I got a text from Ira, an old friend from the CBS news program 60 Minutes. He had written a book, and I was in it. That is all he said. The book would not be released until February 16, 2021, so my wife purchased a copy on Kindle in advance. When we read it, it was quite a surprise. Ira falsely took credit for all the work that I had done as a federal prosecutor to expose Nazi war criminals living in America.
This is Ira’s version:
“In 1982, I was working on my first major investigative story for 60 Minutes. It was an exposé of how the US government illegally permitted the entry into America of thousands of Nazi war criminals who committed atrocities during World War II, in exchange for their intelligence help in fighting the Soviets. It was an extraordinary smuggling operation conducted by the CIA in defiance of presidential orders.”
Ira did not do that investigation in 1982. He copied it from me. The year before, in 1981, I had written a book called The Belarus Secret (still in print under the title America’s Nazi Secret). My wife joked that it was a race between my finishing the manuscript and the birth of my daughter, and they both weighed about the same.
Because of my security clearances, I had to submit my manuscript to the CIA for pre-publication approval. That was in December 1981. Weeks later, when the censors had finished chopping highly classified pieces out of the manuscript, I called Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes. I explained that I was a former federal prosecutor and that I had a sensitive story for him that had just been declassified by the CIA. Wallace sent Ira down to see me the next day.
Ira remembers it differently:
“I had carefully cultivated a source who gave me top-secret documents that laid out the details of the operation. I convinced a former member of the Justice Department’s unit that prosecuted Nazis to become a whistleblower and go on camera about the smuggling operations. And I located some of the Nazis, one living a few miles from the 60 Minutes offices in the Bronx, and another working at Radio Free Europe.”
My wife was laughing. She saw the look in my eyes. I was not amused. Everything in that paragraph was false. Ira had taken credit for everything my wife and I had done—and was bragging about it: “Proud of myself for making all the right moves, I was lost in daydreaming about the compliments and awards I would receive as I boarded the shuttle flight at LaGuardia Airport to meet correspondent Mike Wallace for an interview with the whistleblower, John Loftus. … When our story aired a few weeks later, it made front-page news in nearly every newspaper in the country and would lead to my first Emmy.”
My wife asked me what I was going to do. I showed her the following note to Ira. She read it and said, “Send it.”
Thank you for the email alerting me that I was mentioned in your forthcoming book. I bought your book in advance on Kindle and downloaded it yesterday. I stayed up all night until I finished it. I am so sad that this is how you remember your role in the “Nazi Connection” segment. Your portrayal of me in the introduction to your book is false in every respect.
For example, you never recruited me to become a whistleblower in 1982 or at any other time. I came to you. In early 1981, my literary agent approached Ashbell Green, a former CIA/OPC [Office of Policy Coordination] agent who was a senior editor at Alfred Knopf Publishing. My agent gave Ashbell a one-page book proposal from me, in which I proposed writing a book on the history of OPC’s classified employment of Nazi war criminals, which manuscript would have to be submitted to the US government for pre-publication review.
Ash gave me a book contract and a $20,000 advance. I worked on the book throughout the summer and fall of 1981 and completed the manuscript on or about December 7, 1981. I then submitted it to the CIA Pre-Publication Review Board. When CIA censorship was completed, I called Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes to say that I had a story for him. He assigned you to visit me the very next day. I provided you with a copy of my censored manuscript. You and I did not have our first meeting until early 1982.
Prior to our first meeting, I had legally provided the Immigration and Naturalization Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives a collection of confidential, secret and top-secret files which Congress had been unsuccessfully trying to obtain for several years.
When you asked me for corroboration of the allegations in my manuscript, I introduced you to my friend Congressman Barney Frank, with whom I had worked in Boston. Congressman Frank, his assistant, and I were present in his office when he showed you a pile of classified files I had given his committee, which confirmed the authenticity of my manuscript.
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