Diana West

What should we take away from the following story?

Once upon a time, the man who was given charge of all the secrets of the nation was then given charge of all of its soldiers and weapons. And none of the people's representatives seemed to give a fig that this same man, once upon another time, was very close to a minion of the nation's mortal enemy -- that the man even read the minion's praises into the Congressional Record and later spoke at his funeral.

None of the people's representatives cared to ask why this was so. Nor did they care to ask themselves whether such a man, who also supported an organization dedicated to advancing the mortal enemy's political interests here in Washington during a time of "cold" hostilities, is the right man to oversee, first, the nation's secrets, and now its military. Does the man have second thoughts about his past views or associations? How might they affect the man's current duties? Not one U.S. senator has bothered to ask.

"The man" is Leon Panetta, Barack Obama's unconventional choice to head the CIA in 2009, now his choice to head the Pentagon. This week, Panetta was unanimously approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee for the defense post, and will be considered by the full Senate next week.

There is something troubling here. Researchers Cliff Kincaid and Trevor Loudon have dug up documentation in the archives of the University of Washington of a cordial, long-term relationship in the 1970s and 1980s between Panetta, a member of the Congress between 1977 and 1993, and Hugh DeLacy, a Communist Party USA member elected to one term in Congress pretending to be a Democrat in 1944. DeLacy later co-founded the communist-penetrated Progressive Party that nominated Henry Wallace for president in 1948. By the 1970s, DeLacy was still politically active, with connections to known Soviet agents including Victor Perlo of the infamous Perlo spy group, and Frank Coe and Solomon Adler of the equally infamous Silvermaster spy group. DeLacy is also associated with suspected Soviet agent John Stewart Service of the "Amerasia" spy case. Moreover, DeLacy was of sufficient interest to Communist China to have scored a paid junket to the People's Republic in 1974. There, Loudon reports, DeLacy met up with Service, Coe and Adler, who was then thought to be working for Chinese intelligence.

"Within two years," Loudon said in a recent online interview with Jerry Kenney, "DeLacy was in regular contact with Leon Panetta, grilling him and regularly asking him for military and defense and foreign-policy-related information, which Panetta heavily supplied him."

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).