But no other explanation fills all the holes in the puzzle as completely as FDR’s complicity. Although Intrepid’s specific claim to have concocted the leak is preposterous, his presence in the United States and his purpose—to bring America into the war with Germany—are admitted facts. That he was here with the knowledge and connivance of the President of the United States is also an admitted fact. Would a President who had already used faked maps and concealed from Congress the truth about the naval war in the North Atlantic hesitate at one more deception—especially if he believed that war with Japan was imminent?
This explanation enables us to understand why General Marshall, who was told of the deception soon after it was launched, never blamed Arnold. It explains FBI Assistant Director Nichols’s cryptic admission that the bureau “quit” when it “got as far” as General Arnold. Nichols would seem to have been implying that the FBI knew the real leaker was someone above Arnold in the chain of command. The explanation also makes sense of Marshall’s continuing trust in Wedemeyer, on whom such dark suspicions had been cast. It also explains Roosevelt’s reluctance to prosecute the Tribune . What Intrepid’s story tells us is the purpose of the leak: to goad Hitler into that desperately needed declaration of war.
Only FDR and a handful of other men, all of whom have joined him in the shadows, could confirm this scenario. If it is true, it is an extraordinary glimpse into the complex game Franklin D. Roosevelt was playing on history’s chessboard in the closing weeks of 1941.