Friday, June 29, 2007

Saint Ronnie Committed A Felony...Seriously!

...and cross-dressing J. Edgar helped.


Ronald Reagan committed a felony

Submitted by Rick Perlstein on June 27, 2007 - 4:28pm.

You read that right, too. And I'm not talking about violating the Boland Amendment

It's a piece of trivia I picked up researching my forthcoming book on Richard Nixon. I've always been surprised it's not widely known. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld, after a long legal battle, was able to obtain the FBI's files on the Unviversity of California Berkeley and composed an amazing series in 2002 that included this astounding tidbit:

As governor, Reagan would have access to UC's atomic research data. The Atomic Energy Act required the FBI to conduct a comprehensive background investigation of him.

The process started on Dec. 18, 1966, when Reagan filled out a Personnel Security
Questionnaire that asked, among other questions:

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any organization which has been designated by the United States Attorney General as required under the provisions of Executive Order 10450?

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons which is totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive . . . ?"

Applicants were required to list any such groups and the dates they were involved with them.
Reagan answered "no" to both questions on the form, which contained a warning that "any false statement herein may be punished as a felony."

Reagan received shining recommendations from everyone the FBI interviewed.

But files of the Los Angeles FBI office showed that in 1946 Reagan had been a sponsor and director of the Committee for a Democratic Far East Policy, which had been designated as subversive by the U.S. Attorney General under Executive Order 10450.

The records also showed that also in 1946 Reagan had been a member of the American Veterans Committee, the California section of which had been cited in a report by the predecessor of the Burns committee as "communist dominated and (as) a vociferous, decadent minority in national AVC affairs."

But Grapp, head of the L.A. office, approved a report that conformed to Reagan's Personnel Security Questionnaire -- omitting Reagan's association with the two groups officially deemed subversive.

When FBI officials in the bureau's headquarters read Grapp's report, they ordered him to amend the document to include Reagan's role in the groups.

The bureau could not risk the omission. Hundreds of people in the late 1940s and early 1950s had faced hearings and sometimes dismissals from federal employment for failing to disclose memberships in groups deemed subversive.

But the final report to the Atomic Energy Commission, prepared by FBI headquarters, did not mention Reagan's false statement that he had never belonged to a subversive organization, which by law could itself be reason to deny a security clearance.

Read the whole article, because the context is amazing. J. Edgar Hoover, who'd been on the hunt for Berkeley president Clark Kerr since the 1950s, saw a Governor Reagan as his chance to get Kerr fired. So, speaking of lawbreaking, he probably conspired to get Reagan elected. The Chronicle reporter depicts the free pass given to Reagan as payback for that favor.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

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