Accuracy in Media
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Former Clinton Official Named as Russian Dupe


AIM Report  |  By AIM Report  |  March 4, 2008


Although Talbott has been identified in press accounts as a current adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, he showed up to hear Senator Barack Obama deliver a foreign policy address in 2005 to the Council on Foreign Relations and declared, “It was very impressive.”

In what could be the biggest State Department scandal since State Department official and United Nations founder Alger Hiss was exposed as a Soviet spy, a top Clinton State Department official and former Time magazine journalist has been identified as having been a trusted contact of the Russian intelligence service.

The sensational charge against Strobe Talbott is made in a new book based on interviews with a Russian defector. The book, Comrade J, by veteran author and reporter Pete Earley, identifies Talbott as having been manipulated by a Russian official working for Russian intelligence in order to get information about U.S. foreign policy. The same book describes the United Nations as a major base of espionage operations for Russia in the U.S. 

But the story gets much more scandalous than that because Talbott himself has just written a book, The Great Experiment, describing his own background in the pro-world government World Federalist Movement and naming a network of friends and close associates that includes former President Bill Clinton and billionaire leftist George Soros. Curiously, the book calls for expanding the authority of the U.N. but completely ignores the role of Soviet spy Alger Hiss, himself a top State Department official, in founding the United Nations.

The purpose of Talbott's book is to promote "global governance," a euphemism for world government. It is defined in the subtitle as "The Quest for a Global Nation."

Interestingly, one of Talbott's closest friends in the U.S. Senate, Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana, has emerged as a foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. In 2005, Lugar and Obama made a visit to Russia to promote the scandal-ridden "Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR)," also known as the Nunn-Lugar program for its original Senate sponsors. The CTR has poured about $6 billion into the former Soviet Union in foreign aid, supposedly for the purpose of preventing nuclear proliferation.

"After actively promoting Nunn-Lugar while at Time [magazine], Talbott was put in charge of the [CTR] program when named by Clinton as ambassador at large to Russia and the newly independent states in February 1993," notes journalist Ken Timmerman, in a report headlined, "Strobe Talbott: Russia's Man in Washington."

Pleased With Hillary And Obama

Although Talbott has been identified in press accounts as a current adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, he showed up to hear Senator Barack Obama deliver a foreign policy address in 2005 to the Council on Foreign Relations and declared, "It was very impressive." A story about the speech carried by MSNBC and published on Obama's Senate website noted that Lugar was "helping" Obama in the foreign policy field, that Obama and Lugar "have formed a political joint venture and mutual admiration society," and that they had traveled to Russia together. The trip to Russia was designed to ensure Obama's support for maintaining and even expanding the foreign aid for Russia through the CTR program.  

Although CTR supporters claim it can be effective in keeping nuclear weapons or materials out of the hands of terrorists, various reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveal that funds have been used mainly to destroy obsolete weapons that Moscow was going to replace with high-tech arms. The International Proliferation Prevention Program, which has evolved from the CTR,  was recently exposed by the GAO as a jobs program for Russian scientists, more than half of which may not have any weapons-related experience.

Nevertheless, Obama said that "few people" understand Russia better than Lugar, a "rock star" on the world stage. Lugar, in turn, calls Strobe Talbott a "good friend" and "source of sound counsel" who "continues to provide outstanding national and international leadership."

The Significance Of Tretyakov

Comrade J is about a Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the United States because he was disgusted with the Russian/Soviet system and wanted to start a new and better life with his family in America. His allegations about Talbott have been ignored by most of the media.

Tretyakov is described as the highest ranking Russian intelligence official ever to defect while stationed in the U.S. and handled all Russian intelligence operations against the U.S. He served under cover from 1995-2000 at Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations but was secretly working for the FBI for at least three years.

Talbott has been and continues to be a major foreign policy thinker. Back in 2000, when he was named head of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, he was described as "a key architect of U.S. foreign policy" during the Clinton years. Talbott now serves as president of the liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C., where he gets paid over $400,000 a year, leads a staff of 277 and presides over an endowment of over $200 million.

Talbott denies Tretyakov's charges, calling them "erroneous and/or misleading," and his denials are featured on page 184 of the book. He says that he always promoted U.S. foreign policy goals and that the close relationship that he had with a top Russian official by the name of Georgi Mamedov did not involve any manipulation or deception. 

Deja Vu 

This is not the first time that Talbott has come under scrutiny for his alleged contacts with agents of a foreign intelligence service. In 1994, when he was being considered for his State Department post in the Clinton Administration, he was grilled by Senator Jesse Helms, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about his relationship with Victor Louis, a Soviet "journalist" who was actually a Soviet KGB intelligence agent. Talbott had been a young correspondent for Time magazine in Moscow.

As reported by Herbert Romerstein in Human Events newspaper, Talbott admitted knowing Louis from 1969 until his death in 1992 but that he was not aware of his "organizational affiliations." Pressed further, Talbott acknowledged that he was aware of assertions or speculation to that effect about Louis. Helms then confronted Talbott with a 1986 State Department publication revealing that Louis had been identified as a KGB agent by KGB defectors and had been used by the Soviets to spread disinformation. Talbott said he still didn't know for sure that Louis was a KGB agent. Romerstein's Human Events article accused Talbott of writing articles following the Soviet line.

However, Talbott had powerful friends, including Senator and fellow Rhodes Scholar Richard Lugar, who supported his nomination.

Romerstein, a retired government expert on anti-American and communist propaganda activities, said the Earley book is valuable because it documents that the Russian intelligence service picked up where the KGB left off, and that operations against the U.S. continued after the end of the Cold War. 

But he said the information about Talbott needs further explanation from Talbott himself. "Talbott really has to explain more than he did to Pete Earley what his relationship was to Mamedov, and he should tell us about his relationship with Victor Louis," Romerstein said.

Talbott's "Vision"

On January 4, Talbott gave a talk at the "Politics & Prose" bookstore in Washington, D.C., where he explained in precise detail what he means by "global governance." He said that it "allows for a multiplicity of governments [or] nation states in the world but at the same time depends increasingly on an international system made up of up treaties, international law, institutions, and various arrangements whereby nations in effect pool their national authority in order to deal with certain problems that they cannot deal with all by themselves and they can't deal with in small numbers."

Talbott added, "That is the big idea that the book attempts to describe and trace. And it's not just a utopian dream. Global governance is a reality. We have it today."

In the future, Talbott says the U.N. will need to be "incorporated into an increasingly variegated network of structures and arrangements, some functional in focus, others geographic; some intergovernmental, others based on systematic collaboration with the private sector, civil society, and NGOs [non-governmental organizations]. Only if the larger enterprise of global governance has that kind of breadth and depth will it be able to supplement what the U.N. does well, compensate for what it does badly, and provide capabilities that it lacks." 

McCain Opposed Talbott

In 1993, when Talbott was nominated by President Clinton as Ambassador at Large and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the new Independent States (of the former Soviet Union), Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor to declare that, despite Talbott being a close friend and personal pick of the President's, "I cannot in good conscience vote to confirm his appointment."

McCain said that Talbott, as a writer for Time magazine and a commentator, had been guilty of making "mistaken observations" and suggesting "flawed policy solutions" on the matter of whether Russia "will evolve peacefully and democratically, collapse into chaos, or return to totalitarianism, be it Communist or fascist."

McCain noted that Talbott opposed all of the Reagan initiatives, including deployment of missiles to Europe and the Strategic Defense Initiative, which had kept Europe free from Soviet control and eventually resulted in the demise of the Soviet empire. McCain said that "it would require many more hours for me to cite all the examples of mistakes and inconsistencies upon which Mr. Talbott bases his reputation as a Soviet expert." 

However, on April 2, 1993, Talbott was confirmed by the Senate to this post by a Yea-Nay Vote of 89-9. One of his leading Senate backers was Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar. The nine voting against Talbott were Craig (R-ID), Faircloth (R-NC), Gorton (R-WA), Helms (R-NC), Kempthorne (R-ID), Lott (R-MS), McCain (R-AZ), Smith (R-NH), and Wallop (R-WY).

On February 22, 1994, again with Lugar's vigorous support, Talbott was confirmed by the Senate by a Yea-Nay Vote of 66-31 to the post of Deputy Secretary of State. Once again, McCain voted against him.

While critical of the George W. Bush Administration, Talbott hosted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a May 2007 meeting of the International Advisory Council of Brookings. In his book, he gives credit to Rice for "moderating the tone and substance" of policy coming from the Bush White House in the president's second term. 

Talbott's Friends  

Talbott's book, The Great Experiment, not only ignores the role of Soviet spy Alger Hiss in founding the U.N. but describes the production of the U.N. Charter as a "very public American project." He thanks George Soros and Walter Isaacson, formerly of Time but now with the Aspen Institute, for their input on his manuscript.
Talbott also gives thanks to convicted document thief Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's national security adviser  who now advises Hillary's presidential campaign; Soros associate Morton Halperin, formerly of the ACLU; Javier Solana of the European Union; and Bill Clinton, "for helping me better to understand several aspects of his view of the world and America's role in it." 

A close personal friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Talbott is described in the Comrade J book as having been "a special unofficial contact" of the Russian intelligence agency, the SVR, when he was Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration. Talbott had been in charge of Russian affairs. 

"Inside the SVR, that term was used only to identify a top-level intelligence source who had high social and/or political status and whose identity needed to be carefully guarded," the book says. On the same level of interest was Fidel Castro's brother Raul, a communist "recruited by the KGB during the Khrushchev era" who continued to work for the Russians after the Soviet collapse, the book says. He, too, was a "special unofficial contact."

Talbott was allegedly manipulated and deceived by Russia's then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgi Mamedov, who was "secretly working" for Russian intelligence, the book alleges. The book, however, does not make the specific charge that Talbott was recruited as a Russian spy or was a conscious agent of the Russian regime.

The book cites Talbott as an "example of how a skilled intelligence agency could manipulate a situation and a diplomatic source to its advantage without the target realizing he was being used for intelligence-gathering purposes." It says Mamedov was "instructed" by the SVR to ask specific questions to get information about certain matters.

The book says that Talbott was so compromised by his relationship with Mamedov that the FBI asked Secretary of State  Madeleine Albright not to share information with Talbott about an espionage investigation at the State Department because Mamedov might learn about it and tip off Russian intelligence. Earley says he confirmed this account but that Albright has refused to discuss the incident.

The book cites a House of Representatives report, released in September 2000, which found that the Clinton Administration and Talbott in particular had excused the actions of the Russian government and had failed to promote democracy and free enterprise there. 

Earley's book itself discusses how, during the mid 1990s, Talbott, State Department spokesman Mike McCurry, and President Clinton himself echoed Russian propaganda that justified Russian attacks on Chechnya. This "delighted the propagandists inside the SVR," which claimed credit" for what the U.S. officials had said, the book says.  

It seems that Talbott has a tendency, which continues to the present day, of whitewashing the Russian regime. 

In congressional testimony just last October on U.S.-Russian relations, Talbott attacked the Bush Administration for withdrawing from the ABM treaty, urged Russian membership in the World Trade Organization, and advocated more negotiations and agreements with Russia over nuclear arms. The U.S. has "set a bad example" for the Russians in foreign affairs, Talbott said.

With all of these high-powered connections, the story about Talbott being used by the Russians seems to be a story worth reporting or commenting on. However, if the media examine the charges against Talbott, they might have to deal with other evidence and information in the book about how spies for the Soviet intelligence service manipulated the U.S. media.

The book, for instance, explains how the Soviet KGB peddled charges that deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons to Europe in the 1980s might lead to their use and a "nuclear winter" or climate crisis for the world. The book says the story was cooked up by the KGB and fed to the Western world by anti-nuclear activists such as Carl Sagan, who penned an article on the topic for the Council on Foreign Relations journal Foreign Affairs. The book notes that Sagan later appeared on the ABC television network to talk about the subject.  

Tretyakov says he discovered "dozens of case studies" of the KGB using "propaganda and disinformation to influence public opinion" in the West. 

His Time At Time

A prominent journalist himself at one time, Talbott achieved notoriety for writing a July 20, 1992, Time column, "The Birth of the Global Nation," saying that in the next century "nationhood as we know it will be obsolete," that we will all some day become world citizens, and that wars and human rights violations in the 20th century had clinched "the case for world government." This reflects the views of the pro-world government World Federalist movement.

"The piece made me briefly popular with foreign policy liberals and, not so briefly, a target of brickbats from the right," he says in his book. He acknowledges that his parents were members  of the World Federalist Movement (they were also "active in the internationalist wing of the  Republican Party in the  late forties and early fifties ") and that he had a dog growing up known as "Freddie," which was short for World Federalists. The World Federalist Movement collaborated with Soviet front groups such as the Soviet Peace Committee during the Cold War and tried to avoid scrutiny from anti-communist congressional committees after World War II.

In one of his first major media appearances after his selection as Brookings president, on the Charlie Rose program, he was identified in promotional material as a World Federalist. But this designation doesn't appear in the official biography on the Brookings website.

Talbott's global left-wing vision was endorsed personally by President Clinton, who had sent a June 22, 1993, letter to the World Federalist Association (WFA) when it gave Talbott its Norman Cousins Global Governance Award. In the letter, Clinton noted that Cousins, the WFA founder, had "worked for world peace and world government" and that Talbott was a "worthy recipient" of the award. Talbott and Bill Clinton became friends when they were both Rhodes Scholars. 

Hillary Clinton, who has been friends with Talbott since their days together at Yale University, gave a videotaped address to the WFA in 1999 on the occasion of the group giving former anchorman of the CBS Evening News Walter Cronkite its global governance award. She praised Cronkite's work. For his part, Cronkite declared that "we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government" and America must "yield up some of our sovereignty."

What You Can Do

Send the enclosed postcard to Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign about Hillary’s relationship with Strobe Talbott. Also send a postcard to White House chief of staff Bolten, asking the President to veto Obama’s Global Poverty Act.

Finally, please consider supporting AIM with a financial contribution so that we can continue our educational efforts.


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