Ernest Cuneo

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Person.png Ernest Cuneo   Amazon Powerbase SpartacusRdf-icon.png
(Spook, author, lawyer, sportsman)
Ernest Cuneo.jpg
BornMay 27, 1905
Carlstadt, New Jersey
DiedMarch 1, 1988 (Age 82)
Washington DC
NationalityBritish

During World War Two, Ernest Cuneo acted, under the codename 'Crusader', as the liason between British Security Co-ordination (BSC), the White House, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and the Justice State and Treasury Departments.[1]

Activities

Author Stephen Dorril reports that Cuneo considered the BSC campaign in the United States "a pushover, which reminded him of the Chaucer line: "He fell upon her and would have raped her - but for her ready acquiesecence."[2]

Cuneo later blamed the BSC for helping to create an OSS tradition that influenced the CIA's later illegal activities, arguing that the British "should acknowledge some responsibility for starting us down the primrose path."[3]

Cuneo's personal papers include a claim that on 18 February 1948, former BSC head Sir William Stephenson had informed him that that the Soviet Union would explode an atomic bomb around 27 September 1949, about a month after the eventual date. According to Cuneo, this information came from a mole and was passed on to the Americans. Stephen Dorril notes that there is no other evidence that the western powers had advanced warning of the Soviet bomb.[4]

In the late 1940s, Sandy Griffith's assistant Francis Henson sent a weekly intelligence report from Washington to Cuneo in New York.[5]

Cuneo was a friend of Jay Lovestone, who he once called "one of the half dozen most powerful men in the hidden power structure of America."[6]

In November 1953, Eisenhower's attorney general, Herbert Brownell, accused Former President Truman of knowingly appointing a communist agent, Harry Dexter White, to the International Monetary Fund. In an FBI -tapped conversation, Cuneo told Lovestone, "This could be the beginning of fascism":

Cuneo suggested that the AFL and the CIO declare a one-hour protest strike. But Lovestone felt that any such strike would have a very bad effect. Cuneo said: "The FBI will suffer heavily on this as it will knock them off their pedestal." Lovestone then said: "This is a gang of vulgar and ignorant desparadoes headed by Ike himself, who is damned fool politically, you know."[7]

In 1969, when the US Supreme Court ruled that phone-taps must be revealed in open court, even in cases of national security, Cuneo denounced the ruling in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover:

Friendly and neutral powers," wrote Cuneo, "are quaint and laughable terms unrecognised in the world of international intelligence. Every major nation taps every other major nation, none more than its Allies."[8]

Cuneo added that part of the value of such taps, was that by tracing who was speaking to whom and "going up the ladder" one could link agents to their superiors.[9]

27 May 1905|1 March 1988|


References

  1. Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception, Brassey's, 1998, p.193.
  2. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Touchstone, p.50.
  3. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Touchstone, p.55.
  4. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Touchstone, p.154-155.
  5. Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception, Brassey's, 1998, p.154.
  6. Ted Morgan, A Covert Life: Jay Lovestone, Communist, Anti-Communist and Spymaster, Random House, 1999, pp. ix-x.
  7. Ted Morgan, A Covert Life: Jay Lovestone, Communist, Anti-Communist and Spymaster, Random House, 1999, p. 234.
  8. Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception, Brassey's, 1998, p.193.
  9. Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception, Brassey's, 1998, p.47.