Six Through Ten

6. Benedict Arnold. This, from his actual letter to the British, is truly low, and readily explains his inclusion in my twenty worst list:

“On the 13th Instant I addressed a letter / to you expressing my Sentiments and expectations, viz, that / the following Preliminaries be settled previous to cooperating. – / First, that S[ir]. Henry secure to me my property, valued at ten thou- / sand pounds Sterling, to be paid to me or my Heirs in case of / Loss; and, as soon as that happens [strike out] shall happen, —- hundred / pounds per annum to be secured to me for life, in lieu of the / pay and emoluments I give up, for my Services as they shall / deserve – If I point out a plan of cooperation by which S[ir}. H[enry]. / shall possess himself of West Point, the Garrison, etc. etc. etc. twenty / thousand pounds Sterling I think will be a cheap purchase for / an object of so much importance.”

7. John Edgar Hoover. Hey, I’ve got no problem with the women’s clothes or the gayness… But his creating a dossier of left-wingers, about ½ a million of them, ranks J. Edgar Hoover pretty low in the annals of American history. Heck, even Harry Truman wrote this about him:

We want to Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals. They also have a habit of sneering at local law enforcement officers. This must stop. Cooperation is what we must have.

8. John C. Calhoun-Theorist of the States’ Rights point of view, which in turn was a causal factor in the road to the Civil War. Advocate of Slavery, and should the institution be threatened, War. From his 1949 Address:

To convince them that you are, you must prove by your acts that you hold all other questions subordinate to it. If you become united, and prove yourselves in earnest, the North will be brought to a pause, and to a calculation of consequences; and that may lead to a change of measures, and the adoption of a course of policy that may quietly and peaceably terminate this long conflict between the two sections. If it should not, nothing would remain for you but to stand up immovably in defence of rights, involving your all–your property, prosperity, equality, liberty, and safety.

9. Aldrich Ames: Besides revealing the names of every U.S. spy in the Soviet Union, Ames derailed CIA covert operations and put dozens of CIA officers at risk. In return for his treason, the KGB paid him more than $2 million and kept another $2 million earmarked for him in a Moscow bank, making him the highest paid spy in the world. There is no doubt that his greed and perfidy lead to the deaths of many Americans.

10. Julius Rosenberg (not Ethel–most research indicates that while she was a Communist Party member, she had no idea that her husband, Julius, was giving what nuclear secrets he had to the Soviet Union).