President Ronald Reagan was so impressed by the shocking revelations of top Soviet bloc defector Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa – author of a widely read new book titled “Disinformation” – that he altered his foreign policy toward a key communist nation, having been clued in to the clever disinformation campaign that had fooled his predecessor, Jimmy Carter.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., currently in his 17th term in Congress, worked with Reagan during the Cold War. In an exclusive interview with WND-TV, Wolf recalled one particular meeting he, Sen. Jesse Helms and a few others had with the president, during which they discussed conditions in communist Romania.
Rep. Wolf handing President Reagan a copy of "Red Horizons" in the Oval Office
As seen in the photo above, Wolf gave Reagan a copy of Pacepa’s first book, titled “Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescu’s Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption.” Before defecting to the U.S. in 1978, Pacepa had been the powerful head of Romanian foreign intelligence and right-hand man of the famous dictator. His surprise defection caused Ceausescu to have a nervous breakdown and to order assassination squads to follow Pacepa to America and kill him. Fortunately, various attempts on his life over the years, spurred on by the dictator’s multimillion rewards for Pacepa’s death, all failed. Today, at 84, Pacepa is a proud American citizen and lives in the U.S., under a CIA-protective identity.
In the late 1970s, before Pacepa blew the whistle, President Carter embraced Ceausescu as a more moderate, enlightened, pro-Western type of communist, the kind “we could do business with,” in contrast with Moscow’s “hardliners.” Carter was convinced helping this “independent” Romania was a key to breaking up the U.S.S.R. After Reagan was elected, even his own foreign policy advisers had been divided, some believing Romania was a moderate county the U.S. could “work with” against Moscow.
However, as Pacepa devastatingly reveals in “Red Horizons,” the “moderate” Ceausescu was all a big lie, a calculated ruse, a “disinformation” campaign expressly created to fool the credulous Americans.
In reality, as Wolf told WND, life in Romania “was darker than Moscow,” the dictator Ceausescu uniquely brutal and maniacal. Reagan found Pacepa’s revelations so compelling and persuasive that he changed policy towards Romania just one day after receiving his copy of “Red Horizons,” a book he reportedly came to refer to as “my bible for dealing with dictators.” Wolf was ultimately instrumental in freeing Pacepa’s daughter Dana from Romania, traveling to Bucharest and pulling off the rescue at considerable personal risk.
Reading to WND-TV from Reagan’s diary, Wolf quoted the president reflecting on Romania’s supposed “moderation”: “Apparently that is a sham,” wrote Reagan, “and their violation of human rights are worse than in the Soviet Union.”
“So,” Wolf told WND, “Reagan gets Pacepa’s book on the 12th – and I talked to people who were on an airplane with Reagan, and he said ‘Reagan was talking about Pacepa’s book’ – [and] the next day, Reagan takes away MFN!”
At the time, Most Favored Nation, or MFN, trading status was a big deal, lowering tariffs and conferring better trade conditions on recipients, and thus used by the free world as leverage against communist nations.
In the video clip below, Wolf reads an excerpt from Reagan’s diary, describing in his own words how the former president changed Romania policy by revoking its MFN status on humanitarian grounds and why he placed so much emphasis on morality in his foreign policy.