Harry Gold's career as a Soviet spy offers a vital but little understood insight into the Army-McCarthy hearings and the fake narratives that surround it.
The approved narrative from the patron saint of experty intellectuals:
Decades later, the song remains the same. From Sam Tannenhaus:
Real Communists were usually too insignificant to warrant lengthy pursuit; McCarthy did not trouble himself much over an obscure radical dentist promoted by the army when he could use the case to strike at the army itself, and beyond the army at the Eisenhower administration.
We are supposed to understand that a pink dentist like Irving Peress could never be a spy because he had no access to secrets. Therefore, his promotion was no reflection on Army security procedures.
The best McCarthy could do was dredge up a 'pink' dentist at a military base in New Jersey.
That “understanding” relies on a profound ignorance of how the Soviets operated. Gold's career shows that a successful spy ring requires a whole network of operatives who themselves have no connection to vital secrets.
Further, Peress's profession made him especially attractive to the Soviets.
Soviet espionage networks in the United States would not have been able to function without the assistance of a number of dedicated support personnel whose role was as essential as that of the sources who actually took documents from the government offices in which they worked or communicated secrets to which they were privy.John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies
According to NKVD defector Alexander Orlov “the Soviets favored particularly the use of the surgeries of 'trusted dentists and physicians', which were the preferred sites for really important meetings.” They offered privacy and a convenient place to photograph documents. They were the perfect covert hub for communications and support. M. Stanton Evans notes that both the Bentley and Chambers spy rings included dentists as central figures. A dentist was also key player among the agents who surrounded Robert Oppenheimer in California.
Weinstein, Abraham: New York dentist who provided dental services for many CPUSA officials involved in its clandestine work as well as for many government employees who spied for the Soviets. The FBI concluded that Winstein acted as a communications intermediary; that many of the dental visits were a cover for passing of information to Weinstein, who then passed the information on to another party. Elizabeth Bentley identified a contact of Jacob Golos's who was a dentist and whom she knew only as Charlie. From her description, the FBI concluded that Weinstein was Charlie.
Philip Rosenblitt, a Communist dentist in New York, was part of the courier system for delivering Soviet money to Soviet intelligence networks in the United States.
Haynes and Kleher, Venona
Peress the man was never the real issue. His promotion, however, was an important matter for investigation. It suggested that the US Army was still lacksadaisical or worse when it came to security and counter-intelligence. This point was lost in the theatrics and agit-prop surrounding the Army-McCarthy hearings.
It remains absent in most of the histories of McCarthyism. In order to demonize McCarthy the Narrative must obscure that one key point: The Senator was broadly correct about the failures of the Administrative State to combat Soviet spying and infiltration.
As Nicholas von Hoffman put it back in the 1990s:
Point by point, Joe McCarthy got it all wrong and yet was still closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him.