Bringing The Stupid 24/7
Owen Lattimore & The Absence Of Evidence.
Often cited, little understood, Venona was an American effort to decode 1940s Soviet espionage cables which was only declassified in the 1990s. Oodles of agent and contact names poured forth, and the McCarthy-Was-Right industry got new tires.
Eruptions of whining now surface periodically, in which McCarthy enthusiasts offer mock pleas over how come these liberal communists won’t confess their sins.
Owen Lattimore is dragged into this fanciful historicizing, usually via the formula that Venona proves there were Soviet agents, which resembles McCarthy’s claims, then a quick dash back to the McCarran Committee’s crackpot theories for the “conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy” money quote.
But just as Lattimore became McCarthy’s top Soviet agent in the State Department without actually working there, in this world he’s proven guilty by the Venona papers, dispite never appearing in them.
As our greatest public intellectual Donald Rumsfeld avers, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”