Halloween is over, but Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s mask is still on. That’s because his media and political patrons are doing everything they can to keep it from slipping.
They hold up his uniform, his ranger tab, his Purple Heart, his immigrant status, to create a facade that isn’t only impervious to questions but withering to them. How dare anyone question Vindman’s commitment, his loyalty to this country? Look at his uniform, his ranger tab, his Purple Heart, his immigrant status.
It’s a thin disguise. There are grave reasons to scrutinize and question Vindman’s behavior, regardless of whether he’s a decorated veteran, an openly partisan Obama holdover, an immigrant from the old USSR, or all of the above.
The questions begin with Vindman’s activities as a staffer on the president’s National Security Council. Alarming reports indicate Vindman served as a source for the Ukrainian government inside the White House. This news may be padded by his protectors and muted by our general ignorance of the intelligence wars waged against this country, typically masterminded by the Kremlin, but it’s nonetheless deeply concerning.
Further, given the sophisticated penetration talents of the Russian intelligence services, it’s the height of foolhardiness to assume that Vindman’s Ukrainian connections end in Kyiv.
The New York Times first reported the news about Vindman’s Ukrainian communications by rationalizing them:
“Because [Vindman] emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child and is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian officials sought advice from him about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani, though they typically communicated in English.”
I’m sorry. “Because” the Ukrainian- and Russian-fluent Vindman and family (including twin brother Yevgeny, also an Army lieutenant colonel on the National Security Council) emigrated from Ukraine in 1979 isn’t sufficient reason for Ukrainian officials to tap Vindman as their source for “advice” about the interests of the U.S. president.
We need more information about Vindman, his relationship to the Ukrainian government, and whatever “advice” he may have offered it, whether “typically communicated” in English or any other language. That’s because, if The New York Times is accurate, Vindman’s loyalties are divided between two governments. At a minimum, this disqualifies Vindman from serving the American people in the sensitive field of national security ever again.
Doubtless, such an attitude is shocking to the “Old Gray Lady.” A globally oriented organization like The New York Times—ironically, while reporting on Vindman, also explaining to readers the potential for controversy in playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” on TV—is institutionally incapable of perceiving anything negative about a White House staffer with divided loyalties, so long as one of them is anti-Trump.
Indeed, a second New York Times report on Vindman further rationalized the Vindman–Ukrainian communications as being a logical result of his “heritage” (see “unique insight,” also “Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign”):
“His heritage gave Colonel Vindman, who is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, unique insight into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign; on numerous occasions, Ukrainian officials sought him out for advice about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani.”
On “numerous” occasions? But the uniform, the Ranger tab, the Purple Heart, Vindman’s protectors will chant. Yes, indeed, I would reply. Wearing the uniform of the United States compounds the gravity of the security scandal unfolding as the unasked questions mount.
We are told that on these “numerous occasions,” Ukrainian officials sought Vindman’s advice. What, pray tell, was his response? Did the White House staffer and U.S. Army officer on these “numerous occasions” tell these Ukrainian officials (names, please) that, as a member of the president’s national security team and an officer of the U.S. Army, he offered advice only to the president of the United States?
If that wasn’t his reply, Lt. Col. Vindman should be fired ASAP.
I am going to be very clear in case any #FakeNewsies are listening: It isn’t the role of any White House adviser to strategize with officials of a foreign government against the president of the United States. Foreign governments have their own nationals for that.
This isn’t to say that foreign governments don’t go to great trouble to acquire sources such as National Security Council staffers to advance their interests. This comes under the rubric of espionage.
Espionage and ‘Agents of Influence’
In the context of espionage, as the New York Times reports imply, this officer may well have strategized with a foreign power against his commander-in-chief. That would make Vindman, in the most generous reading of events, a patsy or “dupe.” Depending on what else he did, he may also be some type of a foreign intelligence asset.
Categories vary widely. Many are familiar with paid agents, such as former Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Walker, who supplied the Soviets with military secrets, but there are other types of agents, including “agents of influence,” whose mission is to influence policy-making on behalf of foreign interests.
Top FDR adviser Harry Hopkins, for example, appears to have been one such agent of influence (my book “American Betrayal” sets forth the evidence for consideration). The Russians have a category they call “special, unofficial contact” into which, according to defector Sergei Tretyakov, they placed Bill Clinton’s top Russia adviser Strobe Talbott (also Raul Castro).
The terrible fact is, the history of our government, including our White House, is jam-packed with these various, rampaging national security threats, even if our history books fail to make note of them.
In consideration of the obstacles currently being thrown up against any questioning of Vindman, it becomes relevant to note that such bad actors in our past include decorated Army officers, brothers, and immigrants.
Take Gen. Philip Faymonville, known in military circles as “the Red colonel” for his communist sympathies at the time of World War II. That’s when Harry Hopkins, over the objections of Army intelligence among others, placed Faymonville into a key position at the sluice-gate of Soviet military aid under the program of Lend Lease.
About Faymonville and Gen. James Burns, the other Army officer Hopkins elevated to oversee Lend Lease in Moscow, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Adm. William H. Standley would write, “General Burns is of the same beliefs as Faymonville; Russian interests come first, last and all the time.”
Standley was more right than perhaps he knew. Fifty years later, documentary evidence from Soviet archives indicate that in 1942, the same year the pro-Soviet Faymonville was promoted to become a U.S. Army general, he became a recruited agent of Soviet intelligence.
It’s surely an odd detail of the Vindman case that Alexander’s twin, Yevgeny, also works on the National Security Council. History tells us of brothers-in-espionage, too. There was the infamous duo of Alger and Donald Hiss, both State Department officials in the 1940s while working on behalf of the Kremlin. As for immigrant-spies, among the many Kremlin agents secretly embedded inside the Roosevelt White House were Canadian-born Lauchlin Currie, who had immense powers as a special assistant to the president, and Currie’s British-born assistant Michael Greenberg.
In other words, it—the infiltration of the U.S. government by secret agents—can and did happen here, through the covert exertions of many Americans who, on the surface, appeared to be patriots. The incalculable damage they caused to this country and the wider world cannot be relegated to historical footnotes. This is what makes the reflexive taboo against even questioning Alexander Vindman so dangerous.
When it comes to the loyalty of government officials entrusted with our national security, in uniform or not, the stakes can’t be higher. The American people are not only entitled to ask questions, they are bound to do so. Our nation’s survival depends on it.
Diana West is an award-winning journalist and author, whose latest book is “The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.