New research from writers and researchers Trevor Loudon and Cliff Kincaid shows that Leon Panetta, the CIA director being considered on Thursday for the position of Secretary of Defense, had a previously undisclosed personal and friendly relationship with Hugh DeLacy, a prominent member of the Communist Party USA. DeLacy visited such countries as China and Nicaragua and was himself a personal contact of identified Soviet spies Solomon Adler and Frank Coe and accused spy John Stewart Service. Panetta spoke at DeLacy’s memorial service, directed a series of letters to him personally as “Dear Hugh,” and placed a tribute to him in the Congressional Record.

Former Washington State Rep. DeLacy, named by Communist Party lawyer John Abt as a fellow member of the party, remained a communist operative until his death in 1986.

One “Dear Hugh” letter from then-Rep. Panetta to DeLacy offered a summary of a report on U.S. military operations that Panetta said was “unavailable for distribution.” Panetta concludes the March 24, 1977, letter, “If there is anything I can do for you in the future, Hugh, please feel free to call on me.”

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