Obama CIA director John Brennan, a subject of ongoing analysis at The American Spectator, recently uncorked an epic Twitter rant. Enraged by President Trump’s words aimed at FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, Brennan steamed at the president: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America … America will triumph over you.”
More than one faithful reader of this fine publication emailed me about the irony of such words coming from a man who wanted Gus Hall to be president of the United States.
For those too young to remember, Gus Hall was the longtime hack and head of Communist Party USA, beginning in 1959 until his death in 2000. Not even Joe Stalin as a Party general secretary came close to matching Gus Hall’s interminable tenure. Hall was unwaveringly dedicated to a global communist revolution and a truly Evil Empire that was ultimately and blessedly consigned to “the dustbin of history.” Brennan’s loaded words echoed a phrase that Bolshevism made infamous: From the delightful Leon Trotsky to the charming Yuri Andropov, the exhortation evidently remains etched in Brennan’s comradely memory. “Go the place where you belong from now on,” Trotsky thundered at the Mensheviks in 1917, “the dustbin of history!”
Our former CIA director channeled Trotsky in the service of blasting Trump.
Of course, that’s precisely why the good reader emailed me. The reader graciously remembered my piece for The American Spectator in September 2016 in which I noted that the same Mr. John Brennan had supported Mr. Gus Hall for POTUS back in the Brezhnev era. Brennan literally cast a vote for the Kremlin’s man in Washington. Needless to say, the Kremlin in those days was a rather bad place that housed some nasty guys. Leonid Brezhnev’s KGB chief was Yuri Andropov. About the time that Brennan was registering a ballot for Moscow’s man in America to become America’s next president, Brezhnev and Andropov were giving the green light to one of the most shocking crimes of the deadly 20th century: the assassination of Pope John Paul II. Andropov gave the go-ahead to the Soviet GRU to hire Muslim-Turk Mehmet Ali Agca to murder the head of the world’s largest Christian church and inheritor of the Chair of St. Peter.
That ought to have raised a red flag to John Brennan, who, among other things, had been raised an Irish Catholic. His lurch to the far left occurred during his college years at the Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. (Today, it’s unclear where Brennan stands faith-wise, with not a single mention at his official CIA page and other biographical sources and amid unproven claims that he converted to Islam. The Arabic-speaking ex-CIA director, who studied abroad in Cairo, has made very positive statements about Islam and the “privilege” of making pilgrimage to Mecca and paying homage to “the majesty of the Hajj.”)
In fact, if one studies Brennan’s admission that he voted for Gus Hall, it looks like he also suggested that he might have been a member of the Communist Party in 1980. Yes, a formal member.
Once upon a time in pre-Obama America, the possibility of CPUSA membership would have been a disqualifying factor to run the CIA. But not to the president that Americans elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012. To the contrary, Obama would have been highly sympathetic. It was likewise in 1980, at Occidental College, according to classmate John Drew, that the young Obama was an ideological Marxist, albeit not a formal CPUSA member. Only the most hardcore joined The Party — including Obama mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, whose underground code name for The Party was “The Church.”
But alas, that’s just the start of the irony in John Brennan’s Tweet about the corruption of Donald Trump. Observe that Brennan also blasted Trump for demagoguery, venality, and moral turpitude. Well, that took some gall for a Gus guy. Gus Hall was all those things, and worse.
I couldn’t begin to here lay out the full spectrum and spectacle (and disgrace, to borrow another Brennan description) that was Gus Hall, but here’s one particularly relevant item of interest: ol’ Gus was so corrupt that even the Russkies couldn’t trust him.
An eyewitness to that reality was Morris Childs, a remarkable individual whose story was told by the late John Barron in his fascinating book Operation Solo: The FBI’s Man in the Kremlin. Childs was Gus’s number-two at CPUSA. And all along, Childs was secretly working for the FBI.
The courageous Childs marvelously hoodwinked Hall and his Moscow cronies. The Sovs loved Childs like a brother, bestowing on him their celebrated Soviet Order of the Red Banner — a hilarious accomplishment for an undercover FBI agent.
What Childs learned from the Soviets was significant. But as to the point of Gus Hall’s corruption, consider this:
The Soviet Union was secretly bankrolling CPUSA, including annual subsidies to the Daily Worker. It was illegal for CPUSA and Gus Hall to receive this money. Our government knew this was happening, but it kept the information quiet to protect Childs so he could continue providing crucial inside intelligence.
Morris Childs and his brother Jack (also working for our side) were conduits for the funding. The Kremlin gave CPUSA tens of millions of dollars. The total rose to $2,775,000 by 1980. The FBI knew the precise amount because it counted every dime at a half-way house prior to when Morris deposited it in a safe for Gus Hall.
To repeat: Hall and CPUSA were doing all of this illegally. They were a directly subsidized arm of America’s chief adversary, of a barbaric regime.
But that’s not the end of it — of, that is, Gus Hall’s corruption. As for the safe in which Moscow’s money was placed for CPUSA, Gus always pocketed a portion for his personal stash. Childs knew this, the FBI knew it. He wasn’t trustworthy. Then again, why would anyone trust a communist general secretary? Come to think of it, why would anyone vote for a communist general secretary to be their president of the United States?
That brings us back to John Brennan.
One might lend more credibility to Brennan’s crowing about Donald Trump if he had better judgment about presidents of the United States. And this article doesn’t begin to detail Gus Hall’s venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption. Where to start and finish with those? Here are merely a few Gus gems:
On vacationing in North Korea: “The world should see what North Korea has done. In some ways it’s a miracle. If you want to take a nice vacation, take it in North Korea.”
On the Party’s position on the Hitler-Stalin of 1939, Stalin’s purge trials, and the 1956 invasion of Hungary: “I never believed that we should dwell too much on the past. I have been much more interested in the future.”
On socialism’s inevitability in America: “There’s no question that the United States will become a socialist country. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising tomorrow.”
On the Party remaining committed to revolution: “We want to overthrow the capitalist system. But the means that we have chosen are ones of mass education and propaganda. We have our newspaper and we appear on talk shows and we will take part in elections.”
Well, John Brennan took part in those elections. He cast a vote for the cause.
I could go and on. Gus went on and on. Talk about a disgraced demagogue, Mr. Brennan? Geesh. Here was one in spades.
Fortunately for America, Ronald Reagan and friends also had a vote in 1980. They triumphed over Gus Hall and his advocates like John Brennan, mercifully consigning the Marxist-Leninist trash-heap to the dustbin of history.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century; The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, the Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor; and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.