Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, Stati Uniti
Indian Hill Cemetery, 383 Washington St, Middletown, CT 06457, Stati Uniti
Joseph Wright Alsop V (October 10, 1910 – August 28, 1989) was an American journalist and syndicated newspaper columnist from the 1930s through the 1970s. He was an influential journalist and top insider in Washington from 1945 to the late 1960s, often in conjunction with his brother Stewart Alsop.
In 1961, he married Susan Mary Jay Patten, daughter of diplomat Peter Augustus Jay, a descendant of John Jay, and the widow of William Patten, an American diplomat who was one of Alsop's friends. By this marriage he had two stepchildren, William and Anne. The couple divorced in 1978.
A noted art connoisseur and collector, Alsop delivered six lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington on The History of Art Collecting in the summer of 1978.
Alsop kept his homosexuality a closely guarded secret all of his life. Richard Helms called him "a scrupulously closeted homosexual."
Nevertheless, Senator Joseph McCarthy insinuated that Alsop was homosexual in the course of a dispute with The Saturday Evening Post about its coverage of his campaign to remove "perverts" from government employment. When McCarthy implied that Alsop was not "healthy and normal," a Post editor vouched for him: "I know Alsop well, and I know he is a man of high character, with great courage and integrity."
Early in 1957, the KGB photographed him in a hotel room in Moscow while he was having sex with another man, an agent of the Soviet Union. He rebuffed Soviet attempts at blackmail, instead writing "a detailed account of the incident and a relevant narrative history of his sex life." It has been described as "brimming with revelations about Alsop's sex life on several continents," including a report that one of his lovers was Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr., who had resigned as Dwight Eisenhower's appointments secretary in 1953. His accounts, delivered to a friend in the CIA, quickly reached the FBI, allowing J. Edgar Hoover to spread the information through the Eisenhower administration, many of whose members had fought sharp battles with Alsop.
Hoover told President Lyndon B. Johnson about the Moscow incident in 1964, and Johnson told Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara about Alsop's FBI file.
In 1965, Alsop complained to friends that Johnson was tapping his phone, a claim that infuriated Johnson, who believed that he had protected Alsop from McCarthy's attacks. Alsop told White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers that he believed the administration was tapping his phone and was spreading gossip about his personal life, all in an attempt to stop leaks.
When Moyers reported the charges, Johnson ordered Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to be certain no such wiretap was in place and protested that he never ordered one: "I'm as innocent of it as I am of murdering your wife," he told Katzenbach.
In the 1970s, the Soviets sent Alsop's embarrassing photos to several prominent American journalists without adverse consequences. Alsop considered making his homosexuality public to end the harassment but decided otherwise.
He was at work on a memoir when he died at his home in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1989. He is buried at Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut. The memoir was published posthumously as I've Seen the Best of It.
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