In the London Review of Books, legendary reporter Seymour Hersh (now an octogenarian) claims that Vice President George H.W. Bush was more or less the spymaster of the Reagan Administration, running 35 covert operations, and even having his own M.
The Vice President’s Men
Seymour M. Hersh
January 24, 2019
When George H.W. Bush arrived in Washington as vice president in January 1981 he seemed little more than a sideshow to Ronald Reagan…
There was another view of Bush: the one held by the military men and civilian professionals who worked for him on national security issues. Unlike the president, he knew what was going on and how to get things done. For them, Reagan was ‘a dimwit’ who didn’t get it, or even try to get it. …
Bush was different: he got it. At his direction, a team of military operatives was set up that bypassed the national security establishment – including the CIA – and wasn’t answerable to congressional oversight. It was led by Vice-Admiral Arthur Moreau, a brilliant navy officer who would be known to those on the inside as ‘M’. He had most recently been involved, as deputy chief of naval operations, in developing the US’s new maritime strategy, aimed at restricting Soviet freedom of movement. In May 1983 he was promoted to assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Vessey, and over the next couple of years he oversaw a secret team – operating in part out of the office of Daniel Murphy, Bush’s chief of staff – which quietly conducted at least 35 covert operations against drug trafficking, terrorism and, most important, perceived Soviet expansionism in more than twenty countries, including Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Libya, Senegal, Chad, Algeria, Tunisia, the Congo, Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Vietnam.
Hersh claims the elder Bush was deeply involved in Iran-Contra.
Is this true?
I dunno …
Let me point out that under American law you can’t be sued for libel by a dead man. That may have something to do with the timing of this story.
On a related note, I think it’s pretty plausible that George H.W. Bush had connections to the CIA well before he served as its director in 1975. There’s a fair amount of evidence that Bush’s offshore oil rigs in Mexican waters served as logistics platforms for aiding in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. But that also doesn’t sound like it would be all that scandalous if it were ever confirmed: U.S. Senator’s son revealed to have helped his Skull & Bonesmates in the CIA out!
Let me point out that Seymour Hersh is one of the greatest reporters in American history. Yet, reporting is a little like being heavyweight champion of the world. Unless you retire young, it’s hard to go out on top.
Hersh has an impressive track record going back to exposing the My Lai massacre a half century ago. But that doesn’t mean that everybody who talks to you about their putative Deep State doings is motivated solely by honesty.
Presumably, some interested parties have devoted a fair amount of thought to figuring out what kinds of info Hersh tends to trust and what he mistrusts. It’s kind of like a rookie baseball slugger who has a huge first year (e.g., Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers who hit 39 homers as a rookie in 2017) because the pitchers haven’t figured out where the holes in his swing are yet. Albert Pujols is currently struggling late in his career because a huge amount of effort has been devoted over the years to figuring out how to pitch him and, especially, where to position defensive players when he bats. He still hits a fair number of line drives, but now they tend to be right at somebody.
That’s perhaps a weakness of a veteran investigative journalist like Hersh, whereas a relative newcomer like Ronan Farrow might be harder to manipulate until his tendencies have been mapped out.
Anyway, it’s all above my pay grade.
At the bottom of the article, Edward Luttwak offers his own counter-view.