tv After Words CSPAN November 30, 2013 10:00pm-10:56pm EST
to say thank you. thank you for coming. thank you for writing the book. thank you for -- [applause] this is precisely the type of discourse that ics health wants to promote. you know, there's so much noise out there about what's going on in health care and policy, and to have academics willing to put out controversial ideas, have discussions about them, and use them to provoke conversation. we can't think of anything better. thank you for coming, and we look forward to having a discussion afterwards. [inaudible conversations]
>> up next "after words," and this week, fox and friends cohost the latest book george washington's secret six. in it, the syndicated tv and radio host tells the story of the spy ring, six previously unknown revolutionary war spies to infiltrated british ranks in new york credited with turning the tide of the war. this program is about an hour. >> host: brian, this is a terrific, engrossing book. why did george washington need a spy ring, and where did he need it? >> guest: well, thank you, first off. he needed the spy ring because of the numbers problem and experience problem. at tops, 9,000 troops, at the low point, 3,000 troops, british
had 40,000 troops. >> host: over the whole course of the war. >> guest: over the whole course of the war, up to 80,000 troops, almost annihilated, the revolution almost broke before his eyes. >> host: what year are we? >> guest: year 1776 is when he really comes over, after the success, i consider success at bunker hill. you want boston, i give you boston, go to canada, regroup, and washington, they go back to new york. they come back to new york city, and he knows he can't face them. he knows he can't beat them head-to-head, so he uses espionage, guerrilla warfare, anticipates them. only logic that brings you to, well, he needs a spy force. he needs his own cia. then you find out he's got this huge espionage background, a spy in the french-indian war,
brushed up on the skills, and he tells general scott, hey, brigadier general scott, this is what we need to do, find people to help me out. >> host: okay, just to fill in the background, what did he do in the french and indian war? >> guest: i didn't say the war extepeesively, but i know he was an officer there where he had a chance to work with the french, see what were they thinking here and there, and pick up working with the british, able to pick up things, and made mistakes. he was too aggressive as, i believe, a colonel at that point, and he learned from that. and that's another thing which i found fantastic with george washington on the side of the mountain. that guy who couldn't do anything wrong meads mistakes, owned up to it, and learned from it. that was the goal. the goal was bring washington to
lift and let ordinary people know what they are capable of doing because of that generation. >> host: okay. the british took new york in the summer of 17 # -- 1776, and what is the importance of new york city in the strategic shape of the war? why is that important? >> guest: this is educational to me and which i find when people write me now, do i give this to the 15-year-old or 14-year-old? i live, i grew up in long island. i love history. i love social studies, and i thought to myself, okay, is this on the test? we moved on. if you look at the 13 colonies and look at new york and their ports and location, it's the center of what would be the new country. it's where the traffic was, the commerce was, and it's where shifts pull in and big ships pulled out. people knew new york. there was another area, and you
could have cattle and feed an army like the british army. if the colonists were to be a country, they can't with britain there and as long as they don't have control of the ports and area. >> now, washington's first idea for spy is nathan heal; right? tell us that story. >> caller: nathan hale missed bunker hill. he wanted to see the action, and i know you know this inside and out, and he just missed by a little while, and he comes back with washington, and i guess there was a familiarity there, and he's a teacher, and yale graduate. he says, i need volunteers, washington knew in the gut this guy was ill-prepared to do it, no experience, he was bright, good looking guy, robust,
ambitious, and seemed to be fearless. he sent them over against what i understand, what i concluded was his better instincts. he only last fairs we can tell, as far as the research reveals, a couple days, went to huntington, the point which he crossed, and there's a few stories going around, one of which said he was overheard asking questions, someone pretended to be sympathetic, there was a trap, caught, captured #, and a few days later, he's hanged. unceremoniously. there's debate about the location. the location i understand was 66 and 3 #rd, and i was heartenedded to see when i went there, i believe, it was a dress-for-less, but there's a plaque there, that here stood nathan hale. some say it's around where we were taping this, and that's fine, but i want people to say, hey, he didn't get hanged on mars, not some remote location, but in new york city, to send a
message. you go for the other side, you're not a loyalist, you pay. we'll be brutal, direct, and we want this to be over quick. >> host: and he failed because of his inexperience and because he's also a stranger to the area; right? >> guest: from connecticut. from the northern northeast, doesn't know long island as far as we could tell. >> washington didn't seem to have relayed much to him, and it took washington a year to -- he knees he has to get spies together. that took a year to regroup and figure out where to go from here. >> host: and what conclusions does he draw from the failure of hale and his mission? >> guest: we have to be clear about objectives, have a way to communicate, and there's got to be more than one person.
>> u hi. >> reporter: and there's got to be a way in which washington communicates with those familiar with the area. they have to be trustworthy and understand espionage and also have a will of steel. the way i understand it, as you move flu the book, these guys had all the symptoms of ptsd. they were run down every day with a borrowed day, and they didn't know if today would be the last day they were alive. >> host: stress. >> guest: unbelievable amount of stress. i don't want to jump ahead, but a key spy never gets his life together after. they handed in the book, we start talking, people asking questions, what happened next? so i just started looking into report townsend, seeing the letters, and his older brother, solomon, all accounts a stud, you know, a real big strong guy, the girls want, running ships issue and he's writing letters to rob saying, rob, get it
together, you can do more of this, get out of the house. this is what we learned from ptsd when the soldiers get home, they have trouble to get on track because the mission is not clear from what they experienced. >> host: so who is the officer that washington turns to to help him set up the spy ring? >> guest: well, ultimately, it would be -- it would be ben ming, and -- >> you mentioned him before. >> guest: right. he's a roommate and fell loy ivy league grad >> host: at yale and knew each other at yale? >> guest: yes. and he's a guy who has shown himself a natural leader from all indications, working under washington, and a side note, his 55-page biography, which is in 1835, was one of the most fascinating 50 pages i ever had to read because he's as close to anyone i know that could say this is what washington was like, this is what he did, and i know because i was next to him.
he got the commission to go over, and he comes over, and the way i understand it is the first stop was abraham woodhall. >> host: where was that from? i was just there and at his house, from the area, and -- >> host: where is that? where? long island? >> guest: picture lock island, picture rural land full of coves and some swampy areas, especially near the water, and he lived by the water with his family who had generations on the -- everyone knew him, and back then, i was found out that a lot of the families knew each other because there were few, they would stay, grow, and purchase additional lands. he knew the area, left to go to school, goes back, and so the first stop he makes is to his grammar school schoolmates,
abraham woodhall, who is convinced is somebody he can trust. abraham, as far as we can tell, the last remaining son, his older brother died, and abraham, i was working the farm and depended on for his sisters and parents, depended on to be the man of the house because he was robust and dad was sickly. his heart was in the right place. >> an independent farmer? >> guest: right, and like so much depicted as someone that the war thing, you guys fight the war. i have to farm. you guys, i have the ax, and this ax, but i'm not ready to fight for it. leave me out. the british were so apressive in so many ways and like thugs and crooks, it basically militarized the area and made militants of people who were indifferent. >> what did they do to woodhall or people he knew?
>> guest: well, woodhall, in particular, got himself into trouble, and he was somebody who the british were keeping a close eye on, and, in fact, the colonel got word that we have to watch woodhall once they mobilized him, and, of course, he doesn't know he was molized, but he's doing suspicious things. one day he's to be beat up or arrested, he can't find his way home. he's hung up in different spying activities, but they go to his house and find his dad and beat up his dad pretty good -- >> host: who is an old man. >> guest: no fight left. they did it in front of the wife and daughters, humiliating, and that sent a message to woodhall. my goodness, i'm risking my life for a cause that seems so remote, as much as i despise the british, do i put my family through this? glad you are asking the questions because there are times when individual spies go underneath, i have to lay low or i want out for a while.
that was one of the times where abraham woodhall said, i have to lay low. they are looking at me, and number two, i have to rethink this. the other guys picked up the slack. >> host: now, did woodhall then suggest the next people in the ring? >> guest: the next thing he needed to do, and that washington wanted, and washington was pretty critical, it you read the letters, guys, i got the boat movement. i understand the troupe movement. i need better stuff than that. they wrote back, and i'm not a writer, never planned to be a writer, never thought i was a spy, did the best i can, and they had to get somebody who had a reason, a cover story to be in new york city, not a guy to go in, out, and stay with the family friend, and then leave in a while. looks too suspicious. that led into another famous family, and that was the townsend family of the oyster bay, long island. >> host: what is there
connection with new york city? >> guest: well, it was interesting. they had a business there, and it was basically a dry goods business. they had another business later on, and i go back to the house, and they described the house back then as a big huge sprawling mansion, and i look at it now, and it looks like a five-room house. now, and it's -- there's normal houses on either side, and there were -- after robert was the spy in 1930, they said, hold it, stop building around here. let's preserve it. robert townsend had these british by his house and say, he's the middle brother of four -- of six, said, we're going to be staying here. his dad, took all the business risks and republicked in the community as well as the sisters, jam basically into one room. robert, republicked by many,
thought to have signed a loyalist note to be loyalist to the crown. >> host: bullied anyway. >> guest: absolutely, and the way the accounts were in that area, they would walk around, drinking, debauchery, pounded on people, and robert townsend picks up stakes and goes into new york city and starts spying. one thing leads to the other, he's intelligent. number two, he's motivated, and number three, he understood shifts because his dad was in the shipping business. he knew the ships, what they were up to, how much material was going in and coming out, and his information immediately upgraded the quality of having an -- whafers the ring, and washington said, you know, the guy, you know, when he became a
senior, and senior woodhall, and two key members of the spy ring. >> host: now, how did they get the information? once they get it in new york and get it out of new york, how do they convey it back to the americans? >> guest: well, he used the dramatic parts. they are able to listen because, you know, i don't know if you check -- i listen now to go toer market, people talk loud, and other times people see it, say hello, say, hey, what's going on? what are you guys leaving? headed north? where we headed? really, okay, great. he would go upstairs, pen a letter, and go to the location that he penned the letter, and do it sooner, after the beginning, in invisible i think, and it was precious stuff that john jay invented or brought to the states. >> host: okay. talk about the ink.
how did it work? >> guest: the way the ink was, they calledded it the sthettic stain, and what you do is write, and i've tried this, i where and imagine writing and not see the letter prior to what you wrote. it's confusing. >> host: vanishes as you write? >> guest: as you write. you're writing this stuff down, and you put it inside a book, and it comes off at a white page, or write 76 in the middle of the book. i don't know what it means, but that means you go to 76 in the journal book, and the page could be blank. that was a message to washington or woodall if he wanted to bring it to light in long island, that's go to page 76, that's where you find the invisible ink. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: i don't know if i should jump ahead, but they got sophisticated, what if they figure out that it goes white page to white page. write between the lines. they would take books and it was
from james riffington, a lot of them, a printing press guy who owned the gazette, and they took books, wrote in a certain page whether it's prominent writer of the time or bible, and they sent the message that way. the guy that picks it up, for the most part, was the guy named austin rowe. he was, again, my message, if i motivate anyone with the book, he's a that vern owner, dry goods owner, printing press guy, a farmer. people watching now, you can't be washington, you're right, but can you be a -- can you own a tavern, believe in the country and sacrifice for the cause? that's who we see with the 1.3 million fighting force that we have today in my opinion. they got the message off to rowe, there's a reason to go to the city. they go a bar. i got a bar, i have a tavern. i don't want the cheap stuff, i want robert to pick it up.
it was perilous, british forces, drunk, hanging out with lack of discipline, do the ferry, 55 miles back to woodhall, and he sifts through it, package it up, and give it to caleb. >> host: who is he? >> guest: a captain. i know the rock is hawaiian, and there's not many hawaiians at that time, but he's a guy who, a big strong determined and confident. he's the only one without a pseudoname. he wanted to be caleb bruce. really? okay. he got six guys together and a whale boat with a cannon on the front and decide to go across the sound. now, if the viewers are not familiar with that, it's a body of water to cross, about 26 miles. can you imagine, i looked down there doing standups to explain this story in october, and it
was 65 degrees out, i'm by the water, and it's choppy. imagine doing that in december, january, and february. that's what they did. you have to weave through the british navy, be the aggressor, and scare the guys to stay away from them, pick up messages, drop off messages to a courier, and over to washington. >> host: he's taking across the sound to connecticut? >> guest: with five other guys on a regular basis. >> host: uh-huh, and then once it's matched, he sends it on to washington? >> guest: and they look at it together. >> host: how do you read the invisible ink? >> guest: it's sympathetic stain, you use it to write and bring it to life. there's funny pass sans on there, bringing it to life, and his sisters scream, and there's the stain all over, and the balance of the ward in some level is at stake, and it's like gold, we don't have much of it.
>> host: uh-huh. now, there's also a woman in this ring. >> guest: yes. there are people -- >> host: how? >> guest: there are people who fight me on this, as you knowings and it's our conclusion that she either was absolutely a woman, and it seems when there were referring to it in the book in the letters somebody's going to be an extreme help to us just joined the fray. robert is working with a regular, and when she joins, and after that letter, the intelligence picks up. it's like she penetrated the social circles. one conclusion leads to another, and major andre, a key figure for the british, charismatic, very well-respected, who, to a degree, is a spy for the british, works with benedict arnold in effort to change the war forever, and that's to turn over west point to the croup, to the king, and end the war. this woman seems to have infiltrated the social circle significantly. there was information to robert,
extreme danger all around, and the other thing we commonground in the books without a shadow of a doubt is that james worthington, not only employ him -- >> host: before that, i want to say on the woman, what else? >> guest: she was comfortable, high end circles. >> host: you're not giving the name. >> guest: we don't have the name. she's not described as a lady, to me, seen as somebody who was perfectly comfortable in the higher end and upper class area of new york city. >> host: she's going to the british parties? >> guest: absolutely. >> host: and how is she identified? >> guest: she is in the ledgers, and the ledgers are, for example, we have news, and write, general washington is number of 711, abraham is 712, and new york was 86.
711 had to 86. you cannot, even if you add invisible ink figure this out. she is referred to as 355 #, the lady. now, there's females -- she's known as the lady, and we do conclude she had to have died after benedict arnold came back into new york city determined to find out who the spy was that helped unmask his plot, and he went on a rampage to the point where junior quit, townsend told washington he was out, not doing it, and picked it up, forget it, heat still on, i'm not coming back. they ultimately would get convinced to come back to finish off the war, but it seems as though, and there was a sadness through the group, and i believe by the paperback, which could be six months, i would get close to naming someone. why reach? if i con go out of my way to convene, and oyster bay to new
york city, why am i going to reach at something as significant at who the woman is? >> host: for now, she's 355, and that's all history knows of her for a name? >> guest: yes, and i believe someone, us or somebody else, will figure out exactly who it is. >> host: tell us, you mentioned him, but james riffington, he's your last one of the six. >> guest: when i first started this project or started being passionate about it, not knowing what to do with it butmented to learn more, i thought james was the editor of a loyalist newspaper, loyal to the crown. after all, he had his place burned to the ground by the sons of liberty prior to the war because they were convinced he was for the crown. maybe he was. at some point in the war, he switched sides, and he kept writing, putting up the newspaper, -- >> host: the journalist in new york city doing pro-british stuff.
>> guest: the riffington royal gazette. everybody wanted to be in it. guess where the paper went? new york city and back to britain. wow, look at my captain, my son, the captain. look what he accomplished. look at the plans the general has forward war. look how the war will last. look at the moves he's doing in the hudson. he'd write back, get information from the adjacent coffee shop, jot it down, put it in the newspaper, in books, and i believe 355, to give washington incredible intelligence. >> host: so like most journalists, he knows more than he prints? >> guest: absolutely. >> host: we have the secret six, in place in new york city, and also in long island, and
what are the things they accomplish? give us one story or one revelation they give to washington that's crucial? >> guest: i'll give you one. one of the first big breaks was word was out to robert townsend because the british bragged about it that they stole the paper in which we make our currency. why is that a big deal? as we know now because we print currency rapidly, a trillion dollars a month. if you go and flood the market, the patriot market, the new colonies, this new country with currency, if you flood it, it makes your payment worthless. farmers lost money, losing homes, leaving families behind to fight the war. what's harder than that? what about fighting the war for no money. if they flood the mark, that disspirits the troops to get them to break up. there was a series of losses almost annihilated, and washington -- what i say about washington is he doesn't say, ah-ha, he's george washington.
he says everything from this day on, 1780 on, brand new currency. change the currency, tell everybody. everything prior to 1780 still works, but people are not papering their walls with the american currency. we adjusted. robert townsend was directly involved. >> host: and that's because, as they knew from riffington about the paper? >> >> guest: dpowpped out from dr. robert townsend that in philadelphia, this coveted paper, they printed there, just like ours, the special paper for our dollars, the coveted paper was stolen with british intent. he goes through the cycle, to boston, over to caleb, and washington makes an adjustment, acts quickly, and he does. >> host: now, one point about this ring, we're coming to a break, but this seems like a crucial point in espionage. how many of the secret six know
the other six? >> guest: i'll tell you from what i know. i believe that robert townsend knew all of them. clearly, because he was very judgmental in his cur yours because he would get information. when he heard the guys would panic and dump it, which happened a few times, he refused to work after a while. he was pleased with, and nateen, rowe's brother, he worked with him once in a while, and they knew each other. i think woodhall knew everybody, no doubt about it, talmage knew everybody, no doubt about it, other than 355 which i don't know they interacted in accuracy. riffington probably logically did not know bruceter but knew rowe and woodhall because he did the new york city run. that was the gig before townsend stepped in to save the ranks.
they interacted, did go, and what's fascinating is that they didn't really, after words, they didn't interact much, and when there was a barbecue at the end of the war to get together, townsend never showed, and when washington showed, he said, i want to meet the ring, only ousten and woodhall, we believe met washington. the rest kept to themselves. >> host: so it was a -- that's a safety precaution; right? >> guest: departmentalization. >> host: so if they are caught and questioned severely, he can't still -- he doesn't know them all. >> guest: yes, and another thing the cia did, read into this, i read the term and didn't know what it meant, so they say, you know, they did dead drops so if i'm looking to get information to you, i might say put you at these cord gnats on the -- >> host: a dead drop right here. >> guest: take that, we'll pick it up.
>> host: we were talking about dead drops, finish that off. what is a dead drop? >> guest: you asked me about the tools, and one of the tools of the trade is the cia told me, we went to langley, virginia to make sure i was not so caught up that i was blurred by it. i wanted to make sure, am i going up the right path in saying this was a special group, and then they told me they teach the guys the same, especially deaddrops, for example. how do you define that? there's a set location, and i would tell you, go to 6 # 6 and third, and i'd leave something there. when you decided that it was okay to pick it up, then you would pick it up. you're caught, i'm not.
that information is put into a way with invisible ink, it's not getting you caught and in trouble, so they did drops all over the place so they couldn't get two people in place. >> host: there's, like, nine houses there, and there was a huge property, and they used to put it, we understand, in different areas, and we were able to pick off stuff, and we were able to go through with it in the house, and then get it to caleb who rode his way to washington. >> host: now, do you see a personality type at all on most of the secret six shared, any common traits that they had? >> guest: yes, humility.
patriotism, human, and they all came close to cracking other than caleb, other than after the war, he took a ball to the neck, and said, hey, guys, i thought i had a pension. i took a bullet for you guys. that's the only time he complained, but i see all that, i see humanity in it. number one, number two, i see people who are adjusting to the war in the middle of the war not trained for the war. that's how they acted. they remind me of the term "citizen spy" makes sense. i do the best i can in which you tell me, but i'm not perfect or built for this, but i'll tell you what, i believe in the cause, and i want these british out of here. i believe all pretty intelligent, and i think they got better as the war went on. you get the sense they had gratification from within. they didn't have money or fame. i went out of the way in the book to put report's gravestone
there, and he's in the back of a barn with hoses out of the barn leaning into his headstone. that's not how you treat war heros. that's not paul revere's grave. >> host: a plot? >> guest: a family plot, but it's stuck in what looks like a junk yard behind it. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: so that's just not the way they do it in boston for the people we know and samuel -- adams, and you'd think he would be treated better. >> host: you're saying that reflects their temperament. >> guest: yes, it bothers me more than them. >> host: something quiet about the people and willing to be in the shadows. >> guest: i used the term admirable and they don't want the credit, but they also knew from within they are doing something special and the cause was certainly worth their while. >> host: you told us how they frustrated a british plot to
counterfit the money and drive inflation higher than it was going. they frustrated an attack on the french fleet. >> guest: yes. >> tell us about that. >> guest: washington worried the british knew it and knew they were on their way k and activated the ring after they were down for a while to find out, townsend finds out quickly, pretty quickly, and this is after the death of 355 we believe. they learn quickly, they know, mobilize, and they know exactly what to do. the british go down to long island and take out the french. before they can get their land links, hit them right away. washington gets the information -- >> host: the french fleet is going to rhode island to newport? >> guest: yes, and the british know it. okay, you stop them before -- that's not the whole french navy, but a chance they take losses and go, how do they do this anyway? i'm out of here.
we can't suffer like this. i don't know the cause right now. washington is not in the military mind, and they get the move, time to block, and you know what he does? sends somebody into the area in which he knows they are beginning to find resistance. he takes them off, and he has them go in, probe, and it comes off intentionally, and in the satchel is information that washington's going to attack, so these think that washington -- they just got the battle plan that intentions are to attack manhattan, bring it back, and look at what they found in the satchel from a guy who got away, and they said, pull the troops back. they pulled the troops back, and they don't want to be the general to lose new york because washington had been laying low. they don't know if he refortified, capable of doing it. they were losing bad -- battles and had to worry. they pulled them back, french land, no problem, direct link.
washington's brilliance? absolutely. did he know, i have to activate the ring and find out if the british know? they'll stop them before they come ashore, yes. they usedded these guys and their information to do it. >> host: it was the ring that told them he had to do something? >> guest: yes. >> what he does is the head fake? >> guest: yes. he just shot cannon, the way i understand it, didn't work. if they got the secret plans in order to stop it. it's yen yows. >> host: uh-huh. the british were no slouches at espionage themselves, and you mentioned benedict arnold, which was the great plot on the other side. tell us how that developed. >> guest: we understand he reached out, say, i'm looking, reached out, got to major andre, and -- >> host: and arnold is? >> guest: he's a general, a general in the american army,
and he's had quite a bit of success. he also seems, if you look at him and study him, he seems to be a bit of a guy who feels he has a persecution complex and getting the short end of the stick, fought brilliantly, used money, gets reimbursed, goes to philadelphia, has the command, ends uptaking relatively talking about, alien ated the officers. he said, listen, if you don't give me washington's deal, i'll go to west point, let me hant l that, and washington liked him. he went to west point, stood there, and he was supposed to make an attack force, and said, i'm looking to come to your side, and andre knows about it, and they want to -- >> host: he remind us -- >> guest: he's a charismatic officer in the military, and major andre that the americans like. he was very gregarious, a good
looking guy, and he was in charge there. the code name was john bolten. john anderson. and they gave up west point, and they pretend to put up a fight, but in the end, they are overrun and looks like taken captive, done, the hudson belongs to the british, war is over. there's a school of thought, and it seems logical, that washington was due up in west point, not only did he want to give away west point, by he wanted to hand over washington as well. resentment from the guy who got the commission they want, and so -- >> the british could get commander in chief of the american army? and the key to the hudson river? >> guest: right, it would be a
country. there was a general in the midst, an officer in the midst looking to switch sides, and we believe the 355 had the most role to play in that, they overheard plots, hearing major andre talk, had a big mouth and liked to drink. all the sudden, things movedded. they knew something was going on, and he is is patrolling the area, two are intercepting major andre who was en route to meet arnold and put their plan in motion to turn over west point, well, major andre is stopped, and as soon as you hear about the arrest, he's brought to a local camp -- >> host: now, he's stopped behind american lines? he's stopped -- >> guest: absolutely. >> host: american territory. >> guest: yes. not dressed up. >> host: in disguise? >> guest: absolutely. the problem was in the disguise. he looked like he was out of the
shower, upper class officer, didn't look like the guy, and they thought he has money, he had no money, really. >> americans who are just not in the military, they stopped him. they are loyal to us, and for the most part, looking for a score. you get money from the guy, two thugs, shake the guy down. he had no money with him, shook him down, come to new york, and there was something about the explanation that threw him. he's on the hunt for the officer thing because he's tipped off, and they bring him to a local camp, and they are watching them, and as i write in the book, he seems to walk with perfect style and grace, like, this guy is not who we think he is, and so when he arrives, they were ready to give major andre to benedict arnold. hey, i got the guy, you probably want him, i think he's a british officer. you should take him. >> host: arnold the commanding
officer in that? >> guest: west point, in that area, but he arrives just in time says you're not giving hip to anybody. keep him here. i want to talk to him. he doesn't take long to find out that he's a british officer with a mission in his boot, a letter handing to arnold, two and two gets together, arnold hears about the arrest, and by the time they get to west point, benedict arnold knows i got to get out of here, gets out. you can trace that right back to the ring. he knew a series of questions, how to approach it, who he was. they bring him to chambers, still exists today, and he has an idea. he never thinks he's going to get hanged. >> host: major andreing? >> guest: major andre, never thought he would be hanged. ironically, the man who, maybe, perhaps, more than likely didn't, knew that his room nate, nathan was hanged for being a
spy, and andre is telling washington, okay, you know, i got an officer here, exchange for each other, and i got one officer that i exchange for you, and it's benedict arnold. like can't give up benedict arnold, he's hanged, and there he is, just walked up, goes to the gal low -- >> host: he says, doesn't he, what's going to become of me? >> guest: yes, what's going to become of me. he thought a firing squad was becoming of his officer if he was to lose his life. they go, no, i think we're going to hang you. they hang him, and evidently, according to the bios as well as what we found in our book, there was not a dry eye in the place. he went with great dignity any, and he hanged because he was on the wrong side of the war. >> host: what did the british think of their new acquisition? >> guest: never liked him.
if you asked me to the spies after whether they kept quiet? a lot has to do with the answer. back then, if you were on the right side, if you with a spy, you were looked down on and judged even if the information was vital. washington judge you highly. there was duplicity on any level was not lauded. a few missions, but the momentum shifts, and first thing, when he got to new york city was to work for the spies. he says, i know someone found out. who are they? that's who we believe rounded up 355 amongst many others in a rapid raid of the region, and -- >> host: if he did capture her, what would have become of her? >> guest: prison. there's barges, a raft -- >> host: describe them. >> guest: they are brutal. you die of di sen tear there or whatever disease, little food, a floating prison. they wanted the people off land
and not to be a burden and not to fear them getting out. people were basically going prisons, these prison ships and die. we did find a manifest with a name that could be her, but, again, i don't want to -- i don't want to hurt the credibility of the book by making a leap i'm not comfortable with, and we, don and i, let's leave the 533, but back to the original question, to show you, and one sides joins him, and are you kidding me, switch sides? number two, trying to convince washington, hey, who are the spies you have in i want to thank them. they do great work. you know what he wanted? know who they are to tell the british. >> host: before he got caught. >> guest: right. so he knew how good the spies were, and washington kept his promise. i'll never reveal who you are or where you are. that's the promise. >> host: this is when
washington thinks the world of arnold thinking he's patriotic, excellent officer. >> guest: yes. approached by arnold and wash, they would not give up the names. again, integrity matters. again, he lived -- this is george washington living up to the hype, why he's carved into a mountain, little things like that, time and time again, he shows integrity. >> host: isn't washington -- he liked this work, wouldn't you say? running the spy ring? >> guest: i think he loved it. i think he loved it. >> host: what does that dell us about him? >> guest: a plotter, planner, resourceful, smart. >> host: there's something about him that likes the secrecy. >> guest: i think that he -- i could not give a psychological profile on washington, but he appreciates the effort it takes to get it. i think, also, he knows he absolutely needed it because it's against l british -- i
don't have to finish the sentence, doesn't work, but i think he loved -- he loved the process of acquiring it. the process of acquiring it because it took almost all the atritts that he had, as i mentioned resourcefulness, intellect, guile, out thinking the other guy, all the things you reject in other people. also, as i learned, leaders love when people they teach have the success, almost as much as if thigh had it themselves. if he sees -- i can imagine him seeing a ring come together and seeing the information, which he acted like vince lombardi at times, harassing for more and better stuff, more times, more specific in a timely fashion. as he sees the ring function proficiently, i imagine he has a tremendous feeling of pride. >> host: uh-huh, uh-huh. what do you think? >> guest: well, clearly he was doing this when he was a young man, and then he's doing this in the second war, the american revolution. >> guest: right. >> host: so there's -- he is
the most honest, upright figure in the whole revolution, but there's also a part of him that's liking the shadows, or at least likes running people who are in the shadows. >> guest: out out this, we do anything to win. he's a resourceful guy. i will -- you're going to have to kill me, which seems to have been impossible, by the way, kill me because i come up with plan b and c in order to out maneuver you. >> host: now, how does the secret fix react when there's five, when 35 a # is caught? >> guest: go back. they went down for a while, and one of the letters talks about woodhall saying -- washington saying, you know, if he would do this, i need you to go to the city to do this. he seems to be destroyed. >> host: townsend? >> guest: townsend took it the hardest out of all of them, and considering we don't know for
sure that riffington was a spy, i don't get his emotion until recently -- i don't know what his state was, but they were devastated, went urpt, and at the same time she seems to have left the fray, benedict arnold was on the hunt and couldn't show their faces and knew they could be suspected and remotely suspected, scooped up because there was no court of justice in taking for the wrong reason, but that is another reason why i conclude that she absolutely was there, absolutely took part, and absolutely playeded a vital role, and she absolutely was killed. >> host: and townsend never married? >> guest: never married. there was a kid, robert, jr., they thought was it his kid, young adult books written on the ring say she had his baby, dieded in the prison ship, got -- there's no evidence of that. seems robert, jr., we concluded from talking to the oyster by people at length, the most logical is one of robert's brothers died at a young age,
and that could have been his kid he raisedded because he stayed in the house. he really didn't amount to much if you are financial -- if you judge people by the financial success in business. he seemed to have really been significantly damaged by the war. he was en route to be a businessman, maybe solomon his older brother, to be successful, but after the war, there was a letter from solomon, saying, come on, robert, pick it up, you can do it, you have your life, so much going for you, you know, get engaged again. no sign that he did. >> host: now, so when the ring goes down, how long does it stay down? >> guest: i believe it stays down for less than a year. when the three engaged at this moment, the three engage when washington has to know if the british know that the french are coming in. an urgent call out to reactivate the ring and find information out. in the letter, washington says,
if junior can can -- cannot be poked and prodded to get back in, you have to do it, find a way, and he reads the information quickly. sometimes it took a week and a half to get the letters, sometimes two week, and got it to him quicker. >> host: that is a week and a half from getting the information in new york to getting it back to george washington? >> guest: exactly. take a look at it and say, strain it out, sift through it, this is what we need and what we should use, and give it to caleb who would go off. >> host: now, the war -- well, the peace treaty is not signed until after the war ends, but when did the british finally leave new york? >> guest: 1783, and yet the war was over since 8 is 1, and this was where the book, and i think i want to make this clear, i know we did in the preinterview, but i want to build on what other people have
done when you talk about alexander rose doing an unbelievable job, and penny finding out the signatures, and the grand son wrote the journal, to make the story accurate, the question was, what does it take to get to new york back? the british should be leaving. they lost the war in york town. they are not, washington says, we're going to new york, we're going in. no, you're not. he goes, i need time to secure operatives that have been of extreme help to us. washington goes, permission granted. urn the flag, the american flag, he takes into manhattan, secures the guys, how good they were, he believed that they would be looked as as loyalist and they were killed, maimed, and hurt once washington road in, and an
american city and country. washington goes, do i need to steam roll new york now and after we technically ended the war in york town, pulled back, they'll leave soon. when it was clear, coming in, had dinner, hung out, and two or three days later, they pulled out, went up to canada, as i understand, and then washington, as we put in the book, would say good-bye to the officers, which he thought was for good in 1783, and the speech, chronicled in the biography, that his kids urged him to write, talked about being overwhelmed with emotion, couldn't speak, and he asked everybody one by one to come up and touch his hand and left the that vern that stands today and walk to the barge. i don't go downtown a lot, so i expected it to be a mile to the water or two miles -- it's right there. the tavern looks the same
judging by the paintings, sketches, and photo, and you can actually feel george washington leave the front of the billing, walk out emotionally, get on the barge, and go home. >> host: that's the famous scene in the books. but he met riffington, didn't he? >> guest: one of the things we're proud of that came into the book that according to george, george washington or george customer washington, he wrote the pirs person he saw in new york city was james, and he heard gold changing hands, change, changing hands in a bag, and why would president washington -- excuse me, general washington, visit the editor, writer of a loyalist newspaper, and -- >> host: the royal gazette? >> guest: the royal gazette, unless, of course, as step grand son wrote, he got the naval codes, the british naval codes before the battle of york town and rocket them to france, the french navy, to neutralize in
which the british still have not figured out why they were not successful. if you're that happy, go to vaims. that's what he did, behind closed doors in a back room, and reemerges out. that's the mystery of this, and when i started researching this, james did not know he hired townsend who was a spy. the more i researched they did hire the dry goods owner to do reporting for him to help robert become more successful as a spy because he has more intelligence, and then that makes total sense. it makes total sense he saw huh brutal they were in new york city, thugs they were, hookers, everything going on there, saw the goodness of america, i'd like to think, and said, you know what? i'm on the wrong side. i'm not stupid enough to say it and die. >> host: in british occupied new york. >> guest: but it was clear afterwards. >> host: any other secret six come into the city? >> guest: when i sat down with thel