Cliff Kincaid
A Reagan award for anti-Reagan leaker
By Cliff Kincaid
June 26, 2014

President Reagan will be turning over in his grave on November 15 when the second annual "Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award" is given to President Obama's former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

As we noted when Panetta was nominated by Obama for the Pentagon post, his Congressional career "was dedicated to fighting Reagan's defense build-up and anti-communist policies."

He is also a notorious leaker, having disclosed top secret information to Hollywood filmmakers about the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The "Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award" recognizes "the exemplary dedication and service of individuals in the defense of the United States and its people."

In our column "Panetta's War on Reagan's Defense Policies," we noted that at a time in the 1980s when Reagan had said, "In virtually every measure of military power the Soviet Union enjoys a decided advantage," Panetta was a liberal California congressman who "sought to undermine Reagan's pro-defense policies at every turn."

This, of course, is why Obama picked him.

In addition to his anti-defense record, Panetta had a relationship with Communist Party figure Hugh DeLacy, who had ties to Soviet and Chinese intelligence operatives. It was never clear if Senate investigators or the FBI, or both, investigated Panetta's background.

DeLacy was one of only two congressmen exposed as a member of the Moscow-funded Communist Party.

We reported that Panetta was so far to the left that he praised a pro-Soviet "peace activist," Lucy Haessler, and had asked President Jimmy Carter for clemency for Leonard Peltier, the radical American Indian activist serving life in prison for killing two FBI agents.

Why the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library is giving Panetta an award is beyond comprehension. The foundation serves as the final resting place of America's 40th President.

Panetta was Obama's Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011, and Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013.

As Obama's CIA Director, he was responsible for an egregious leak of classified information, identifying the unit that conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden and the ground commander by name at a ceremony with Hollywood filmmakers working on the film "Zero Dark Thirty" known to be present. This information was classified as top secret.

The film, "Zero Dark Thirty," was widely perceived as an attempt to make the Obama administration look tough on terror.

John Hayward's Human Events article referred to Panetta's "good leak," as perceived by the Obama administration, versus disclosures about administration wrongdoing that were being punished.

Judicial Watch obtained a CIA internal report confirming that Panetta had revealed classified information at the June 24, 2011, bin Laden assault awards ceremony

A draft copy of a Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General report on the Pentagon's cooperation with the makers of the film also confirmed that Panetta had disclosed top secret information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But the final copy of the report from the Inspector General contained nothing about Panetta's disclosure.

The Project On Government Oversight had obtained the draft copy of the report.

It said Panetta's disclosures included "highly classified signals intelligence," or, as the draft report put it: "Director Panetta also provided DoD information, identified by relevant Original Classification Authorities as TOP SECRET//SI//REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL, as well as, SECRET/ACCM."

The "Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award" is also being given to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who has a pro-defense record marred by his support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its propaganda arm, Al Jazeera.

The awards to Panetta and McCain will follow a "Reagan National Defense Forum" featuring General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last July it was disclosed that Panetta was writing a book about his experiences as CIA Director and defense secretary that drew an advance of close to $3 million.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou wrote a column titled "I got 30 months in prison. Why does Leon Panetta get a pass?," about how he was sentenced to prison for disclosing the name of a colleague. He contrasted his case with that of Panetta, who was never prosecuted for his disclosures.

One month before he gets the Reagan award, Panetta is scheduled to receive "one of the nation's highest honors," the William J. Donovan Award, which will be presented in October at the annual dinner of The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society in Washington, D.C.

Donovan was the founder and director of the OSS, the predecessor to the CIA.

A new book, A Very Principled Boy, by former CIA officer Mark A. Bradley, tells the story of communist Duncan Lee, who infiltrated the OSS for the Soviets and was never prosecuted or convicted. Communist defector Elizabeth Bentley exposed Lee, but he continued to deny serving the communists until his death. He was eventually exposed definitively as a Soviet agent by the Venona intercepts of Soviet messages by the NSA. One of the Venona messages named Lee, who worked directly for OSS director Donovan, by the cover name "Koch."

Donovan called him a "very principled boy" who would not betray his country.

The NSA intercepts were not used at the time to prosecute Lee because of the need to keep the nature and success of the surveillance a secret from the Soviets.

"The sad truth," notes Mark LaRochelle, "is that Lee was just one of many identified Soviet agents in the OSS. Others, as we now know from numerous impeccable sources, included Maurice Halperin, Carl Marzani, Franz Neumann, Helen Tenney, Julius and Bella Joseph, and Lee's Oxford classmate, Donald Niven Wheeler."

In fact, says historian Harvey Klehr, there were at least 16 Soviet agents in the OSS.

The Office of Strategic Services Society says it exists to educate the American public "regarding the continuing importance of strategic intelligence and special operations to the preservation of freedom in this country and around the world."

© Cliff Kincaid


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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