Thomas Corcoran

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Thomas Gardiner Corcoran was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1900. He was a student of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter who received an appointment to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation by President Herbert Hoover.

Later, during the New Deal, Corcoran's influence grew and he was able to help many students of Frankfurter receive appointments in the Administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Most were lawyers but many were also economists, and appointees were nicknamed "the happy hotdogs." [1] Some actually became Communists.

During FDR's presidency Corcoran worked in the White House as an intimate adviser and presidential speechwriter. At one point, Corcoran lived in the White House. Eventually Corcoran was outmaneuvered by Harry Hopkins for the position of Roosevelt's right-hand man. Corcoran, whose nickname was "Tommy the Cork", became a prominent Washington lawyer and fixer after leaving the White House.

On June 6, 1945, 6 persons, including three U.S. government officials, Andrew Roth, Emmanuel Larsen, John S. Service, were arrested on conspiracy and espionage charges related to possession of roughly 1000 stolen classified Government documents in the offices of Amerasia magazine. Amerasia had published classified materials verbatim from the United States wartime intelligence service, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover believed he had an "airtight case," and Justice Department officials were ready to prosecute. Corcoran worked with the Truman administration to cover up the case.

Corcoran employed the Soviet Union agent Duncan Lee in his Washington law firm, Corcoran and Youngman,[2] after World War II. During the war Lee served as counsel to OSS head General William Donovan, and was the highest ranking KGB operative among nearly two dozen known Soviet agents who penetrated the OSS.[3]

See also


  1. The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn, Fox and Wilkes, 1948, Book 2, Chapter 4, Harry the Hop and the Happy Hot Dogs
  2. FBI Silvermaster file Vol. 92, pgs. 20 - 21 pdf, January 26, 1947. Biographical details and extended wrap-up on Duncan C. Lee, formerly of OSS, Elizabeth Bentley's allegations concerning him, his contacts with Donald Wheeler and Mary Price, and his employment by the law firm of President Franklin Roosevelt adviser Thomas Corcoran.
  3. Exchange with Arthur Herman and Venona book talk, Joint Herman and Haynes Book Talk, Borders, Washington, D.C., February 2000,