James Jesus Angleton was born in Boise, Idaho, on 9th December, 1917. His father, James Hugh Angleton, was a former cavalry officer who met his wife, Carmen Mercedes Moreno, while serving in Mexico.
Angleton's father worked for NCR. In 1933 he was sent to represent the firm in Europe. The following year he took over the NCR franchise in Italy. According to a close friend, Max Corvo, Angleton was "ultra-conservative" and a fascist sympathizer.
James Angleton was sent to be educated at Malvern College, a public school in Worcestershire. In 1937 Angleton enrolled at Yale University. He was a poor student but managed to graduate in the autumn of 1941 with a BA.
After marrying Cicely d'Autremont he joined the United States Army. During the Second World War Angleton served with the Office of Strategic Services and in March 1943 was sent to London to be trained by MI5 officers such as Dick White and Kim Philby. He later served as a counter-intelligence agent in Italy.
After the war Angleton worked for the War Department's Strategic Services Unit. He became the chief counter-intelligence officer for Italy but in 1947 he returned home to join the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1951 he was sent to Israel where he helped establish Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.
In May 1951, two senior British officials, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, fled to the Soviet Union. Senior figures in the CIA were investigating Burgess and Maclean at the time and suspected that Kim Philby, a MI6 agent working in Washington had tipped off his two friends. The CIA director, Walter Bedell Smith, asked Angleton and William Harvey to write up separate reports detailing what they knew about Philby. Harvey came to the conclusion that Philby was a Soviet spy. However, Angleton claimed that Philby had been "honestly duped" and warned Smith against taking the matter further. Smith took the advice of Angleton and Philby was able to continue his work until escaping to the Soviet Union four years later.
In 1954 Allen Dulles appointed Angleton as chief of the CIA's counter-intelligence section. Two years later Angleton had his greatest success when he obtained a transcript of the speech Nikita Khrushchev made to the 1956 Soviet Party Congress denouncing Joseph Stalin. Angleton leaked doctored versions of the speech to numerous foreign government in a disinformation campaign.
In December 1961, Anatoli Golitsin, a KGB agent, working in Finland, defected to the CIA. He was immediately flown to the United States and lodged in a safe house called Ashford Farm near Washington. Interviewed by Angleton, Golitsin supplied information about a large number of Soviet agents working in the West.
In these interviews Golitsin argued that as the KGB would be so concerned about his defection, they would attempt to convince the CIA that the information he was giving them would be completely unreliable. He predicted that the KGB would send false defectors with information that contradicted what he was saying.
In June 1962 Yuri Nosenko made contact with the CIA in Geneva. He was deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB. His main responsibility was the recruitment of foreign spies. He like Golitsin, provided evidence that John Vassall was a Soviet agent. However, most of his evidence undermined that given by Golitsin. This included Golitsin's claim that a senior figure in the Admiralty was a spy.
In July 1963, Golitsin traveled to London to be interviewed by Arthur Martin. Soon afterwards a senior MI5 officer leaked information to British newspapers that they were interviewing a KGB defector in London. As soon as this story appeared in the press, Golitsin returned to the United States and refused to give any more information to MI5.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Richard Helms was given the responsibility of investigating Lee Harvey Oswald and the CIA. Helms initially appointed John M. Whitten to undertake the agency's in-house investigation. After talking to Winston Scott, the CIA station chief in Mexico City, Whitten discovered that Oswald had been photographed at the Cuban consulate in early October, 1963. Scott had not reported this matter to Whitten, his boss, at the time. Nor had Scott told Whitten that Oswald had also visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico. In fact, Whitten had not been informed of the existence of Oswald, even though there was a 201 pre-assassination file on him that had been maintained by the Counterintelligence/Special Investigative Group.
John M. Whitten and his staff of 30 officers, were sent a large amount of information from the FBI. According to Gerald D. McKnight "the FBI deluged his branch with thousands of reports containing bits and fragments of witness testimony that required laborious and time-consuming name checks." Whitten later described most of this FBI material as "weirdo stuff". As a result of this initial investigation, Whitten told Richard Helms that he believed that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
On 6th December, Nicholas Katzenbach invited John M. Whitten and Birch O'Neal, Angleton's trusted deputy and senior Special Investigative Group (SIG) officer to read Commission Document 1 (CD1), the report that the FBI had written on Lee Harvey Oswald. Whitten now realized that the FBI had been withholding important information on Oswald from him. He also discovered that Richard Helms had not been providing him all of the agency's available files on Oswald. This included Oswald's political activities in the months preceding the assassination.
John M. Whitten had a meeting where he argued that Oswald's pro-Castro political activities needed closer examination, especially his attempt to shoot the right-wing General Edwin Walker, his relationship with anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, and his public support for the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Whitten added that has he had been denied this information, his initial conclusions on the assassination were "completely irrelevant."
Helms responded by taking Whitten off the case. James Jesus Angleton was now put in charge of the investigation. According to Gerald McKnight (Breach of Trust) Angleton "wrested the CIA's in-house investigation away from John Whitten because he either was convinced or pretended to believe that the purpose of Oswald's trip to Mexico City had been to meet with his KGB handlers to finalize plans to assassinate Kennedy." Over the next few months Angleton worked with William Sullivan of the FBI in providing information to the Warren Commission.
During this period Angleton continued to interview Anatoli Golitsin. He now claimed that Hugh Gaitskell had been murdered in January 1963 to allow Harold Wilson, a KGB agent, to become leader of the Labour Party. Angleton believed Golitsin but few senior members of the CIA agreed with him. They pointed out that Gaitskell had died after Golitsin had left the Soviet Union and would have had to know in advance what was about to take place.
Golitsin also suggested that W. Averell Harriman had been a Soviet spy, while he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Angleton was convinced by this story as he knew someone was involved in spying the negotiations that took place between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, other CIA officers thought the story ridiculous and Harriman was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as ambassador-at-large for Southeast Asian affairs.
In January 1964 Yuri Nosenko contacted the CIA and said he had changed his mind and was now willing to defect to the United States. He claimed that he had been recalled to Moscow to be interrogated. Nosenko feared that the KGB had discovered he was a double-agent and once back in the Soviet Union would be executed. Nosenko also claimed that he had important information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He insisted that although Lee Harvey Oswald had lived in the Soviet Union he was not a KGB agent.
Nosenko arrived in the United States on 14th February, 1964. However, soon afterwards, Nosenko was undermined by the US National Security Agency who had been monitoring communications between Moscow and Geneva. It discovered that Nosenko had lied about being recalled to the Soviet Union. He was now taken to a CIA detention cell and after extensive interrogation he admitted the story about him being recalled was untrue.
Angleton believed that Anatoli Golitsin was a genuine double-agent but argued that Nosenko was part of a disinformation campaign. However, other CIA officers believed Nosenko and considered Golitsin was a fake.
Some researchers have claimed that Angleton was involved in covering up CIA's involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. H. R. Haldeman, President Nixon's chief of staff, claimed in his book, The Ends of Power: "After Kennedy was killed, the CIA launched a fantastic cover-up. The CIA literally erased any connection between Kennedy's assassination and the CIA... in fact, Counter intelligence Chief James Angleton of the CIA called Bill Sullivan of the FBI and rehearsed the questions and answers they would give to the Warren Commission investigators."
For example, Winston Scott, was CIA station chief in 1963. He retired in 1969 and wrote a memoir about his time in the FBI, OSS and the CIA. He completed the manuscript, It Came To Little, and made plans to discuss the contents of the book with CIA director, Richard Helms, in Washington on 30th April, 1971.
Scott died on 26th April, 1971. No autopsy was performed, and a postmortem suggested he had suffered a heart attack. His son, Michael Scott told Dick Russell that he took away his father's manuscript. Angleton also confiscated three large cartons of files including a tape-recording of the voice of Lee Harvey Oswald. Michael Scott was also told by a CIA source that his father had not died from natural causes.
Michael Scott eventually got his father's manuscript back from the CIA. However, 150 pages were missing. Chapters 13 to 16 were deleted in their entirety. In fact, everything about his life after 1947 had been removed on grounds of national security.
Angleton became convinced that the CIA had been penetrated by a "mole" working for the KGB. He ordered his assistant, Clare Edward Petty, of the ultra-secret Special Investigation Group (SIG), to carry out a study into the possibility that a Soviet spy existed in the higher levels of the CIA. Angleton suggested that David Murphy, a former chief of the Soviet Division, was a spy. Petty eventually produced a 25 page report on Murphy that concluded that he was "probably innocent". Angleton disagreed and insisted he was a spy.
Petty also investigated Pete Bagley, another former chief of the Soviet Division. His report on Bagley ran to over 250 pages and concluded that he was a "good candidate for the mole". Angleton disagreed and insisted that his friend was a loyal CIA officer.
Petty now became suspicious of Angleton and decided to carry out a private investigation into his past. As he later pointed out: "I reviewed Angleton's entire career, going back through his relationships with Philby, his adherence to all of Golitsyn's wild theories, his false accusations against foreign services and the resulting damage to the liaison relationships, and finally his accusation against innocent Soviet Division officers."
As a result of his investigation, Petty concluded that there was an "80-85 percent probability" that Angleton was a Soviet mole. Petty showed his report to several senior CIA officials including William Colby, William Nelson and David Blee. Colby instructed Bronson Tweedy, another senior CIA officer to review Petty's findings. After several months of study, Tweedy argued that there was no justification whatsoever for assuming Angleton to be a Soviet agent.
In February, 1973, James Schlesinger replaced Richard Helms as Director of the CIA. Angleton immediately went to see Schlesinger and gave him a list of more than 30 people that he considered to be Soviet agents. This list included top politicians, foreign intelligence officials and senior CIA officials. Those named included Harold Wilson, the British prime minister, Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister, Willy Brandt, chairman of the West German Social Democratic Party, Averell Harriman, the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Lester Pearson, the Canadian prime minister and Henry Kissinger, the National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon. Schlesinger listened to Angleton for seven hours. After consulting with other senior figures in the CIA he concluded that he was suffering from paranoia. However, he liked Angleton and decided against forcing him into retirement.
In July 1973, James Schlesinger became President Nixon's Secretary of Defence and William Colby became the new Director of the CIA. Angleton now presented his list of suspected agents to Colby. He reacted by carrying out an investigation into Angleton. He later recalled that he could not find any evidence "that we ever caught a spy under Jim". He added: "That really bothered me... Now I don't care what Jim's political views were as long as he did his job properly, and I'm afraid, in that respect, he was not a good CI chief."
Colby was also concerned about Angleton's mental health. However, he found it difficult to sack him. On 20th December, 1973, Seymour Hersh contacted William Colby and told him that he had evidence that Angleton had organized a massive spying campaign against thousands of American citizens. This action had violated the CIA charter. Hersh informed Colby that he planned to publish the story a few days later. Colby immediately called Angleton to his office and was ordered to resign.
In March, 1976, James Truitt gave an interview to The National Enquirer. Truitt told the newspaper that Mary Pinchot Meyer , who had been murdered on 12th October, 1964, was having an affair with John F. Kennedy. He also claimed that Meyer had told his wife, Ann Truitt, that she was keeping an account of this relationship in her diary. Meyer asked Truitt to take possession of a private diary "if anything ever happened to me".
Ann Truitt was living in Tokyo at the time of the murder. She phoned Ben Bradlee at his home and asked him if he had found the diary. Bradlee, who claimed he was unaware of his sister-in-law's affair with Kennedy, knew nothing about the diary. He later recalled what he did after Truitt's phone-call: "We didn't start looking until the next morning, when Tony and I walked around the corner a few blocks to Mary's house. It was locked, as we had expected, but when we got inside, we found Jim Angleton, and to our complete surprise he told us he, too, was looking for Mary's diary."
Angleton admitted that he knew of Mary's relationship with John F. Kennedy and was searching her home looking for her diary and any letters that would reveal details of the affair. According to Ben Bradlee, it was Mary's sister, Antoinette Bradlee, who found the diary and letters a few days later. It was claimed that the diary was in a metal box in Mary's studio. The contents of the box were given to Angleton who claimed he burnt the diary. Angleton later admitted that Mary recorded in her diary that she had taken LSD with Kennedy before "they made love".
In 1976 Cleveland Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, met George T. Kalaris and Ted Shackley at a cocktail party in Washington. Kalaris, who had replaced Angleton as Chief of Counterintelligence, asked Cram if he would like to come back to work. Cram was told that the CIA wanted a study done of Angleton's reign from 1954 to 1974. "Find out what in hell happened. What were these guys doing."
Cram took the assignment and was given access to all CIA documents on covert operations. The study entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."
On 16th May, 1978, John M. Whitten appeared before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). He criticised Richard Helms for not making a full disclosure about the Rolando Cubela plot to the Warren Commission. He added " I think that was a morally highly reprehensible act, which he cannot possibly justify under his oath of office or any other standard of professional service."
Whitten also said that if he had been allowed to continue with the investigation he would have sought out what was going on at JM/WAVE. This would have involved the questioning of Ted Shackley, David Sanchez Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, Rip Robertson, George Joannides, Gordon Campbell and Thomas G. Clines. As Jefferson Morley has pointed out in The Good Spy: "Had Whitten been permitted to follow these leads to their logical conclusions, and had that information been included in the Warren Commission report, that report would have enjoyed more credibility with the public. Instead, Whitten's secret testimony strengthened the HSCA's scathing critique of the C.I.A.'s half-hearted investigation of Oswald. The HSCA concluded that Kennedy had been killed by Oswald and unidentifiable co-conspirators."
John M. Whitten also told the HSCA that James Jesus Angleton involvement in the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy was "improper". Although he was placed in charge of the investigation by Richard Helms, Angleton "immediately went into action to do all the investigating". When Whitten complained to Helms about this he refused to act.
Whitten believes that Angleton's attempts to sabotage the investigation was linked to his relationship with the Mafia. Whitten claims that Angleton also prevented a CIA plan to trace mob money to numbered accounts in Panama. Angleton told Whitten that this investigation should be left to the FBI. When Whitten mentioned this to a senior CIA official, he replied: "Well, that's Angleton's excuse. The real reason is that Angleton himself has ties to the Mafia and he would not want to double-cross them."
Whitten also pointed out that as soon as Angleton took control of the investigation he concluded that Cuba was unimportant and focused his internal investigation on Oswald's life in the Soviet Union. If Whitten had remained in charge he would have "concentrated his attention on CIA's JM/WAVE station in Miami, Florida, to uncover what George Joannides, the station chief, and operatives from the SIG and SAS knew about Oswald."
James Angleton died of lung cancer at Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital on 11th May, 1987, and was buried in his hometown of Boise, Idaho.
In 1993 Cleveland Cram completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature. This document was declassified in 2003. In the document Cram reveals that several senior CIA officers, including Clare Edward Petty, Angleton's assistant, were convinced that the former Chief of Counterintelligence, was a KGB agent.
In his book, Oswald and the CIA (2008), John Newman argued: "In my view, whoever Oswald's direct handler or handlers were, we must now seriously consider the possibility that Angleton was probably their general manager. No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald's files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president's assassination. Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure that a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence."
The day after my ordeal with Hoover, I lunched with James Angleton, the CIA Chief of Counterintelligence. We had met once before on my first trip to Washington in 1957, and I was struck then by his intensity. He had a razor-sharp mind and a determination to win the Cold War, not just to enjoy the fighting of it. Every nuance and complexity of his profession fascinated him, and he had a prodigious appetite for intrigue. I liked him, and he gave enough hints to encourage me into thinking we could do business together.
Angleton's star was fast rising in Washington in the late 1950s, particularly after he obtained the secret text of Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin from his contacts in Israel. He was one of the original wartime OSS recruits, and was trained in the arts of counterespionage by Kim Philby at the old MI6 office in Ryder Street. The young Yale intellectual struck up an instant friendship with his pipe-smoking English tutor, and the relationship deepened when Philby was posted to Washington as Station Chief in 1949. Ironically it was Philby who first detected the obsession with conspiracy in the fledgling CIA Chief of Counterintelligence. Angleton quickly acquired a reputation among British Intelligence officers for his frequent attempts to manipulate to his own advantage the mutual hostility of MIS and MI6.
In 1976, after his retirement, Angleton told an investigator that he knew which mob figures, from the New York and Chicago mafia families, had killed Sam Giancana. He also blamed the Church Committee for causing the death of Giancana and Rosselli, by demanding testimony concerning topics on which the mafia code of silence could not be broken.
After Kennedy was killed, the CIA launched a fantastic cover-up. The CIA literally erased any connection between Kennedy's assassination and the CIA... in fact, Counter intelligence Chief James Angleton of the CIA called Bill Sullivan of the FBI and rehearsed the questions and answers they would give to the Warren Commission investigators.
My father, Richard B. Sewall, taught English at Yale for forty years. In the 1960's, he was the first Master of Ezra Stiles College. He retired in 1976. In June of last year, ten months before his death last April at age 95, he flew from Boston to Chicago to spend three months with me...
My father had finished his meal. We had discussed family matters. I fell silent, wondering how I might resume the dialogue that had guided me over the past 35 years. His eyes, sunken and watery, were fixed on me. Age be damned, I told myself, were gonna talk, full throttle, just like we always have.
I read my father an excerpt from Joseph Trentos magisterial Secret History of the CIA. This extraordinary book is a history of American intelligence since World War II and, in many respects, of American foreign and domestic affairs as well. James Jesus Angleton 41, Yales second most famous spy (the first being Nathan Hale), is a central figure in this book. Appointed by CIA founder Allen Dulles (a Princeton alum), Angleton was the founding Director of CIA Counterintelligence. It was his job to protect the CIA from penetration by Soviet spies.
At Yale, Angleton had majored in English. My father recalled his name and said he had taught him. Angleton, I said, was a true aesthete. He edited a poetry magazine that he himself hand-delivered to subscribers at all hours of the night. On a visit to Harvard, he had heard a lecture by the English literary critic William Empson and taken it upon himself to bring Empson to lecture at Yale. Not bad for an undergraduate, we agreed.
In 1974, CIA Director William Colby dismissed Angleton for his failed attempt to expose a Soviet mole who, Angleton was convinced, had totally penetrated the CIA. Angletons obsessive witch hunt had destroyed the careers of dozens of wrongly accused agents and demoralized the entire agency.
But time confirmed his worst fears. As Trento and David Wise before him have shown, CIA counterintelligence and FBI counterintelligence as well were indeed totally compromised by Soviet agent Igor Orlov, a man with the soul of a sociopath yet supremely disciplined and loyal to Stalin. Angleton missed nabbing Orlov by a hairsbreadth. Under scrutiny for years - CIA and FBI agents openly visited Gallery Orlov, the quaint art and picture-framing store that Igor and his wife Eleanore managed in Alexandria, Virginia - Orlov managed to pass two polygraph tests and got away clean.
Within the confines of (Angletons) remarkable life were most of Americas secrets. You know how I got to be in charge of counterintelligence? I agreed not to polygraph or require detailed background checks on Allen Dulles and 60 of his closest friends... They were afraid that their own business dealings with Hitlers pals would come out. They were too arrogant to believe that the Russians would discover it all. . . . You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed. . . We played with lives as if we owned them. We gave false hope. We - I - so misjudged what happened."
I asked the dying man how it all went so wrong.
With no emotion in his voice, but with his hand trembling, Angleton replied: Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it... Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell. Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, I guess I will see them there soon.
Bradlee offered a completely different recollection of events. In Bradlee's book Angleton was described as an uninvited visitor to Mary's house and studio. Bradlee remembered that he and Tony were twice surprised to bump into an embarrassed Jim Angleton wearing gloves and carrying tools, breaking into Mary's house and studio, searching for the diary that Anne Truitt had sent them all to find. The first incident occurred the morning after the murder, according to Bradlee; he and Tony went to Mary's townhouse on Thirty-fourth Street, where they found Angleton already inside. "We found his presence odd, to say the least, but took him at his word," Bradlee wrote. The search party did not find the diary on that round. Later that day, as Bradlee remembered it, he and Tony decided to search Mary's studio in the alley behind their house. There again they stumbled upon Angleton in the process of picking a padlock. "He would have been red-faced if his face could have gotten red, and he left almost without a word," Bradlee wrote.
Bradlee and Tony then went inside the studio and eventually found the diary. The Bradlees read it later that night. According to the newsman, the diary was six by eight inches, with fifty or so pages, mostly filled with paint swatches and descriptions of how the colors were mixed. About ten of the pages contained "phrases" which described a love affair, and "after reading only a few phrases it was clear that her lover had been the President of the United States, although his name was never mentioned. But Tony Bradlee told a reporter for the National Enquirer it was more explicit and that "there were some JFK's in it." She also told the tabloid's Jay Gourley "it was nothing to be ashamed of."
In Cicely Angleton and Anne Truitt's account of the diary search, a group of Mary's friends, including Tony, the Angletons, "and one other friend of Mary Meyer's," together searched for Mary's diary. At some point, according to the two women, Tony Bradlee discovered the diary and "several papers bundled together" in Mary's studio. After she and Ben looked at the diary, Tony gave the bundle and the diary to Angleton and asked him to burn it all.
The Bradlees' reaction to their new knowledge of Mary's relationship with Kennedy was confusion and betrayal, Bradlee recalled. Yet Ben Bradlee was also admiring. "There was a boldness in pulling something like that off that I found fascinating," he wrote. Tony was more disturbed. "She felt she was Jack Kennedy's friend, at least as much as Mary was, and all of a sudden she had come to realize that there was this difference. She had been kept in the dark by her sister and her friend." They also recognized they held a political hot potato in their hands. "We both concluded this was in no sense a public document, despite the braying of the knee jerks about some public right to know," he wrote.
So they gave the diary and private papers to Jim Angleton. Angleton later told journalists Philip Nobile and Ron Rosenbaum that he went through the papers, catalogued them, and offered some letter writers the option of repossessing their letters. Angleton said he had read the diary, that two other people, whom he cryptically identified to the two journalists as "M" and "F," had read the diary, and that Mary's eldest son, Quentin, was also allowed to read it. Angleton then burned the loose papers that were not repossessed, mostly personal letters; Angleton later personally assured Ken Noland he had burned the artist's letters to Mary. But the counter-intelligence chief did not destroy the diary, and on this matter the women and Bradlee agree. Several years later he gave it back to Tony Bradlee. At that point, according to Anne Truitt and Cicely Angleton, the final erasure of Mary's private life was accomplished in almost ritual fashion by Tony Bradlee and Anne Truitt. According to the women, Tony burned the diary herself, "in the presence of Anne Truitt."
Some parts of the diary may have been preserved and passed around for a short period. Helen Stern used Mary's own writing about her art, taken from the papers left after her death, to create the brochure for a posthumous art show in 1967. Angleton believed some of her papers were still stored at Milford. Over the years, other people close to the family have suspected that Mary's diary was never really burned but is stored at the summer house. If that is so, the Pinchot-Pittman family has not admitted it.
In death, thanks to Anne Truitt's machinations and James Angleton's professional curiosity, Mary's private life came to seem a matter of national security. In later years, as his reputation grew, Angleton cast a long and sinister shadow over the story. It is very possible Angleton did keep a copy or notes on the diary somewhere. Like J. Edgar Hoover, Angleton had preserved his position at the pinnacle of national security by collecting secrets, not discarding them. Richard Helms claimed he never saw the diary. Other CIA men, including those instructed to go through Angleton's safes after he was forced to resign in 1976, also said the diary was not in his papers. Helms said that if Angleton had taken the diary to the CIA-and Helms would not confirm that he did-Angleton was justified because it might have embarrassed the president.
How could the KGB even dream of pulling off so convoluted a scheme? "Helms and I have talked about this many times," a high-ranking officer said. "I do not believe that any son of a bitch sitting in Moscow could have any conception that he could dispatch Golitsin here and disrupt the Allied intelligence services to the extent he did. Nobody could have expected Angleton to buy it, lock, stock, and barrel." And no one sitting in Moscow could have predicted with any certainty that Nosenko would be fingered as a plant and thereby build up Golitsin. Furthermore, it seemed incredible that the KGB would entrust to an agent whose mission was to be discovered as a fraud the message that the Soviet Union had not had a hand in Kennedy's death. Such a plot could only fuel suspicions of Soviet complicity. It was true that Angleton's counterintelligence staff, although convinced that Nosenko was lying, had concluded that there was no evidence to support the contention that Oswald was working for the Russians when he killed Kennedy. But surely the KGB could not control the workings of the counterintelligence staff with so fine a hand.
Could not - unless they already had a man inside the counterintelligence staff who could influence the handling of the case. Who controlled the counterintelligence staff? Who had directed the handling of both Golitsin and Nosenko, championing Golitsin, denigrating Nosenko, yet stopping short of the conclusion that the KGB had ordered Kennedy shot? Who but James Jesus Angleton?
Such a case had indeed been outlined. It had the attraction that all conspiracy theories possess. It provided a cause commensurate with the effect. "The effect of Golitsin was horrendous," a chief of the Soviet Bloc Division said, "the greatest disaster to Western security that happened in twenty years." Now, for the first time, the possibility arose that the entire fiasco was not a self-inflicted wound but the work of an infernal Soviet machination. Who better to cast as the villain than Angleton himself? Two men who had headed the Soviet Bloc Division at different times, neither aware that an effort had been made to develop a case against Angleton, would make the same point in almost identical terms. "If I were to pick a Soviet agent at the Agency, it would be Angleton for all the harm he's done," said one. "There is just as much reason to say Angleton could be the guy because he has done so much to be destructive," said the other. Popov, Goleniewski, Penkovsky, Golitsin, Nosenko. Everything that had gone wrong could plausibly be traced to Angleton. Complexity became simplicity. With Angleton as the mole, the KGB could dispatch any number of false defectors confident that they would be handled according to plan. "He is the guy who is perfectly placed," one of the Soviet Bloc chiefs said. "He's even better to have than the Director." The Soviets had penetrated the counterintelligence operations of the British with Kim Philby and of the Germans with Heinz Felfe. Why not the CIA with Angleton?
In 1975, after twenty-six years in the agency, Cram had retired. In the fall of 1976, he was attending a cocktail party in Washington given by Harry Brandes, the representative of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian security service. Theodore G. Shackley, the assistant DDO, called over Kalaris, and the two CIA men cornered Cram.
"Would you like to come back to work?" he was asked. The agency, Cram was told, wanted a study done of Angleton's reign, from 1954 to 1974. "Find out what in hell happened," Cram was told. "What were these guys doing?"
Cram took the assignment. For the duration, he moved into a huge vault down the hall from what had been Angleton's office. It was a library like room with a door that had to be opened by a combination lock. There many of the materials he needed were at hand-the vault, for example, contained thirty-nine volumes on Philby alone, all the Golitsin "serials," as Angleton had called the leads provided by his prize defector, and all of the Nosenko files.
But even this secure vault had not been Angleton's sanctum sanctorum. Inside the vault was another smaller vault, secured by pushbutton locks, which contained the really secret stuff, on George Blake, Penkovsky, and other spy cases deemed too secret for the outer vault.
Kalaris thought Cram's study would be a one-year assignment. When Cram finally finished it in 1981, six years later, he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults.
But some of its subject matter can be described. Cram obviously spent a substantial amount of time reviewing the history of the mole hunt that pervaded the era he studied. In doing so, he had considerable difficulty. The names of the mole suspects were considered so secret that their files were kept in locked safes in yet another vault directly across from Angleton's (then Kalaris's) office.
Even though Cram had carte blanche to conduct his study, he had trouble at first gaining access to this most sensitive material. In part, he was hampered as well by the chaotic and often mysterious nature of Angleton's files.
Eventually, Cram got access to the vaulted files on individuals kept in the locked safes. But among Kalaris and his staff, Cram detected an edginess that Angleton, in Elba, might somehow return and wreak vengeance on those who had dared to violate his files by reading them.
Epstein, Edward J. Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989 (335 pages).
Epstein published Deception in mid-1989, just as the Soviet Union was on the verge of its demise in the autumn of 1991. The concurrent dismantling of the KGB, its major intelligence arm, led almost overnight to the disappearance of what was once a small industry in the West employing dozens of self-appointed experts in universities and think tanks who were devoted to the study of Soviet deception, disinformation, and subversion. Their endeavors, and Epstein's book, now have the smell of attic dust.
Like its predecessor Legend, Deception has two parts. The first 105 pages explain Angleton's theories, as developed by Epstein, largely from lengthy interviews with Anatole Golitsyn. The remainder of the book describes various forms of deception. One chapter is devoted to another Soviet defector, Vitali Yurchenko, who Epstein believes is a KGB provocateur similar to Nosenko. The conclusion is a long chapter on glasnost, which Epstein dismisses as simply another massive KGB deception.
The most arresting information in the book is the author's confession regarding his sources for this book and Legend. After Angleton died on 11 May 1987, Epstein apparently felt free to admit that the former chief of CIA counterintelligence had been his major source since 1976 when they first met.
Most astute observers had concluded that Angleton was leaking classified information to Epstein and others, but nothing was officially done to caution the discredited cold warrior. On the other hand, when CIA found that Clare E. Petty had been leaking classified material to the press, he received an official warning letter. Even in forced retirement, Angleton enjoyed protected and special status, as he had when he was at the Agency.
In Part One, Epstein recites again, as in Legend, the Angleton belief in the KGB program of deception and penetration, which the former CI Staff chief had heard about from Golitsyn and then embellished. One of Golitsyn's major claims, made almost immediately after his defection, was that the KGB would soon send another defector to "mutilate" Golitsyn's leads, as Angleton invariably put it. Thus when Nosenko defected to the CIA in 1964, Angleton viewed him as the predicted plant. This in turn ensured that Golitsyn would maintain his primacy as the CI Staff's resident expert on the subject.
When Nosenko did not confess that he was a false defector, CIA incarcerated him for three years under severe conditions. Epstein blames this action entirely on the management of the Soviet Division in CIA's Directorate of Operations, and he portrays Angleton as agonizing helplessly on the sidelines. This is patently absurd. Angleton was aware of all the legal considerations associated with such action and of the construction of the prison quarters but never raised an objection. If he had, as Epstein claims he did, one word from him to Director Richard Helms would have prevented Nosenko's detainment.
This is but one of many errors and misinterpretations in the book. Like Legend, it is propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest. The errors are too many to document here, but one more example will give the flavor. On page 85, Epstein cites Golitsyn's assertion that Soviet intelligence was divided into an "outer" and an "inner" KGB to support the deception program. Nothing, however, can be found in any of Golitsyn's debriefings that remotely supports this. Moreover, no other Soviet source or defector has ever reported the existence of two KGBs, including the most senior defector of recent times, Oleg Gordievsky.
Golitsyn probably developed this fiction after visiting England, when other evidence indicates he began to embroider and fabricate. One exasperated senior FBI officer wrote to Director J. Edgar Hoover: "Golitsyn is not above fabricating to support his theories." Epstein, who makes considerable pretensions to scholarship, should have been more conscientious in checking such stories with more responsible sources before labeling them as fact.
In summary, this is one of many bad books inspired by Angleton after his dismissal that have little basis in fact. An interview with Epstein in Vanity Fair magazine in May 1989 suggests he too has had second thoughts about Angleton and even about Golitsyn, his pet defector. Epstein admitted that Golitsyn shaped Angleton's views and possibly was a liar. The interview ended with the remark: "Actually, I don't know whether to believe Angleton at all!"
Harvey listened to my Cyprus experiences, he was struck by the parallel between the two problems: both small islands with a guerrilla force led by a charismatic leader. He was particularly struck by my view that without Grivas, EOKA would have collapsed.
"What would the Brits do in Cuba?" he asked.
I was a shade anxious about being drawn into the Cuban business. Hollis and I had discussed it before I came to Washington, and he made no secret of his view that the CIA were blundering in the Caribbean. It was a subject, he felt, to steer clear of if at all possible. I was worried that if I made suggestions to Angleton and Harvey, I would soon find them being quoted around Washington by the CIA as the considered British view of things. It would not take long for word of that to filter back to Leconfield House, so I made it clear to them that I was talking off the record.
I said that we would try to develop whatever assets we had down there-alternative political leaders, that kind of thing.
"We've done all that," said Harvey impatiently, "but they're all in Florida. Since the Bay of Pigs, we've lost virtually everything we had inside . . ."
Harvey began to fish to see if I knew whether we had anything in the area, in view of the British colonial presence in the Caribbean.
"I doubt it," I told him, "the word in London is steer clear of Cuba. Six might have something, but you'd have to check with them." "How would you handle Castro?" asked Angleton. "We'd isolate him, turn the people against him ..."
"Would you hit him?" interrupted Harvey.
I paused to fold my napkin. Waiters glided silently from table to table. I realized now why Harvey needed to know I could be trusted.
"We'd certainly have that capability," I replied, "but I doubt we would use it nowadays."
"We're not in it anymore, Bill. We got out a couple of years ago, after Suez."
At the beginning of the Suez Crisis, M16 developed a plan, through the London Station, to assassinate Nasser using nerve gas. Eden initially gave his approval to the operation, but later rescinded it when he got agreement from the French and Israelis to engage in joint military action. When this course failed, and he was forced to withdraw, Eden reactivated the assassination option a second time. By this time virtually all MI6 assets in Egypt had been rounded up by Nasser, and a new operation, using renegade Egyptian officers, was drawn up, but it failed lamentably, principally because the cache of weapons which had been hidden on the outskirts of Cairo was found to be defective.
"Were you involved?" Harvey asked.
"Only peripherally," I answered truthfully, "on the technical side."
I explained that I was consulted about the plan by John Henry and Peter Dixon, the two M16 Technical Services officers from the London Station responsible for drawing it up. Dixon, Henry, and I all attended joint M15/MI6 meetings to discuss technical research for the intelligence services at Porton Down, the government's chemical and biological Weapons Research Establishment. The whole area of chemical research was an active field in the 1950s. I was cooperating with M16 in a joint program to investigate how far the hallucinatory drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) could be used in interrogations, and extensive trials took place at Porton. I even volunteered as guinea pig on one occasion. Both M15 and M16 also wanted to know a lot more about the advanced poisons then being developed at Porton, though for different reasons. I wanted the antidotes, in case the Russians used a poison on a defector in Britain, while M16 wanted to use the poisons for operations abroad.
Henry and Dixon both discussed with me the use of poisons against Nasser, and asked my advice. Nerve gas obviously presented the best possibility, since it was easily administered. They told me that the London Station had an agent in Egypt with limited access to one of Nasser's headquarters. Their plan was to place canisters of nerve gas inside the ventilation system, but I pointed out that this would require large quantities of the gas, and would result in massive loss of life among Nasser's staff. It was the usual M16 operation-hopelessly unrealistic and it did not remotely surprise me when Henry told me later that Eden had backed away from the operation. The chances of its remaining undeniable were even slimmer than they had been with Buster Crabbe.
Harvey and Angleton questioned me closely about every part of the Suez Operation.
"We're developing a new capability in the Company to handle these kinds of problems," explained Harvey, "and we're in the market for the requisite expertise."
Whenever Harvey became serious, his voice dropped to a low monotone, and his vocabulary lapsed into the kind of strangled bureaucratic syntax beloved of Washington officials. He explained ponderously that they needed deniable personnel, and improved technical facilities-in Harvey jargon, "delivery mechanisms." They were especially interested in the SAS. Harvey knew that the SAS operated up on the Soviet border in the 1950s tracking Russian rocket signals with mobile receivers before the satellites took over, and that they were under orders not to be caught, even if this meant fighting their way out of trouble.
"They don't freelance, Bill," I told him. "You could try to pick them up retired, but you'd have to see Six about that."
Harvey looked irritated, as if I were being deliberately unhelpful. "Have you thought of approaching Stephenson?" I asked. "A lot of the old-timers say he ran this kind of thing in New York during the war. Used some Italian, apparently, when there was no other way of sorting a German shipping spy. Probably the Mafia, for all I know ..."
Angleton scribbled in his notebook, and looked up impassively. "The French!" I said brightly. "Have you tried them? It's more their type of thing, you know, Algiers, and so on."
Another scribble in the notebook.
"What about technically - did you have any special equipment?" asked Harvey.
I told him that after the gas canisters plan fell through, M16 looked at some new weapons. On one occasion I went down to Porton to see a demonstration of a cigarette packet which had been modified by the Explosives Research and Development Establishment to fire a dart tipped with poison.
It is now apparent that the World War III pretext for a national security cover-up was built into the fabric of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy. The plot required that Oswald be maneuvered into place in Mexico City and his activities there carefully monitored, controlled, and, if necessary, embellished and choreographed. the plot required that, prior to 22 November, Oswald's profile at CIA HQS and the Mexico station be lowered; his 201 file had to be manipulated and restricted from incoming traffic on his Cuban activities. The plot required that, when the story from Mexico City arrived at HQS, its significance would not be understood by those responsible for reacting to it. Finally, the plot required that, on 22 November, Oswald's CIA files would establish his connection to Castro and the Kremlin.
The person who designed this plot had to have access to all of the information on Oswald at CIA HQS. The person who designed this plot had to have the authority to alter how information on Oswald was kept at CIA HQS. The person who designed this plot had the authority to alter how information on Oswald was kept at CIA HQS. The person who designed this plot had to have access to project TUMBLEWEED, the sensitive joint agency operation against the KGB assassin, Valery Kosikov. The person who designed this plot had the authority to instigate a counterintelligence operation in the Cuban affairs staff (SAS) at CIA HQS. In my view, there is only one person whose hands fit into these gloves: James Jesus Angleton, Chief of CIA's Counterintelligence Staff.
Angleton and his molehunters had always held Oswald's files very close to the vest - from the time of the young Marine's defection in October 1959 and his offer to provide classified radar information to the Soviets. That offer had lit up the counterintelligence circuits in Washington, D.C. like a Christmas tree. Angleton was the only person who knew - except for perhaps one of his direct subordinates - both the Cuban and Soviet parts of Oswald's story. He was the only one in the Counterintelligence Staff with enough authority to instigate a counterintelligence operation in the SAS against the FPCC.
In my view, whoever Oswald's direct handler or handlers were, we must now seriously consider the possibility that Angleton was probably their general manager. No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald's files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president's assassination. Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure that a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence.