Herbert E. Meyer, RIP

The man who fought the Cold War's version of the Deep State and dragged it, kicking and screaming, into support for the radical change in strategy that eventually won the Cold War has passed on to his heavenly reward.  

With deep sadness, I must share with our readers the news that Herbert E. Meyer passed away Sunday morning around 10 A.M.  Herb suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding his bicycle, a daily exercise routine when he was home on the Puget Sound island where he and his wife Jill lived, and was hospitalized for months afterward in a coma.  His family emails that Jill was with him as he passed, and it was peaceful and quick.

The full story of Herb's enormous contribution to world history has never been told, but he is one of the unsung heroes who deserves credit for ending the Cold War.  As assistant to President Reagan's director of Central Intelligence, William Casey, and vice chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, Herb was responsible for production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the president and his national security advisers.  In that role, he was the first senior U.S. official to forecast the fall of the USSR.

Let that sink in a moment.

Until President Reagan, the strategy of the United States was to promote "co-existence" — to accept without question the permanence of the USSR's communist regime and to get along with it, even to at times warm up relations.  The idea that the regime could be defeated and communism rejected by the peoples of the USSR and its Eastern European and Asian satellites was not on anyone's radar.

Herb showed that it could be done.  With President Reagan, we had a leader willing to articulate the strategy, "We win, they lose," a statement that outraged his many critics.  Herbert E. Meyer provided the intelligence data that backed up that strategy with factual analysis.

Because of the classified nature of his work, Herb was not able to go into many details, but over the many dinners we shared over the years as we became fast friends, he told amazing stories of how difficult it was to redirect the attention of the vast data-gathering apparatus of the CIA away from information that supported co-existence, toward data that supported the possibility of the defeat of the communist system itself.  He also shared stories about how that was accomplished.  The term "Deep State" did not exist at the time, but from many stories Herb told, it was clear that the CIA bureaucracy did not want to look for or to see the vulnerabilities that were readily apparent to those like Herb and his boss (and close friend) William Casey.  President Reagan needed them in order to realize the vision that his common sense told him was possible.

For his work at the CIA that made possible President Reagan's strategy of "We win, they lose," Herb received the Intelligence Community's highest honor: the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

Herb always said he was unable to write the true story of his work because of national security considerations.  I can only hope that someday, scholars with access to the full archives will write the story of how America turned away from accepting the permanence of an evil regime of communism and developed the intelligence that brought down the USSR without the firing of a shot.  When that happens, Herb may finally be recognized for his enormous contribution.

Because of his ability to see through the gauze of shared assumptions that obscure the truth in complex human matters, he was a superb writer, the kind who makes it look easy.  I urge readers to take a look at his archive of articles for American Thinker and to consider purchasing some of his books from Storm King Press.