Mystery man at the White House

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As the nation’s first national security adviser in then midst of the Cold War, Robert Cutler knew all the White House’s secrets— while keeping a big one of his own.

Cutler was a poet, novelist, lawyer, banker, brigadier general, and political operative. He worked on the “I Like Ike” campaign before joining President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration as his liaison with the national security team. Given his high intellect and low profile, he became known as the Mystery Man of the White House, and essentially became the first national security adviser to a U.S. president.

Journalist Peter Shinkle, Cutler’s great nephew, said he was an “extraordinarily intelligent and a dedicated patriot.”  But while he played the part of someone who was married to his job, Shinkle says Cutler’s diaries reveal he was actually gay.

Cutler kept his sexual orientation secret throughout his career, and even played an integral part in the “Lavender Scare,” which essentially purged homosexuals from the federal government.

Larry Potash spoke with Shinkle about how Cutler’s diaries shed light on the complicated history of the U.S.’s first national security adviser.


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