Jesse Helms: A Tribute
Many times a view of an event or a person, from the side, as it were, reveals an aspect overlooked, unnoticed, or just passed by the quick frontal glance- and often that is the real man, or part of the real man. "From the side" is an apt corner that the shoot down of KAL 007 event views Jesse Helms.
When the reports of the Soviet radar viewings on the Siberian maritime opposite Sakhalin Island indicating a safe water landing for KAL 007, when the subsequent reports of a rescue and imprisonment of passengers and crew, arrived at the office of Helms, they were not discarded as so many other "wild" reports of other committees are, but Helms sent top aides to interview the sources in Israel, and then he sent some again. These were David Sullivan, V. Fedei, and Jim Lucier. And then Helms requested the CIA and the NSA to verify, and the information coming from Israel was partially, but crucially, verified - and added onto by the intelligence agencies. A draft report was issued by Helms and his cadre of assistants of the Minority staff of the Committee.
It didn't end there, Helms pursued it, writing a letter on Dec. 10, 1991, to Boris Yeltsin, requesting, urging," hinting" at the possible benefits of a forthright Russian Federation compliance, asking for real time military communications and radar tracking, for an accounting of the people and crew of KAL 007, how many were alive, where they were kept, location of camps, the fate of passenger and sitting congressman Larry McDonald, representative from Georgia.
This was personal. Helms had traveled on KAL 015 fifteen minutes behind KAL 007, had stopped at Anchorage airport, as did Larry, had gotten off KAL 015. Larry did not. Reports tell us that Helms had contemplated changing to KAL 007 to be with Larry but decided against it. That near miss must have stayed with him as the outcome of the flight became apparent. As KAL 015 arrived at Seoul Airport and KAL 007 did not. As he attended the 30th Year celebration of the U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty - and Larry did not. As the reports from Israel of survivors would come to his office 8 years later. As he would write to Yeltsin and Yeltsin would comply with all the requests that Helms had made of him - excepting the fate of the passengers and crew, and especially, the sought after information about Larry McDonald.
But one thing Helms could not forget and would speak of often, was a meeting at Anchorage airport while both KAL 007 and KAL 015 were taking on fuel for the next leg of the trip, a meeting that he had with two child passengers Noel Ann Grenfell, aged 5, and her sister Stacy, aged 3 . He would write about it to Boris Yeltsin, and he would write about it to the International Committee for the Rescue of KAL 007 Survivors, and it would be read at its Washington press conference.
"I’ll never forget that night when that plane was just beside ours at Anchorage airport with two little girls and their parents.
I taught them, among other things, to say I love you in deaf language, and the last thing they did when they turned the corner was stick up their little hands and tell me they loved me.
I’ll never forget that, and I know you won’t. Thank you for keeping it alive."
These things need to be told about a person, as well.
Jesse Helms and the Media
Jesse Helms had a special gift with respect to the liberal media: he had absolutely no concern about the media said about him. He viewed the media as one might view the sayings of little children, unconcerned about their chatter, gossip and silly stories.
It was not simply that Jesse Helms developed a thick skin about criticism. Rather, he developed a perspective unrivaled by anyone else in public life: what critics said about him in newspapers and television were of absolutely no significance to him. If anything, such criticisms were a source of amusement for him.
- Here  is the complete text of the 1991 Republican Staff Study.(draft) of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
- Here  is the background and history of the 1991 Republican Staff Study of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
- Here  is the letter from Rear Admiral Bud Nance, Minority Staff Director under Senator Helms, to the director of the Israeli Research Centre affirming that the information coming from Israel to Committee on Foreign Relations had been partially confirmed by the CIA and was the basis for Sen. Helms writing to Yeltsin.
- Here  is the letter of Senator Helms to Boris Yeltsin with attached interrogatories.
- A Forgotten Man: Congressman Larry McDonald the Sen. Helms/Cong. McDonald link