The Papal Assassin’s Ties

Thomas Joscelyn has a fascinating article in the April 7 Daily Standard, “Crime of the Century: How the Elite Media and the CIA Failed to Investigate the 1981 Papal Assassination Attempt“:

A stunning revelation buzzed throughout Italy last week. According to two Italian newspapers, German government officials had found proof that the Soviet Union ordered the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. The recently discovered documents — which are mainly correspondences between East German Stasi spies and their Bulgarian counterparts — reportedly discuss the Soviet assassination order as well as efforts to cover-up any traces of involvement by Bulgaria’s spooks.If the documents are as advertised, then they put an end to one of the great whodunits of the 20th century. The U.S. media has all but ignored this incredible story; which isn’t, actually, much of a surprise.

Indeed, the elite media in this country never wanted to investigate the threads of evidence pointing to Bulgarian, and thus Soviet, involvement. What is surprising, however, is that in one of the greatest U.S. intelligence failures of all-time, neither did the CIA….

The article goes on to ferociously indict the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and others for, in effect, covering up the would-be papal assassin’s true ties.This article is especially interesting to me when it goes on to laud two other publications, Reader’s Digest and Commentary, for their coverage in 1982-83 (articles by Claire Sterling and Michael Ledeen, respectively). At the time, The National Center for Public Policy Research was in its infancy, but we spent what was to us a small fortune mailing reprints (the official, paid-for reprints, not copyright-violating photocopies) of both articles to the mainstream press, editorial writers, Congressmen and conservative campus activists (who received copies in bulk for distribution on campuses). Our effort was intended not only to be educational about the events themselves, but to make it less politically incorrect for investigators to take a possible Soviet connection seriously.

We essentially got nowhere. (Such was the state of affairs for conservatives trying to influence the press before the explosion of talk radio and popularization of the Internet.) Given the tremendous significance of the issue, we found it extremely frustrating at the time.

It is good to see that, after almost a quarter century, the truth finally is getting out.

Read the whole thing here.

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