Panetta Report 4: Leon Panetta’s Communist Friend and the Chinese Spy
Panetta Report 3 here.
From at least the mid-1970s until 1986, President Barack Obama‘s nomination for Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, had a close personal friendship with Hugh DeLacy, a Santa Cruz, California activist and a life long Marxist-Leninist.
Then Congressman Panetta and DeLacy exchanged letters over many years – almost all of which dealt with defense and foreign policy issues. Many involved requests by DeLacy for information, policy papers, etc., which Panetta went out of his way to supply.
What Panetta hopefully did not know was that in the year before this correspondence began, Hugh DeLacy had been in the People’s Republic of China meeting with three men, all at one time accused of having spied for the Soviet Union. One of them, Solomon Adler, was at that time, reliably reported to be a senior advisor to the Chinese intelligence services.
In February 1972, Hugh DeLacy received a letter from California academic John (Jack) S. Service. Clearly a reply to an earlier communication, the letter remarked that the men had possibly previously met in 1945 and should reconnect in the near future.
In 1945, DeLacy had been a secret Communist Party USA member, serving as a Democratic Congressman in Washington. DeLacy had been infamous at the time for his speeches on the floor of the House, denouncing US support for the Chinese Nationalists and trying his best to tilt US policy in favor of Mao Zedong’s communist forces.
Jack Service, at the time, was publicly linked to the “Amerasia” Soviet spy ring, which was also trying to move US foreign policy in favor of the Chinese communists.
By April 1974, DeLacy was writing to the Chinese ambassador, as a “life long friend of China,” trying to arrange a free trip for himself and a delegation of fellow Marxists to the “People’s Republic.”
The Chinese did not wish to fork out for the entire delegation, but did graciously invite Hugh DeLacy and his wife and comrade Dorothy on an all expenses paid trip to China.
In a letter dated December 16, 1974, Hugh DeLacy thanked Hu Hung-fan of the Communist Party controlled Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, for inviting himself and his wife to visit the country.
The DeLacy’s visited China for a month in April/May 1975. As guests of the Communist government, the couple visited factories, farms, political organizations and civic groups.
They also met with several Americans then in China – Jack Service and his old friends Solomon Adler and his wife Pat, and Frank Coe and his wife Ruth. This letter from Hugh DeLacy to Solomon and Pat Adler confirms the meeting.
The ” Wheeler” referred to above is Don Wheeler, a life long Communist Party member from Washington State.
Wheeler was employed during the late 1930s in the United States Department of Agriculture and the Treasury. From 1941 to 1946, he was one of many Communist Party members employed by the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the C.I.A. While in government service, Wheeler was an active member of the Perlo spy group, run by another Party member, economist Victor Perlo.
Hugh DeLacy was also in correspondence with Victor Perlo in the mid-1970s.
The Perlo group was closely related to another Soviet spy ring operating at this time in Washington DC – the Silvermaster group, headed by another Agriculture Department and Treasury official, Nathan Gregory Silvermaster. Two key members of Silvermaster’s ring were fellow Treasury Department official Solomon Adler and assistant to the Executive Director, Board of Economic Warfare, Frank Coe.
Why was Hugh DeLacy hobnobbing in China with two identified spies – Coe and Adler, and one suspected spy, Jack Service? Was this an old commie’s social gathering? Unfortunately, it may have been more than that. Frank Coe and Sol Adler were both high level servants of the Maoist regime.
Frank Coe had moved permanently to China to work for the Maoist regime during the Great Leap Forward, culminating in what Chinese history recalls as the Three Years of Disasters. By 1959, Coe was writing articles justifying the infamous Rectification campaign. He reportedly remained a government propagandist for many years.
After also moving to China, Sol Adler reportedly worked in various capacities in Chinese Communist Party Intelligence. According to the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, article: “Was Solomon Adler A Communist?” page 275, before his death in 1994, Adler was an “Advisor” to the “External Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the CCP, the department that handles such well-known figures as Larry Wu-tai Ching of the CIA, who was arrested by the FBI in 1983 for espionage – committing suicide in jail in 1986.”
Today, Leon Panetta is on the verge of assuming the most important defense post in the free world.
For more than 10 years, Mr. Panetta maintained a close friendship and regular correspondence with Hugh DeLacy, a long time Communist Party member and unrepentant Marxist-Leninist to his dying day. Panetta regularly supplied DeLacy with government reports and opinions on defense and foreign policy matters. A year before Panetta was elected to Congress and the correspondence began, his friend was in China as a guest of the communists meeting with several former and at least one reported active spy.
Mr. Panetta has apparently volunteered none of this information during any of his Senate confirmation hearings. Not one Senator has asked any questions about any of Panetta’s extensive history with communists and far left activists.
Does the American public deserve to know these disturbing facts about Leon Panetta’s background? What are the implications for US and Western security if Leon Panetta has been in any way compromised by his past associates?
Is that a risk that the US public should be forced to bear, without any obligation on Panetta to explain his past associations? What is the US Senate doing to safeguard US national security in regard to the Panetta matter? Will this situation become known in the history books as “Panettagate,” or will it be nipped in the bud now?
What do you think?
Panetta Report 5 here.