George Flunky Will, who left ABC News after thirty-odd years to ply his nonsense to more sympathetic guests on FOX, experienced one of those spasms of sanity last week that will maintain his reputation among cognoscenti as an Intelligent Conservative. Titled “Richard Nixon’s Long Shadow,” the column builds towards a couple of paragraphs analogizing the IRS’s targeting of conservative and liberal 501(c)(3) organizations and Dick’s siccing the IRS on opponents. These toothless points may keep him on Ted Cruz’s invitation list for weekly lunches at Tortilla Coast.
The fun stuff is what this mellifluous flatterer admits about Nixon. He endorses conclusions first drawn by Seymour Hersh in his 1983 Henry Kissinger biography and adumbrated further by Christopher Hitchens, Robert Parry, and others: at the height of the 1968 election season, using an intermediary friendly with the purported government known as South Vietnam, Nixon signaled that the supposed country would get a better break under his administration. Hold tight, he cautioned. Don’t trust LBJ. Newly published files by Tom Huston earlier this year laid the groundwork. Will:
On July 3, 1968, a Nixon campaign aide, Dick Allen, sent a memo proposing a meeting with Nixon and Anna Chennault, a Chinese American active in Republican politics. She would bring to the meeting South Vietnam’s ambassador to Washington. The memo said the meeting must be “top secret.” Nixon wrote on the memo: “Should be but I don’t see how — with the S.S. [Secret Service].” On July 12, however, she and the ambassador did meet secretly in New York with Nixon who, she later said, designated her his “sole representative” to the Saigon government.
The National Security Agency was reading diplomatic cables sent from South Vietnam’s Washington embassy to Saigon, where the CIA had a listening device in the office of South Vietnam’s president. The FBI was wiretapping South Vietnam’s embassy and monitoring Chennault’s movements in Washington, including her visit to that embassy on Oct. 30.
On Nov. 2 at 8:34 p.m., a teleprinter at Johnson’s ranch delivered an FBI report on the embassy wiretap: Chennault had told South Vietnam’s ambassador “she had received a message from her boss (not further identified). . . . She said the message was that the ambassador is to ‘hold on, we are gonna win.’ ” The Logan Act of 1799 makes it a crime for a private U.S. citizen, which Nixon then was, to interfere with U.S. government diplomatic negotiations.
The revelations have received exactly no mention on the broadcast or cable channels. What a coincidence that the fortieth anniversary of Nixon’s resignation coincides with the slowest time of year for news. The absence of chatter will allow the press to continue promulgating the notion that Nixon was a foreign policy eminence whose liberal domestic policies are odious to the modern GOP he birthed and fed.