The American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War - Stanley I. Kutler The Korean War, Russia's successful A-bomb test, and the "Fall of China" precipitated an atmosphere of paranoia and fear during the 1950's, aggravated by self-aggrandizing politicians and a sycophantic media. Anxiety over espionage and subversion from within provided justification to suppress anything "un-American," and created a craving for patriotic conformity.

The legal process was manipulated to legitimize legislators' own ends. The so-called McCarran Rider (1947) granted authority to the Secretary of State to summarily dismiss any employee, in the interests of national security, without regard to existing laws or regulations (or the Constitution, for that matter). Truman's Executive Order 9835 (1947) prescribed procedures for a comprehensive loyalty oath program. This was expanded by Eisenhower's Executive Order 10450 (1953) which provided for suspension from work if the employee was simply deemed unreliable; the burden of proof rested on the accused. Wholesale dismissals followed, but no communists or sympathizers were ever identified. A climate of fear existed among government workers, independence was stifled and replaced by a "bland orthodoxy."

Stanley Kutler has documented these fearful times in The American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War He examines 12 cases of individuals who, quite frankly, got screwed for their personal beliefs, or in the case of Beatrice Baude, even by accident.

Baude had been rated a superior and loyal employee of the United States Information Agency. An ephemeral association with an organization of intellectuals later considered to be left-wing during the 40s (when Russia was our ally, no less) resulted in her being blacklisted even though a Loyalty Board investigation had ruled there was no evidence of disloyalty, quite the contrary. But the mere hint of an investigation in those days was enough justification for termination. She was not told of the blacklist and was even encouraged to apply for other jobs with the USIA.

Despite scores of 100% on Civil Service Exams, she was still unable to get a job as late as 1974 because of the blacklist. She only discovered the existence of the blacklist when her lawyer filed a request for information under the Privacy Act of 1974. They discovered that the real reason for her dismissal - that she had been interrogated (even though cleared) - had been camouflaged in her files.
Her case was fraught with "Catch-22s" and continued even in 1981 as the book was being written. Her case illustrates one of Kutler's themes: that the nameless bureaucracy will often continue the policies of a discredited leader even though the political context has changed. Often the indians have more power than the chiefs.