Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former head of intelligence for Communist Romania, knows first-hand how Yasser Arafat was created by the Soviet Union with the special attention of the KGB and its sister services. Pacepa played a key role in selling the KGB’s Arafat to Washington. He tells the story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s the heart of the story.
“‘I invented the hijackings [of passenger planes],’ Arafat bragged when I first met him at his PLO headquarters in Beirut in the early 1970s. He gestured toward the little red flags pinned on a wall map of the world that labeled Israel as ‘Palestine.’ ‘There they all are!’ he told me, proudly. The dubious honor of inventing hijacking actually goes to the KGB, which first hijacked a U.S. passenger plane in 1960 to Communist Cuba. Arafat’s innovation was the suicide bomber, a terror concept that would come to full flower on 9/11.
“In 1972, the Kremlin put Arafat and his terror networks high on all Soviet bloc intelligence services’ priority list, including mine. Bucharest’s role was to ingratiate him with the White House. We were the bloc experts at this. We’d already had great success in making Washington — as well as most of the fashionable left-leaning American academics of the day — believe that Nicolae Ceausescu was, like Josip Broz Tito, an ‘independent’ Communist with a ‘moderate streak.
“KGB chairman Yuri Andropov in February 1972 laughed to me about the Yankee gullibility for celebrities. We’d outgrown Stalinist cults of personality, but those crazy Americans were still na
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