Yale, Buckley’s initial book bears a new revisionist examination.
What is not widely known is that the whole enterprise was largely that of a “vanity press” arrangement, with the Buckley family operating covertly under the clandestine guise of the Catawba Corporation, commissioning and financing the book’s publication and publicity. The book’s ownership copyright secretly belonged to Catawba, not WFB.
Buckley was later approached by Regnery to serve on the board of directors of the publishing firm, along with that of William J. Casey. Casey was a prominent Wall Street attorney who had served in the OSS and later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan.
Hunt pointed out that Regnery was subsidized by the CIA during its early years.
At this time James Burnham, who had maintained many of his former leftist connections, was active in the CIA-sponsored front, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which was secretly funding left-wing, anti-Soviet scholars and publications networks producing magazines such as Encounter. These CIA-sponsored social democrats and ex-Trotskyists later emerged as the neocons.
When later, at Burnham’s urging, Buckley created National Review magazine, the premier “Conservative” publication of the past fifty years, joining him in the endeavor as principal editors were Kendall, Burnham, and his sister Priscilla, all of whom had been employed by the CIA.
William J. Casey drew up the incorporation papers for National Review, and served as its long-time legal counsel.
The mysterious early funding of this “non-profit” publication has long been an enigma to researchers. One hoped that Hunt (and Buckley) would finally shed light on this subject, for in one of the most fascinating, if incomplete, chapters in Hunt’s memoir, “The Great Propaganda Machine,” he describes some of his activities in the CIA’s on-going efforts to manipulate, subsidize, and influence the news media and, through it, American public opinion.
The great unanswered question remains: What was Hunt’s role in assisting his old colleague in creating the CIA’s synthetic “Conservative” movement?
Buckley’s National Review editorial colleague Frank Meyer (and his good friend, National Review contributor Murray Rothbard) believed that the magazine was a CIA operation run by Burnham as Buckley’s control. And Hunt does detail in the book how the CIA was engaged in many clandestine operations of covert front groups and foundations using media manipulation and propaganda to project American imperial power and hegemony throughout the world.
Buckley and Hunt are dead.
Why not come clean about National Review? Buckley remained close to Hunt and, as he relates in the memoir, helping him through some trying post-Watergate legal difficulties after the mysterious airline death of his wife Dorothy.
Years later, Buckley was outted as a CIA operative by former CIA agent William Sloane Coffin (Skull and Bones 1949).
Coffin was a long-time colleague of George H. W. Bush (Skull and Bones 1948) when they both attended Phillips Andover Academy and later Yale together.
Former CIA Director George Bush later presented Buckley the Presidential Medal of Freedom, something Hunt never got for his years of clandestine service.
Buckley subsequently created his famous fictional character of CIA agent Blackford Oakes, as Hunt had done earlier in his own series of eight spy novels (under the pseudonym of David St. John) featuring CIA agent ‘Peter Ward.’
But it is not Hunt with whom Buckley should be compared but author Mary Shelley.
Buckley’s entire life as America’s premier “conservative” public intellectual was sheer fiction based on lies and deception. And so has been the Frankenstein movement he created for his intelligence community masters.
8:44 pm on December 27, 2011 Email Charles Burris