James Jesus Angleton was born in Boise, Idaho, on 9th December, 1917. His father, Hugh Angleton, was a former cavalry officer who met his wife, a seventeen-year-old Mexican woman, Carmen Mercedes Moreno, while serving in Mexico, under General John J. Pershing. (1)
Hugh Angleton was an executive of the National Cash Register Company. (2) Thomas McCoy, a family friend, described him as "a six-foot-four, raw-boned, red-faced farm boy; a broad super-friendly guy, who was the outgoing salesman type and a born trader. He and his son were as different as one can imagine." (3)
Carmen Mercedes Moreno was a devout Catholic who insisted on giving him the name of Jesus. "As he grew older he became proud of his Mexican background - but, at the beginning, no. He never liked to use his middle name... Who likes to go around with a middle name of Jesus?" (4)
In 1931 Hugh Angleton moved his family to Milan, for business reasons. He was very impressed with Benito Mussolini and his friend, Max Corvo, commented "Hugh Angleton... was ultra-conservative, a sympathizer with Fascist officials. He was certainly not unfriendly with the Fascists." (5) In 1933 Angleton was sent to Malvern College. (6) "He learned all about snobbery, prejudice, and school beatings. Before he left three years later he had served as a prefect, a corporal in the Officers' Training Corps, and joined the Old Malvern Society. He seems to have become more English than the English, a useful ruse perhaps for Malvern's lone half-Mexican Yank." (7) Angleton later recalled: "I was brought up in England in one of my formative years and I must confess that I learned, at least I was disciplined to learn, certain features of life, and what I regarded as duty." (8)
James Jesus Angleton entered Yale University in 1937: "Angleton had already developed a distinctive personal style. He spoke with a slight English accent (probably not an affection after three years in the country), and was tall, athletic, bright, and handsome... By conventional standards he was a poor student, frequently missing class, excelling only in those subjects that interested him, and occasionally failing those that didn't." (9) A fellow student, Reed Whittemore, later commented: "All through Yale, Jim was backward at completing school papers... It may be that he was just lazy - or maybe he had a psychological problem. He had the class record for incompletes, but he could invariably whitewash over these missing grades because he had a favorable presence with the teachers, who for the most part liked him a lot." (10)
Angleton and Whittemore edited a quarterly of original poetry, called Furioso, financed mostly by subscriptions raised by Whittemore's aunt. Angleton and Whittemore were both promising poets and other contributors included Archibald MacLeish, Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings and William Carlos Williams. Whittemore later commented: "When we were short of money, which was most of the tune, we paid off our poets with fine Italian cravats from the stock that the Angleton haberdasher in Italy kept replenishing." (11)
In the autumn of 1941 Angleton moved on to Harvard Law School. Soon afterwards he met Cicely Harriet d’Autremont: "There was nothing in the room except a large reproduction of El Greco's View of Toledo. It showed a huge unearthly green sky. Jim was standing underneath the picture. If anything went together, it was him and the picture. I fell madly in love at first sight. I'd never met anyone like him in my life. He was so charismatic. It was as if the lightning in the picture had suddenly struck me. He had an El Greco face. It was extraordinary." (12) They became engaged in April 1943, a few weeks after Angleton had been drafted into the United States Army. Hugh Angleton, disapproved of the relationship but the wedding took place quietly three months later on 17th July, in Battle Creek, Michigan. (13)
James Hugh Angleton became a senior figure in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and was on the staff of Colonel William Donovan. It had been created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt soon after the outbreak of the Second World War. The OSS replaced the former American intelligence system, Office of the Coordinator of Information (OCI) that was considered to be ineffective. The OSS had responsibility for collecting and analyzing information about countries at war with the United States. It also helped to organize guerrilla fighting, sabotage and espionage.
In August 1944, Lieutenant Colonel James Hugh Angleton and Norman Holmes Pearson, Angleton's former English professor at Yale University, contacted James R. Murphy, the head of the new X-2 CI (Counter Intelligence) branch of the OSS. On 25th September, 1943, Murphy issued a memo: "I would greatly appreciate it if you could get provisional security for Corporal James Angleton in order that he may commence OSS school on Monday. His father is with this branch... In addition young Angleton is very well known to Norman Pearson, who recommended him to me." (14)
During his training James Jesus Angleton met Richard Helms, the former national advertising manager of the Indianapolis Times, who had joined the OSS in August 1943. In his autobiography, A Look Over My Shoulder (2003) he commented: "As a young man, Jim was bone thin, gaunt, and aggressively intellectual in aspect. His not entirely coincidental resemblance to T. S. Eliot was intensified by a European wardrobe, studious manner, heavy glasses, and lifelong interest in poetry." (15)
On 28th December, 1943, James Jesus Angleton, arrived in London to work for the Italian section of X-2 C.I. Soon after arriving in England he met Kim Philby, who was head of MI6's Iberian section. It was the start of a long friendship: "Once I met Philby, the world of intelligence that had once interested me consumed me. He had taken on the Nazis and Fascists head-on and penetrated their operations in Spain and Germany. His sophistication and experience appealed to us... Kim taught me a great deal." (16) Phillip Knightley, the author of Philby: KGB Masterspy (1988), has pointed out: "Philby was one of Angleton's instructors, his prime tutor in counter-intelligence; Angleton came to look upon him as an elder-brother figure." (17)
Angleton impressed his senior officers and within six months he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and was appointed as chief of the Italian Desk for the European Theater of Operations. A colleague, John Raymond Baine, later remembered him as a well-respected officer: "His voice and manner were always on the quiet side. He never laughed loudly or acted in a boisterous way. Both his talk and his laughter were always soft. He was captivating, and had the ability to dominate a conversation without ever lifting his voice." (18)
In October 1944 Angleton was transferred to Rome as commanding officer of Special Counter-Intelligence Unit Z. In March 1945, he was promoted to first lieutenant and became head of X-2 for the whole of Italy. At the age of twenty-seven, he was the youngest X-2 Branch chief in all of OSS. According to Charles J.V. Murphy: "His (Angleton) unit uncovered some of the secret correspondence between Hitler and Mussolini that was later introduced into the Nuremberg trials as proof of their conspiracy." (19) Raymond Rocca was his senior staff officer. The two men were to remain close friends for the next thirty years. (20)
After the war Angleton and Rocca remained in Italy. They worked closely "with Italian counterintelligence to uncover reams of data about Soviet operations". (21) Angleton's biographer, Tom Mangold, has pointed out: "As Italian fascism collapsed and the German retreat quickened, Angleton found himself targeting subtle new enemies, including lingering Fascists and, more importantly for him, nascent Communist networks. The young Counterintelligence chief was now in his element: recently declassified documents show Angleton at the zenith of his wartime career... His unit's top secret intelligence sources... burgled their way across the open city with seeming impunity." (22)
Cicely Angleton gave birth to a son, James Charles, in August, 1944. James Jesus Angleton did not return to the United States until November 1945. Tom Mangold has claimed that: "It had now been nearly two years since he left for Europe. The long-awaited reunion, during a two-day stopover in New York, was a total disaster. The couple had become casualties of the protracted separation." (23)
Cicely claimed: "We just didn't know each other anymore. Jim was wishing we were not married, but he was too nice to say it. He thought the situation was hopeless. He was all caught up in his career. We had both changed. He was typical of a war marriage. It was exactly what his father had warned us about in 1943... Jim no longer cared about our relationship, he just wanted to get back to Italy - back to the life he knew and loved. He didn't want a family. The marriage seemed to be annihilated then and there." (24) Cicely moved back to Tucson to live with her family. A few months later initiated divorce proceedings against her husband on grounds of desertion. However, Angleton did not want a divorce and he refused to sign the necessary documents.
Angleton now returned to Italy. It is claimed that William Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services asked Angleton to "help the provisional Italian government beat off a threatened Communist takeover". Angleton discovered documents to show that communist parties in Europe were following instructions from the Soviet Union. Angleton was also able to forecast the break-up of the relationship between Joseph Stalin and Josip Tito. "He (James Jesus Angleton) and his principal associate for all of his career, Raymond Rocca... ferreted out the exchange of correspondence between Stalin and Tito that foreshadowed the 1948 breach between them." (25)
In December 1947 Angleton returned to the United States. He met up with his wife, Cicely Angleton, and they agreed to make another effort to save their marriage. "He had calmed down a little, we got back together, we rediscovered each other. But he was a nervous wreck, nervous about family responsibilities, and his health had suffered badly. He was eager to make a go of it and I needed to be with him." (26) They lived in Tucson until they moved to Washington in June 1948 to begin his career with the recently established Central Intelligence Agency.
Angleton's first post was as a senior advisor to Frank Wisner, the director of the Office of Special Operations (OSO). The OSO had responsibility for espionage and counter-espionage. (27) Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world". Angleton's job was to oversee special studies involving all countries where the CIA was operating. He later explained that his experiences in Europe meant that he was "sharply aware of the Soviet long-term objectives in subversion." (28)
In January 1949 James Jesus Angleton had to travel to Europe on CIA business. He obviously believed that the mission was dangerous as he made out a three-page "Last Will and Testament". His biographer, Tom Mangold, has argued that it provides "a rare insight into the private man". (29) Angleton left most of his "real and personal property" to his wife. He bequeathed his precious fishing tackle to his young son, James Charles Angleton, "in order that he might have some small inclination to follow this sport - whether it will in fact be a satisfaction to him is material since no two humans need to seek the same retreat." Angleton also left small mementos to Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Raymond Rocca and Norman Holmes Pearson. (30)
James and Cicely Angleton associated with a group of people who lived in Georgetown. They were mainly journalists, CIA officers and government officials. This included Mary Pinchot Meyer, Cord Meyer, Anne Truitt, James Truitt, Frank Wisner, Thomas Braden, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Wistar Janney, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Katharine Graham, David Bruce, Ben Bradlee, Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen and Paul Nitze.
Nina Burleigh, the author of A Very Private Woman (1998) has pointed out: "The younger families - the Meyers, Janneys, Truitts, Pittmans, Lanahans, and Angletons - spent a great deal of leisure time together. There were evening get-togethers, and sometimes the families took weekend camping trips to nearby beaches or mountains when husbands could get away... On Saturday mornings in the fall, the adults got together and played touch football in a park north of Georgetown while their children biked around the sidelines, then all retired to someone's house for lunch and drinks... The Janneys had a pool, and on hot summer nights the parties were aloud, drunken affairs, filled with laughter, dancing, and the sound of breaking glass and people being pushed into the pool." (31) Ben Bradlee recalls in his autobiography, The Good Life (1995) that he was also part of the same group. "Socially our crowd consisted of young couples, around thirty years old, with young kids, being raised without help by their mothers, and without many financial resources." (32)
In 1949 Angleton's old friend, Kim Philby, became MI6's representative in Washington, as the top British Secret Service officer working in liaison with the CIA and FBI. He also handled secret communications between the British prime minister, Clement Attlee and President Harry S. Truman. According to Ray Cline, it had been left to the Americans to select their preferred candidate and it was James Jesus Angleton who was the main person advocating appointing Philby. (33) Philby wrote in My Secret War (1968): "At one stroke, it would take me right back into the middle of intelligence policy making and it would give me a close-up view of the American intelligence organisations." (34)
Philby's home in Nebraska Avenue became a gathering place for Washington's intelligence elite. This included James Jesus Angleton, Walter Bedell Smith (Director of the CIA), Allen Dulles (Deputy Director of the CIA), Frank Wisner (head of the Office of Policy Coordination), William K. Harvey (CIA counter-intelligence) and Robert Lamphere (FBI Soviet Section). Philby made a point of dropping in on the offices of American intelligence officers in the late afternoon, knowing that his hosts would sooner or later "suggest drifting out to a friendly bar for a further round of shop talk." (35) As one CIA officer pointed out: "Intelligence officers talk trade among themselves all the time... Philby was privy to a hell of a lot beyond what he should have known." (36)
Philby was especially close to Angleton. Philby later explained they had lunch at Harvey's Restaurant every week: "We formed the habit of lunching once a week at Harvey's where he demonstrated regularly that overwork was not his only vice. He was one of the thinnest men I have ever met, and one of the biggest eaters. Lucky Jim! After a year of keeping up with Angleton, I took the advice of an elderly lady friend and went on a diet, dropping from thirteen stone to about eleven in three months. Our close association was, I am sure, inspired by genuine friendliness on both sides. But we both had ulterior motives. Angleton wanted to place the burden of exchanges between CIA and SIS on the CIA office in London - which was about ten times as big as mine. By doing so, he could exert the maximum pressure on SIS's headquarters while minimizing SIS intrusions into his own. As an exercise in nationalism, that was fair enough. By cultivating me to the full, he could better keep me under wraps. For my part, I was more than content to string him along. The greater the trust between us overtly, the less he would suspect covert action. Who gained most from this complex game I cannot say. But I had one big advantage. I knew what he was doing for CIA and he knew what I was doing for SIS. But the real nature of my interest was something he did not know. (37)
In 1950 Guy Burgess was appointed the first secretary at the British embassy in Washington. Kim Philby suggested to Aileen Philby that Burgess should live in the basement of their house. Nicholas Elliott explained that Aileen was completely opposed to the idea. "Knowing the trouble that would inevitably ensue - and remembering Burgess's drunken and homosexual orgies when he had stayed with them in Instanbul - Aileen resisted this move, but bowed in the end (and as usual) to Philby's wishes... The inevitable drunken scenes and disorder ensued and tested the marriage to its limits." (38)
Meredith Gardner and his code-breaking team at Arlington Hall discovered that a Soviet spy with the codename of Homer was found on a number of messages from the KGB station at the Soviet consulate-general in New York City to Moscow Centre. The cryptanalysts discovered that the spy had been in Washington since 1944. The FBI concluded that it could be one of 6,000 people. At first they concentrated their efforts on non-diplomatic employees of the embassy. In April 1951, the Venona decoders found the vital clue in one of the messages. Homer had had regular contacts with his Soviet control in New York, using his pregnant wife as an excuse. This information enabled them to identify the spy as Donald Maclean, the first secretary at the Washington embassy during the Second World War. (39)
Kim Philby was told of the breakthrough. Philby took the news calmly as there was no real evidence, as yet, to connect him directly with Maclean, and the two men had not met for several years. MI5 decided not to arrest Maclean straight away. The Venona material was too secret to be used in court and so it was decided to keep Maclean under surveillance in the hope of gathering further evidence, for example, catching him in direct contact with his Soviet controller. Philby relayed the news to Moscow and demanded that Maclean be extracted from the UK before he was interrogated and compromised the entire British spy network.
Philby made the decision to use Guy Burgess to warn Maclean that he must flee to Moscow. The two men dined in a Chinese restaurant in downtown Washington, selected because it had individual booths with piped music, to prevent any eavesdroppers. Burgess said he would return to London in order to receive details of the escape plan. Before he left Philby made Burgess promise he would not flee with Maclean to Moscow: "Don't go with him when he goes. If you do, that'll be the end of me. Swear that you won't." Philby was aware that if Burgess went with Maclean, he would be suspected as a member of the network. (40)
Burgess arrived back in England on 7th May 1951, and immediately contacted Anthony Blunt, who got a message to Yuri Modin, the Soviet controller of the Philby network. Blunt told Modin: "There's serious trouble, Guy Burgess has just arrived back in London. Homer's about to be arrested... It's only a question of days now, maybe hours... Donald's now in such a state that I'm convinced he'll break down the moment they arrest him." (41)
After receiving instructions from his superiors, Modin arranged for Maclean to escape to the Soviet Union. Modin was informed that Maclean would be arrested on 28th May. The plan was for Maclean to be interviewed by the Foreign Secretary, Herbert Morrison. "It has been assumed that Morrison held a meeting and that someone present at that meeting tipped off Burgess." (42) Another possibility is that a senior figure in MI5 was a Soviet spy, and he told Modin of the plan to arrest Maclean. This is the view of Peter Wright who suspects it was Roger Hollis who provided Modin with the information. (43)
On 25th May 1951, Burgess appeared at the Maclean's home in Tatsfield with a rented car, packed bags and two round-trip tickets booked in false names for the Falaise, a pleasure boat leaving that night for St Malo in France. Modin had insisted that Burgess must accompany Maclean. He later explained: "The Centre had concluded that we had not one, but two burnt-out agents on our hands on our hands. Burgess had lost most of his former value to us... Even if he retained his job, he could never again feed intelligence to the KGB as he had done before. He was finished." (44)
Maclean and Burgess took a train to Paris, and then another train to Berne in Switzerland. They then picked up fake passports in false names from the Soviet embassy. They then took another train to Zurich, where they boarded a plan bound for Stockholm, with a stop-over in Prague. They left the airport and now safely behind the Iron Curtain, they were taken by car to Moscow. (45) On his arrival in the Soviet Union Maclean issued a statement: "I am haunted and burdened by what I know of official secrets, especially by the content of high-level Anglo-American conversations. The British Government, whom I have served, have betrayed the realm to Americans ... I wish to enable my beloved country to escape from the snare which faithless politicians have set ... I have decided that I can discharge my duty to my country only through prompt disclosure of this material to Stalin." (46)
When Donald Maclean defected in 1951 Philby became the chief suspect as the man who had tipped him off that he was being investigated. The main evidence against him was his friendship with Guy Burgess, who had gone with Maclean to Moscow. Philby was recalled to London. CIA chief, Walter Bedell Smith ordered any officers with knowledge of Philby and Burgess to submit reports on the men. William K. Harvey replied that after studying all the evidence he was convinced that "Philby was a Soviet spy". (47)
James Jesus Angleton reacted in a completely different way. In Angleton's estimation, Philby was no traitor, but an honest and brilliant man who had been cruelly duped by Burgess. According to Tom Mangold, "Angleton... remained convinced that his British friend would be cleared of suspicion" and warned Bedell Smith that if the CIA started making unsubstantiated charges of treachery against a senior MI6 officer this would seriously damage Anglo-American relations, since Philby was "held in high esteem" in London. (48)
In early 1951 James Jesus Angleton was appointed head of the CIA's newly created Special Operations Group. In this post Angleton served as the CIA's exclusive liaison with Israeli intelligence. "One might have expected his unit to be part of the agency's Middle East Division. But it stayed under Angleton's tight, zealous command for the next twenty years - to the utter fury of the division's separate Arab desks. Angleton's ties with the Israelis gave him considerable prestige within the CIA and later added significantly to his expanding counter-intelligence empire." (49)
Allen Dulles, the new director of the CIA, commissioned Lieutenant General James Doolittle to report on the organization's CIA 's covert intelligence-collecting capabilities. Doolittle concluded that the CIA was losing the spy wars with the KGB. Doolittle advised "the intensification of the CIA's counter-intelligence efforts to prevent or detect and eliminate penetrations of CIA". (50) In December, 1954, Dulles' response to the report was to appoint Angleton to become first chief of the CIA's newly created Counter-Intelligence Staff.
Another CIA senior officer, Tom Braden, recalls that Angleton often reported privately to Dulles: "Jim came in and out of Dulles's office a lot. He always came alone and had this aura of secrecy about him, something that made him stand out-even among other secretive CIA officers. In those days, there was a general CIA camaraderie, but Jim made himself exempt from this. He was a loner who worked alone." Braden claims that Dulles gave Angleton permission to secretly bug important Washington dinner parties. "One time, Jim secretly bugged the house of the wife of a very senior Treasury Department official, who entertained important foreign guests and diplomatic corps people. Dulles got a big kick from reading Jim's report. Dulles was told about the bugging, but had no objection." (51)
Angleton spent his time protecting the security of CIA operations through research and careful analysis of incoming information. "The task meant that considerable amounts of paper must be acquired, read, digested, filed, and refiled. Ironically, although Angleton had helped develop the CIA's central registry (where names, reports, and cases were indexed), his staff had one of the worst records of any CIA component for contributing data into the main system after 1955. This was because of Angleton's obsession with secrecy and his inability to trust the security of the CIA's main filing system. He believed there was nothing to prevent someone from stealing from the CIA's storehouse of secrets. Keeping the best files to himself also helped consolidate his bureaucratic power." (52)
The only man Angleton shared this information with was Raymond Rocca, his head of the staff's new Research and Analysis Department. "Rocca's friends say he was well suited for the job. He had an excellent memory, and was considered a plodding, thorough scholar who usually provided Angleton with more detail than was needed.... Rocca reviewed the past with the devotion of an archeologist rediscovering an ancient tomb. Nearly every old Soviet intelligence case, dating back to the Cheka (the first Bolshevik secret police), was dutifully stored in the historical archives, and analyzed repeatedly... Critics of Angleton's methodology say that both he and Rocca wasted enormous quantities of time studying the gospels of prewar Soviet intelligence operations at the very moment that the KGB had shifted the style and emphasis of its operations against the West." (53)
During the 20th Party Congress in February, 1956, Nikita Khrushchev launched an attack on the rule of Joseph Stalin. He argued: " Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient co-operation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed this concept or tried to prove his viewpoint, and the correctness of his position, was doomed to removal from the leading collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation. This was especially true during the period following the 17th Party Congress, when many prominent Party leaders and rank-and-file Party workers, honest and dedicated to the cause of communism, fell victim to Stalin's despotism."
James Jesus Angleton leaked doctored versions of the speech to numerous foreign government in a disinformation campaign. Charles J.V. Murphy has argued: "Many of Angleton's covert operations after he joined the CIA remain secret. The only people who know what he really did are his superiors and those who worked with him. One exploit that can be told came early in 1956. In collaboration with a friendly intelligence service, his unit acquired a copy of Nikita Khrushchev's famed denunciation of Stalin to the 20th Party Congress." (54)
In December 1961, Anatoli Golitsyn, a member of staff at the Soviet embassy in Helsinki, Finland, walked into the American embassy and asked for political asylum. (55) Golitsyn was immediately flown to the United States and lodged in a safe house called Ashford Farm near Washington. CIA officers found him as being "unpleasant and egotistical". They also commented that as a major in the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, he was "almost too fortunate and too high up to have a reason to defect". Golitsyn demanded that he be interviewed by James Jesus Angleton. He insisted that no one else in the CIA was smart enough or knew enough to question him. Attorney General Robert Kennedy went to see Golitsyn and was told that the CIA was deliberately keeping him away from Angleton. He promised to take up the case with President John F. Kennedy. (56)
As a result of President Kennedy's intervention, Golitsyn was interviewed by Angleton. A fellow officer, Edward Perry, later recalled: "With the single exception of Golitsyn, Angleton was inclined to assume that any defector or operational asset in place was controlled by the KGB." Angleton and his staff began debriefing Golitsyn. He told Angleton: "Your CIA has been the subject of continuous penetration... A contact agent who served in Germany was the major recruiter. His code name was SASHA. He served in Berlin... He was responsible for many agents being taken by the KGB." (57) In these interviews Golitsyn 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.
James Jesus Angleton later told a Senate Committee: "Golitsyn possesses an unusual gift for the analytical. His mind without question is one of the finest of an analytical bent... and he is a trained historian by background. It is most difficult to dispute with him an historical date or event, whether it pertains to the Mamelukes or Byzantine or whatever it may be. He is a true scholar. Therefore, he is very precise in terms of what he states to be fact, and he separates the fact from speculation although he indulges in many avenues and so on." (58)
Peter Wright, the author of Spycatcher (1987) has argued that Angleton believed Golitsyn: "A string of senior CIA officers, most notably Dave Murphy, the head of the Soviet Division, unfairly fell under suspicion, their careers ruined. In the end, the situation became so bad, with so many different officers under suspicion as a result of Golitsyn's leads, that the CIA decided the only way of purging the doubt was to disband the Soviet Division, and start again with a completely new complement of officers. It was obviously a way out of the maze, but it could never justify the damage to the morale in the Agency as a whole." (59)
On 23rd January, 1963, Kim Philby fled to Moscow. Nicholas Elliott later claimed that he and MI6 were surprised by the defection. "It just didn't dawn on us." (60) Ben Macintyre, the author of A Spy Among Friends (2014) argues: "This defies belief. Burgess and Maclean had both defected... Philby knew he now faced sustained interrogation, over a long period, at the hands of Peter Lunn, a man he found unsympathetic. Elliott had made it quite clear that if he failed to cooperate fully, the immunity deal was off and the confession he had already signed would be used against him... There is another, very different way to read Elliott's actions. The prospect of prosecuting Philby in Britain was anathema to the intelligence services; another trial, so soon after the Blake fiasco, would be politically damaging and profoundly embarrassing." (61)
Desmond Bristow, MI6's head of station in Spain, agreed with this analysis: "Philby was allowed to escape. Perhaps he was even encouraged. To have him brought back to England and convicted as a traitor would have been even more embarrassing; and when they convicted him, could they really have hanged him?" (62) Yuri Modin, who was the man the KGB selected to talk to Philby before he defected, also believes this was the case: "To my mind the whole business was politically engineered. The British government had nothing to gain by prosecuting Philby. A major trial, to the inevitable accompaniment of spectacular revelation and scandal, would have shaken the British establishment to its foundations." (63)
James Jesus Angleton, who had been loyal defender for many years was extremely embarrassed. Philby and Angleton had thirty-six meetings at CIA headquarters between 1949 and 1951. Every one of the discussions that they had were typed up by Angleton's secretary Gloria Loomis. This was also true of the weekly meeting they had at Harvey's Restaurant in Washington. Angleton was so ashamed about all the CIA secrets he had given to Philby he destroyed all these documents. Angleton told Peter Wright: "I had them burned. It was all very embarrassing." He added that if he were a chap who murdered people he would kill Philby. (64)
Leonard McCoy, a senior officer in the CIA, later told Tom Mangold: "My guess is that he must have inadvertently leaked a lot to Philby. During those long boozy lunches and dinners. Philby must have picked him clean on CIA gossip, internal power struggles, and more importantly, personality assessments... At that time, the CIA had active operations going in Albania, the Baltic, the Ukraine, and from Turkey into southern Russia. We had agents parachuting in, floating in, walking in, boating in. Virtually all of these operations were complete failures. After the war, we had also planted a whole stay-behind network of agents in eastern Europe. They were all rolled up. It's difficult to draw conclusions why they all failed, but Philby must have played his part." (65)
CIA agent, Miles Copeland, was aware of these regular meetings. He later commented: "What Philby provided was feedback about the CIA's reactions. They (the KGB) could accurately determine whether or not reports fed to the CIA were believed or not... what it comes to, is that when you look at the whole period from 1944 to 1951, the entire Western intelligence effort, which was pretty big, was what you might call minus advantage. We'd have been better off doing nothing." (66)
It is believed that the defection of Kim Philby was partly responsible for his paranoia. Dr. Jerrold Post, a psychologist who knew Angleton later commented: "There's little doubt it would have contributed to his paranoia. He must have wondered if he could ever trust anyone again. Psychologically, it would have been a major event. If you give or invest your friendship to a person and he betrays that investment as cynically as Philby betrayed Angleton's, then future trust has gone." (67) Another top CIA psychologist, Dr. John Gittinger, claimed: "It absolutely shattered Angleton's life in terms of his ability to be objective about other people. It's like being devoted to your wife and finding her in bed with another man. There's nothing worse than a disillusioned idealist." (68)
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963, 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. (69)
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 Helms that he believed that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. (70)
On 6th December, Nicholas Katzenbach invited 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. (71)
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. "None of this had been passed to us." Whitten added that has he had been denied this information, his initial conclusions on the assassination were "completely irrelevant." (72)
Helms responded by taking Whitten off the case. James Jesus Angleton was now put in charge of the investigation. According to Gerald McKnight, the author of Breach of Trust (2005), 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." As McKnight explains: "Angleton, like his professional counterpart, Hoover, dropped the Cuban angle in the assassination and turned the investigation over to Counterintelligence's Soviet Division to determine whether the KGB had influenced Oswald in any way." (73)
Over the next few months James Jesus Angleton worked with William Sullivan of the FBI in providing information to the Warren Commission. During this period Angleton continued to interview Anatoli Golitsyn. Golitsyn argued that the KGB sought a virtual takeover of Western intelligence services and had turned several CIA agents. Angleton was convinced by this story and as Tom Mangold, the author of Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (1991) has pointed out: "With these revelations, a minor and undistinguished KGB officer, working in tandem with the CIA's chief of Counterintelligence was now able to throw the CIA and much of Western intelligence into a decade of deep confusion and doubt. The acceptance of Golitsyn's logic led to the betrayal and dismissal of some of the CIA's finest officers and agents." (74)
In January 1964 Yuri Nosenko, deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB, who had been providing information since 1961, contacted the CIA and said he wanted 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. He claimed that he had been put in charge of the KGB investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald. He denied the Oswald had any connection with KGB. After interviewing Oswald it was decided that he was not intelligent enough to work as a KGB agent. They were also concerned that he was "too mentally unstable" to be of any use to them. Nosenko added that the KGB had never questioned Oswald about information he had acquired while a member of the U.S. Marines. This surprised the CIA as Oswald had worked as a Aviation Electronics Operator at the Atsugi Air Base in Japan. (75)
J. Edgar Hoover welcomed the information from Nosenko: "Nosenko's assurances that Yekaterina Furtseva herself had stopped the KGB from recruiting Oswald gave Hoover the evidence he needed to clear the Soviets of complicity in the Kennedy murder - and, even more from Hoover's point of view, clear the FBI of gross negligence. Hoover took this raw, unverified, and untested intelligence and leaked it to members of the Warren Commission and to President Johnson." (76) Hoover leaked this information to the Warren Commission. This pleased its members as it helped to confirm the idea that Oswald had acted alone and was not part of a Soviet conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy.
Despite the fact that the Warren Commission received information from Hoover about Yuri Nosenko his name is not mentioned in the final report. Although the commission favoured Hoover’s interpretation that he was a genuine defector, it was decided that it was better not to include the information. This was decided after Nosenko’s CIA case-officer, Tennant Bagley, spoke to commission members on 24th July, 1964: “Nosenko is a KGB plant and may be publicly exposed as such some time after the appearance of the Commission’s report. Once Nosenko is exposed as a KGB plant, there will arise the danger that his information will be mirror-read by the press and public, leading to conclusions that the USSR did direct the assassination.” (77)
According to Mark Riebling: “That was enough to settle the question. The commission had been founded for no other reason to avert rumors which might cost ‘forty million lives’, and later that afternoon decided it would be ‘undesirable to include any Nosenko information’ information’ in its report. The defector’s FBI debriefings would remain classified in commission files.” Richard Helms points out that Hoover was not happy with this decision: “When the Warren people sided with us, it cut across Mr. Hoover’s assertion that the Russians had had nothing to do with the assassination.” (78)
Some researchers have claimed that Angleton was involved in covering up CIA's involvement in the assassination of 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." (79)
Timothy Leary has claimed that a few days after John F. Kennedy had been killed he received a disturbing phone call from Mary Pinchot Meyer. He wrote in his autobiography, Flashbacks (1983): Ever since the Kennedy assassination I had been expecting a call from Mary. It came around December 1. I could hardly understand her. She was either drunk or drugged or overwhelmed with grief. Or all three." Meyer told Leary: "They couldn't control him any more. He was changing too fast. They've covered everything up. I gotta come see you. I'm afraid." (80)
On 12th October, 1964, Mary Pinchot Meyer was shot dead as she walked along the Chesapeake and Ohio towpath in Georgetown. Henry Wiggins, a car mechanic, was working on a vehicle on Canal Road, when he heard a woman shout out: "Someone help me, someone help me". He then heard two gunshots. Wiggins ran to the edge of the wall overlooking the towpath. He later told police he saw "a black man in a light jacket, dark slacks, and a dark cap standing over the body of a white woman." (81)
Mary appeared to be killed by a professional hitman. The first bullet was fired at the back of the head. She did not die straight away. A second shot was fired into the heart. The evidence suggests that in both cases, the gun was virtually touching Marys body when it was fired. As the FBI expert testified, the dark haloes on the skin around both entry wounds suggested they had been fired at close-range, possibly point-blank. (82)
Ben Bradlee points out that the first he heard of the death of Mary Pinchot Meyer was when he received a phone-call from Wistar Janney, his friend who worked for the CIA: "My friend Wistar Janney called to ask if I had been listening to the radio. It was just after lunch, and of course I had not. Next he asked if I knew where Mary was, and of course I didn't. Someone had been murdered on the towpath, he said, and from the radio description it sounded like Mary. I raced home. Tony was coping by worrying about children, hers and Mary's, and about her mother, who was seventy-one years old, living alone in New York. We asked Anne Chamberlin, Mary's college roommate, to go to New York and bring Ruth to us. When Ann was well on her way, I was delegated to break the news to Ruth on the telephone. I can't remember that conversation. I was so scared for her, for my family, and for what was happening to our world. Next, the police told us, someone would have to identify Mary's body in the morgue, and since Mary and her husband, Cord Meyer, were separated, I drew that straw too." (83)
Peter Janney, the author of Mary's Mosaic (2012) has questioned this account of events provided by Bradlee. "How could Bradlee's CIA friend have known 'just after lunch' that the murdered woman was Mary Meyer when the victim's identity was still unknown to police? Did the caller wonder if the woman was Mary, or did he know it, and if so, how? This distinction is critical, and it goes to the heart of the mystery surrounding Mary Meyer's murder." (84)
That night Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee received a telephone call from Mary's best friend, Anne Truitt, an artist living in Tokyo. She told her that it "was a matter of some urgency that she found Mary's diary before the police got to it and her private life became a matter of public record". (85) Mary had apparently told Anne that "if anything ever happened to me" you must take possession of my "private diary". Ben Bradlee explains in The Good Life (1995): "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." (86)
James Jesus Angleton later claimed that he had also received a telephone call from Anne Truitt. His wife, Cicely Angleton, confirmed this in an interview given to Nina Burleigh. (87) However, an article by Ron Rosenbaum and Phillip Nobile, in the New Times on 9th July, 1976, gives a different version of events with the Angleton's arriving at Mary's house that evening to attend a poetry reading and that at this stage they did not know she was dead. (88)
Joseph Trento, the author of Secret History of the CIA (2001), has pointed out: "Cicely Angleton called her husband at work to ask him to check on a radio report she had heard that a woman had been shot to death along the old Chesapeake and Ohio towpath in Georgetown. Walking along that towpath, which ran near her home, was Mary Meyer's favorite exercise, and Cicely, knowing her routine, was worried. James Angleton dismissed his wife's worry, pointing out that there was no reason to suppose the dead woman was Mary - many people walked along the towpath. When the Angletons arrived at Mary Meyer's house that evening, she was not home. A phone call to her answering service proved that Cicely's anxiety had not been misplaced: Their friend had been murdered that afternoon." (89)
Angleton became convinced that the CIA had been penetrated by a "mole" working for the KGB. He ordered, Clare Edward Petty, a member 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 Petty should take a close look at David Edmund Murphy. The Soviet defector, Anatoli Golitsyn, had suggested that Murphy might have been recruited as a spy when working in Berlin in the 1950s. Angleton's suspicions were increased by Murphy speaking fluent Russian and marrying a woman who had previously lived in the Soviet Union. (90)
Murphy had been accused of being a Soviet spy by one of his own officers, Peter Kapusta. He originally expressed this opinion to Sam Papich, the FBI's liaison man with the CIA. "Kapusta called in the middle of the night. It was one or two o'clock in the morning. The FBI did not investigate. From the beginning, the bureau looked at the Murphy matter strictly as an internal CIA problem. We received certain information, including Kapusta's input. By our standards, based on what was available, FBI investigation was not warranted." (91) This information was passed to Angleton and he became convinced that he was a Soviet mole.
Petty investigated Murphy's wife and found that her family had fled from Russia after the Russian Revolution. They moved to China before settling in San Francisco. Petty could find no evidence that she was pro-communist. Newton S. Miler, a member of SIG had investigated Murphy in the early 1960s. He discovered that a large number of his operations had been unsuccessful: "Just a series of failures, things that blew up in his face. Odd things that happened. The scrapes in Japan and Vienna. They (the KGB) may have been setting up Murphy just to embarrass CIA. But you have to consider these incidents may have been staged to give him bona fides." (92) Petty came to the conclusion that Murphy was "accident prone".
Petty eventually produced a twenty-five-page report that concluded that there was a "probability" that Murphy was innocent. Petty felt that Murphy may have been targeted by the KGB, but was never recruited. (93) However, Angleton rejected the report as he was convinced he was a spy. In 1968 Angleton arranged for Murphy to be removed from his job as head of the Soviet Division and assigned to Paris as station chief. Angleton then contacted the head of French intelligence and warned him that Murphy was a Soviet agent. (94)
Angleton now asked Petty to investigate his close colleague, Tennant Bagley, who had been the case-officer dealing with Yuri Nosenko. This was a surprising suggestion as Bagley had always been a loyal supporter of Angleton and told the Warren Commission that “Nosenko is a KGB plant and may be publicly exposed as such some time after the appearance of the Commission’s report. Once Nosenko is exposed as a KGB plant, there will arise the danger that his information will be mirror-read by the press and public, leading to conclusions that the USSR did direct the assassination.” (95)
However, Angleton believed that Bagley had deliberately mishandled the attempted recruitment of a minor Polish intelligence officer in Switzerland. "Petty fastened on an episode that had taken place years earlier, when Bagley had been stationed in Bern, handling Soviet operations in the Swiss capital. At the time, Bagley was attempting to recruit an officer of the UB, the Polish intelligence service, in Switzerland. Petty concluded that a phrase in a letter from Michal Goleniewski, the Polish intelligence officer who called himself Sniper... the KGB had advance knowledge that could only have come from a mole in the CIA." (96)
Petty spent a year investigating Bagley, who had remained one of Angleton's strongest supporters. Petty's 250 page report on Bagley concluded that he "was a candidate to whom we should pay serious attention". However, Angleton rejected the report and told Petty: "Pete's not a KGB agent, he's not a Soviet spy." As Tom Mangold, the author of Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (1991) has pointed out: "A lesser man than Petty might have given up at this stage. He had investigated, on his master's behalf, a former chief and deputy chief of the Soviet Division - incredible targets in themselves - and had failed to prove either case. But Petty remained convinced that a mole existed." (97)
Clare Edward Petty continued to search for the Soviet mole and eventually reached the conclusion that it was the man who had ordered the investigation, James Jesus Angleton, who had penetrated the CIA, and was in league with Anatoli Golitsyn, who was not a genuine defector: "It was at that point that I decided I'd been looking at it all wrong by assuming Golitsyn was good as gold. I began rethinking everything. If you turned the flip side it all made sense. Golitsyn was sent to exploit Angleton. Then the next step, maybe not just an exploitation, and I had to extend it to Angleton. Golitsyn might have been dispatched as the perfect man to manipulate Angleton or provide Angleton with material on the basis of which he (Angleton) could penetrate and control other services.... Angleton made available to Golitsyn extensive sensitive information which could have gone back to the KGB. Angleton was a mole, but he needed Golitsyn to have a basis on which to act.... Golitsyn and Angleton. You have two guys absolutely made for each other. Golitsyn was a support for things Angleton had wanted to do for years in terms of getting into foreign intelligence services. Golitsyn's leads lent themselves to that. I concluded that logically Golitsyn was the prime dispatched agent." (98)
In 1971 Petty began "putting stuff on index cards, formulating my theory". Petty later told David C. Martin: The case against Angleton was a great compilation of circumstantial material. It was not a clear-cut case." However, an unnamed senior CIA officer explained to Martin that his investigation of Angleton was deeply flawed: "There was a lot of supposition, factual situations which were subject to varying interpretations. You could draw conclusions one way or the other, and we felt the conclusions by the fellow who was making the case were overdrawn... Petty was a very intense person. He was seized with this theory, and like all people in this field, once they get seized with this thing, you wonder whether they're responsible or not." (99) Newton S. Miler, a member of SIG supported this view: "Petty... would decide on a bottom line before he started and then fit everything to his conclusions. He wanted recognition, he wanted to be seen as a spycatcher. In the end, he turned against everyone, and even had disputes with Ray Rocca and myself. I always thought Ed a bit odd." (100)
Petty told James H. Critchfield, the CIA head of the Eastern European and Near East divisions about his suspicions. 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.
Clare Edward Petty decided not to tell his boss, Jean M. Evans, about his investigation. "Petty worked in absolute secrecy, never revealing to anyone except Critchfield that he was gathering information to accuse his own boss, James Angleton, as a Soviet spy. By the spring of 1973, after toiling for some two years, Petty felt he could not develop his theory any further. He decided to retire." (101)
James Jesus Angleton became convinced that Anatoli Golitsyn was the most important Soviet defector. Angleton's colleague, E. Henry Knoche, claimed: "Angleton had a special view of the world. You almost have to be 100 per cent paranoid to do the job. You always have to fear the worst. You always have to assume, without necessarily having the proof in your hands, that your own organization has been penetrated and there's a mole around somewhere. And it creates this terrible distrustful attitude." (102)
He believed the story 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 Golitsyn but few senior members of the CIA agreed with him. They pointed out that Gaitskell had died after Golitsyn had left the Soviet Union and would have had to know in advance what was about to take place.
However, Angleton remained convinced and according to David Leigh, the author of The Wilson Plot (1988) argues that Angleton developed a "fanatical belief that Wilson was under Soviet control". (103) Angleton passed this information onto Peter Wright and Arthur Martin of MI5. Wright admitted in his biography that he had been suspicious of Gaitskell's death at the time: "I knew him personally and admired him greatly... After he died his doctor got in touch with MI5 and asked to see somebody from the Service. Arthur Martin, as the head of Russian Counter-espionage, went to see him. The doctor explained that he was disturbed by the manner of Gaitskell's death. He said that Gaitskell had died of a disease called lupus disseminata, which attacks the body's organs. He said that it was rare in temperate climates and that there was no evidence that Gaitskell had been anywhere recently where he could have contracted the disease." (104)
In 1968 Wright joined forces with Cecil King, the newspaper publisher, in a plot to bring down the government of Harold Wilson and replace it with a coalition led by Lord Mountbatten. According to Ken Livingstone: "Matters began to hot up when the press baron Cecil King, a long-standing MI5 agent, began to discuss the need for a coup against the Wilson Government. King informed Peter Wright that the Daily Mirror would publish any damaging anti-Wilson leaks that MI5 wanted aired, and at a meeting with Lord Mountbatten and the Government's chief scientific adviser, Solly Zuckerman, he urged Mountbatten to become the leader of a Government of national salvation." (105) Solly Zuckerman got up and before he left said: "This is rank treachery. All this talk of machine guns at street corners is appalling." Zuckerman told Mountbatten not to have anything to do with the conspiracy and as a result it ended in failure. (106)
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, Armand Hammer, the chief executive of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Henry Kissinger, the National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon. (107)
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. Schlesinger later recalled: "Listening to him was like looking at an Impressionist painting... Jim's mind was devious and allusive, and his conclusions were woven in a quite flimsy manner. His long briefings would wander on, and although he was attempting to convey a great deal, it was always smoke, hints, and bizarre allegations. He might have been a little cracked but he was always sincere." (108)
Schlesinger discovered that Angleton had been running Operation Chaos since 1967. President Lyndon B. Johnson had ordered the CIA to determine whether the anti-Vietnam War movement was being financed or manipulated by foreign governments. Angleton put Richard Ober in charge of the project that collected information on the peace movement, New Left activists, campus radicals and black nationalists. The CIA joined forces with the FBI to spy on these people: "The agencies buried their long-standing rivalries to cooperate on mail intercepts, phone taps, monitoring meetings, the use of LSD to pump people for information, and surveillance of... expatriates as well as travelers passing through certain select areas abroad." (109)
James Jesus Angleton was ordered to attend a meeting in his office. Schlesinger demanded to know what this large and expensive project had yielded. When he was given the answer, "Not very much," he ordered Angleton to stop the entire operation. Apparently he told him: "Jim, this thing is not only breaking the law, but we're getting nothing out of it." (110) On 9th May, 1973, James Schlesinger issued a directive to all CIA employees: “I have ordered all senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or might have gone on in the past, which might be considered to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary and say that he wishes to talk to me about “activities outside the CIA’s charter”. (111)
In early 1973, James Schlesinger appointed William Colby as head of all clandestine operations. Colby was now Angleton's direct superior. One of his first actions was to take a close look at HT-LINGUAL, a huge secret mail-opening scheme, that Angleton had been running since November 1955. Angleton's staff were intercepting letters between the United States and the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. Angleton thought that it was "probably the most important overview that counter-intelligence had" because the "enemy regarded America's mails as inviolate, mail coverage was likely to provide clues to the identities of Soviet agents". Angleton was aware the mail-operating operation was illegal and that if it were ever exposed "serious public reaction in the United States would probably occur." (112)
Colby investigated HT-LINGUAL and discovered that over the last twenty years over 215,000 letters were opened in New York City alone. "Each morning three CIA officers reported to a special room at New York's LaGuardia Airport, where a postal clerk delivered from two to six sacks of mail... Working with a Diebold camera, the three officers photographed the exteriors of about 1,800 letters each day. Each evening they stashed about 60 of the letters in an attaché case or stuffed them in their pockets and took them to the CIA's Manhattan Field Office for opening." (113)
Colby later commented: I couldn't find it had produced anything... I wrote a memo saying it should be terminated." (114) Angleton questioned this decision and pointed out that they had been able to find out "whether illegal Soviet agents hidden in the United States were communicating to and from the USSR through the U.S. mails." (115) Schlesinger decided to "suspend it but not terminate it".
In July 1973, James Schlesinger became President Nixon's Secretary of Defence and William Colby was appointed as the new Director of the CIA. Colby was a strong critic of Angleton's activities: "Colby had long believed that the true function of the agency was to collect and analyze information for the President and his policymakers. He maintained that it was not the CIA's function to fight the KGB; the KGB was merely an obstacle en route to scaling the walls surrounding the Politburo and the Central Committee. In Colby's mind, his concept of the CIA's mission was an article of faith. But in Angleton he saw only a KGB fighter and a failed spycatcher." (116)
Colby pointed out: "I couldn't find that we ever caught a spy under Jim. That really bothered me. Every time I asked the second floor about this question, I got 'Well, maybe' and 'Perhaps,' but nothing hard. 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. As far as I was concerned, the role of the Counterintelligence Staff was basically to secure penetrations into the Russian intelligence services and to debrief defectors. Now I'm not saying that's easy, but then CI was never easy. As far as this business of finding Soviet penetrations within the CIA, well, we have the whole Office of Security to protect us. That is their job... The isolation of the Counterintelligence Staff from the Soviet Division was a huge problem. Everyone knew it. The CI Staff was so far out on its own, so independent, that it had nothing to do with the rest of the agency, The staff was so secretive and self-contained that its work was not integrated into the rest of the agency's operations. There was a total lack of cooperation."
Colby told David Wise that he feared that Angleton would commit suicide if he was removed from his post. He therefore decided to gradually ease him out. He took away Angleton's control over proposed clandestine operations. This was followed by removing his power to review operations already in progress. As each of these roles were removed, the size of Angleton's staff dwindled from hundreds to some forty people. However, Angleton refused to resign: "Taking away FBI liaison and the other units was designed to lead him to see the handwriting on the wall. He just wouldn't take the bait." (117)
On 17th December, 1974, Colby called Angleton into his office and told him that he wanted him to retire. He offered him a post as a special consultant, in which he would compile his experiences for the CIA's historical record. "I told him to leave the staff to write up what he had done during his career. This reflected my desire to get rid of him, but in a dignified way - so he could get down his experience on paper. No one knew what he had done! I didn't! I told him to take either the consultancy or honorable retirement. We also discussed that he would get a higher pension if he accepted early retirement... He dug in his heels. I couldn't get him to leave the job on his own. I just couldn't edge him out." (118)
The following day Seymour Hersh, who worked for the New York Times, phoned Colby and told him that he had an important story about the CIA. The two men met on 20th December. Hersh revealed that he had discovered both of the domestic operations run by Angleton - HT-LINGUAL and Operation Chaos. "Hersh told Colby that he intended to publish the news that the CIA had engaged in a massive spying campaign against thousands of American citizens (which violated the CIA charter). Colby tried to contain the damage, and he attempted to correct some of the exaggerations Hersh had picked up. But, in so doing, he effectively confirmed Hersh's information." (119)
Colby now had a meeting with Angleton and told him that Hersh was about to publish a story about his illegal operations. As a result he was forced to sack him. Angleton went to a public pay phone and called Hersh. He begged him not to run the pending story. as an inducement, he promised to give the journalist other classified information to publish instead. "He told me he had other stories which were much better. He really wanted to buy me off with these leads. One of the things he offered sounded very real - he said it was about something the United States was doing inside the Soviet Union. It could have been totally poppycock, who knows. I didn't write it." Angleton later accused Colby of giving information about the illegal operations to Hersh. However, in his interview with Tom Mangold he denied it. (120)
On 22nd December, 1974, Seymour Hersh published his story in the New York Times. Angleton was identified as the head of the CIA's counter-intelligence staff and the man responsible for these illegal operations. David Atlee Phillips, saw him soon after the article was published: "We talked for a few minutes, standing in the diffused glow of a distant light. Angleton's head was lowered, but occasionally he glanced up from under his brim of his black homburg... We then rambled on about nothing particular. I thought to myself that I had never seen a man who looked so infinitely tired and sad." (121)
George T. Kalaris was appointed to replace James Jesus Angleton. William Colby pointed out: "I put George in there because he's a very good, straightforward fellow. He wasn't flashy. He knew how to run stations, and I had trust and faith in him. The situation needed a sensible person like him to put the place together again after all the chaos. I also needed someone who had not taken a side on any of the major issues.... I wrote George a very basic memorandum of instruction. I ordered him to go to it - to go get agents, to go penetrate the enemy." (122)
Angleton went to see Kalaris on 31st December, 1974. He told the new head of counter-intelligence that he intended to "crush" him. "It's nothing personal. It's just that you are caught in the middle of a big battle between Colby and me. I feel sorry for you. I studied your personnel records, and I repeat, you are going to be crushed." Angleton then went on to criticize the choice of Kalaris to run the department: "To qualify for working on my staff you would need eleven years of continuous study of old cases, starting with The Trust and the Rote Kapelle and so on. Not ten years, not twelve, but precisely eleven. My staff has made detailed study of these requirements. And even that much experience would make you only a journeyman counter-intelligence analyst." Angleton then went on to say that the Soviets had not been successful in compromising the CIA's Counter-intelligence Staff, because he had been there to protect it. "But this is not true of the Soviet Division". (123)
Kalaris now instigated an investigation into Angleton's filing system. His team found "entire sets of vaults and sealed rooms scattered all around the second and third floors of CIA headquarters". They came across over 40 safes, some of them had not been opened for over ten years. No one on Angleton's remaining staff knew what was in them and no one had the combinations anymore. Kalaris was forced to call in a "crack team of safebusters to drill open the door". The investigators found "Angleton's own most super-sensitive files, memoranda, notes and letters... tapes, photographs" and according to Kalaris "bizarre things of which I shall never ever speak". This included files on two senior figures in MI5, Sir Roger Hollis and Graham Mitchell. There were also files on a large number of journalists. (124)
The investigators also found documents concerning Lee Harvey Oswald and on 18th September, 1975, George T. Kalaris wrote a memo to the executive assistant to the deputy director of Operations of the CIA describing the contents of Oswald's 201 file. "There is also a memorandum dated 16 October 1963 from (redacted but likely Winston Scott) to the United States Ambassador there concerning Oswald's visit to Mexico City and to the Soviet Embassy there in late September - early October 1963. Subsequently there were several Mexico City cables in October 1963 also concerned with Oswald's visit to Mexico City, as well as his visits to the Soviet and Cuban Embassies." (125) As John Newman, the author of Oswald and the CIA (2008) has pointed out: "the significance of the Kalaris memo is that it disclosed the existence of pre assassination knowledge of Oswald's activities in the Cuban Consulate, and that this had been put into cables in October 1963." (126)
The investigators discovered that Angleton had not entered any of the official documents from these safes into the CIA's central filing system. Nothing had never been filed, recorded, or sent to the secretariat. "Angleton had been quietly building an alternative CIA, subscribing only to his rules, beyond peer review or executive supervision." Over the next three years "a team of highly trained specialists another three full years just to sort, classify, file, and log the material into the CIA system." Leonard McCoy, was giving the responsibility of inspected the most important files. McCoy was advised "to retain less than one half of 1 per cent of the total, or no more than 150-200 out of the 40,000." The rest of Angleton's files were then destroyed. (127)
James Truitt gave an interview to the National Enquirer that was published on 23rd February, 1976, with the headline, "Former Vice President of Washington Post Reveals... JFK 2-Year White House Romance". Truitt told the newspaper that Mary Pinchot Meyer was having an affair with John F. Kennedy. He also claimed that Mary had told them that she was keeping an account of this relationship in her diary. Truitt added that the diary had been removed by James Jesus Angleton and Ben Bradlee when Meyer was murdered on 12th October, 1964. (128)
The newspaper sent a journalist to interview Bradlee about the issues raised by Truitt. According to one eyewitness account, Bradlee "erupted in a shouting rage and had the reporter thrown out of the building". Nina Burleigh claims that it was Watergate that motivated Truitt to give the interview. "Truitt was disgusted that Bradlee was getting credit as a great champion of the First Amendment for exposing Nixon's steamy side in Watergate coverage after having indulgently overlooked Kennedy's hypocrisies." Truitt was also angry that Bradlee had not exposed Kennedy's affair with Mary Pinchot Meyer in his book, Conversations with Kennedy. Truitt had been close to Meyer during this period and had received a considerable amount of information about the relationship. (129)
Ben Bradlee, who had gone on holiday with his new wife, Sally Quinn, gave orders for the Washington Post to ignore the story. However, Harry Rosenfeld, a senior figure at the newspaper, commented, "We're not going to treat ourselves more kindly than we treat others." (130) However, when the article was published it included several interviews with Kennedy's friends who denied he had an affair with Meyer. Kenneth O'Donnell described her as a "lovely lady" but denied that there had been a romance. Timothy Reardon claimed that "nothing like that ever happened at the White House with her or anyone else." (131)
Bradlee and James Jesus Angleton continued to deny the story. Some of Mary's friends knew that the two men were lying about the diary and some spoke anonymously to other newspapers and magazines. Later that month Time Magazine published an article confirming Truitt's story. (132) In an interview with Jay Gourley, Bradlee's former wife, and Mary's sister, Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee admitted that her sister had been having an affair with John F. Kennedy: "It was nothing to be ashamed of. I think Jackie might have suspected it, but she didn't know for sure." (133)
Two journalists, Ron Rosenbaum and Phillip Nobile, decided to carry out their own investigation into the case. After interviewing James Truitt and several other friends of Mary Pinchot Meyer, including the Angletons, they published an article, entitled, "The Curious Aftermath of JFK's Best and Brightest Affair" in the New Times on 9th July, 1976. According to this version, the search for the diary took place on Saturday, 17th October, five days after her murder. As well as Antoinette (Tony) Bradlee, James and Cicely Angleton, Cord Meyer and Anne Chamberlain, were also present. The search party found nothing. (134)
Later that same day, Tony Bradlee was said to have discovered a "locked steel box" in Mary's studio. Inside it was one one of Mary's artist sketchbooks, a number of personal papers and "hundreds of letters". Peter Janney, the author of Mary's Mosaic (2012) points out: "Tony Bradlee later claimed that the presence of a few vague notes written in the sketchbook - allegedly including cryptic references to an affair with the president - persuaded her that she'd found her sister's missing diary. But Mary's artist sketchbook wasn't her real diary. It was just a ruse." (135) The contents of the box were given to Angleton who claimed he burnt the diary.
In 1976 Cleveland Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, met Ted Shackley and George T. Kalaris 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." (136)
Cram took the assignment and was given access to all CIA documents on covert operations. The study took six years to complete. In one section, Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about the books written by David C. Martin, the author of Wilderness of Mirrors (1980), Tom Mangold the author of Cold Warrior (1991) and David Wise the author of Molehunt (1992). Cram points out that these authors managed to persuade former CIA officers to tell the truth about their activities. In some cases, they were even given classified documents.
Cram is highly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein, the author of Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald (1978). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Jesus Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Edward J. Epstein's Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald provided enormous stimulus to the deception thesis by suggesting that Yuri Nosenko, a Soviet defector, had been sent by the KGB to provide a cover story for Lee Harvey Oswald, who the book alleged was a KGB agent.... Epstein's suggested that Nosenko's defection from the KGB was in reality a mission to provide a cover story for Oswald, which would absolve the Soviet Government of complicity in the assassination of President Kennedy." (137)
Cram is equally dismissive of Epstein's book, Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA (1989): "Like Legend, it is propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest. The errors are too many to document here... 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." (138)
Cleveland Cram investigation lasted six years. According to David Wise "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 office... Cram... 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." (139) However, a 71 page report, Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature, was declassified in 2003.
In the summer of 1975 Senator Frank Church began investigating evidence of illegal or improper CIA activities. Angleton's HT-LINGUAL and Operation Chaos programs were "among the matters placed under intense public scrutiny". (140) According to one observer, when Angleton appeared before the Church Committee "the feared former chief of the CIA's Counter-intelligence Staff looked for all the world like someone who had emerged from a damp underground cave where he had spent three decades of Cold War creeping among the stalagmites... What was absolutely chilling was the realization that such a man could have held a high position for so long in so powerful an agency of government." (141)
One of the most dramatic confessions made by Angleton came during his executive session testimony to the Church Committee. When he was asked about the CIA's failure to destroy its stocks of dangerous shellfish toxin that had been created to assassinate Fidel Castro, he replied that: "It is inconceivable that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government." When he was question in public session by Richard Schweiker, about this statement, he refused to withdraw the comment. (142)
After giving his testimony Angleton went straight to CIA headquarters to speak to Walter Elder, the CIA's chief liaison officer to Congress. He told him that the Church Committee was a plot masterminded by Kim Philby: "The Church Committee has opened up the CIA to a frontal assault by the KGB. This is the KGB's chance to go for the jugular. The whole plan is being masterminded by Kim Philby in Moscow. The KGB's only object in the world is to destroy me and the agency. The committee is serving as the unwitting instrument of the KGB." (143)
On 16th May, 1978, John M. Whitten appeared before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). He criticizedRichard 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." (144)
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." (145)
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." (146)
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." Jefferson Morley, the author of Our Man in Mexico (2008) has pointed out that in February 1964, the Warren Commission general counsel Lee Rankin, asked the CIA for the cables concerning Lee Harvey Oswald during his time in Mexico City, Angleton stonewalled. Angleton's deputy, Raymond Rocca told Richard Helms, "Unless you feel otherwise, Jim would prefer to wait the commission out on the matter." (147)
John Newman, the author of Oswald and the CIA (2008), has 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." (148)
In his retirement Angleton returned to his hobbies with enthusiasm. His orchid growing, trout fishing and the leather and jewelry work consumed most of his time. His health was poor and he was eventually persuaded to give up drinking alcohol in the late 1970s but continued to smoke until he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1986. (149)
Angleton told Cicely Angleton that he wanted "to go into the woods on my own like an Indian and deal with the end of my life, like an Apache". However, he was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital to receive the necessary treatment. Near the end, Angleton "suddenly sat up in bed, bolt upright, with his eyes closed, and began intoning an American Indian death chant, uttering incomprehensible words with an Apache inflection." Cicely commented: "He was an Apache to the end. He never complained. He took his punishments without a murmur." (150)
Angleton was also moving on, and up. The Central Intelligence Agency was formally established in September 1947. Three months later, after three years in Rome, Angleton returned to Washington to take up a new role in the Office of Special Operations (OSO), with responsibility for espionage and counter-espionage. Reunited with his long-suffering wife and their young son, Angleton set up home in the Virginia suburbs, and on New Year's Eve he formally applied to join the CIA, the intelligence organisation he would serve, shape and dominate for almost three decades.
The OSO was the intelligence-gathering division within the fledgling CIA, and from here Angleton began to carve out his own empire, working day and night, driving himself, his colleagues and his secretaries with manic determination. He started in a small office, with a single secretary; within a year he had been promoted, rated "excellent", and awarded a pay rise and a much larger office; two years later he was deploying six secretaries and assistants, and amassing a vast registry of files on the British model, which would become "the very mechanism through which the CIA organised the secret war against the Soviet Union". As that war expanded, so did Angleton's power. "He was totally consumed by his work. There was no room for anything else," said his secretary. At weekends he fished,
usually alone, or tended his orchids. Astonishingly, Cicely not only put up with his peculiarities, but loved him for them.
The driving force of OSO at the time was Jim Angleton, who had formerly served in London and had earned my respect by openly rejecting the Anglomania that disfigured the young face of OSO. We formed the habit of lunching once a week at Harvey's where he demonstrated regularly that overwork was not his only vice. He was one of the thinnest men I have ever met, and one of the biggest eaters. Lucky Jim! After a year of keeping up with Angleton, I took the advice of an elderly lady friend and went on a diet, dropping from thirteen stone to about eleven in three months.
Our close association was, I am sure, inspired by genuine friendliness on both sides. But we both had ulterior motives. Angleton wanted to place the burden of exchanges between CIA and SIS on the CIA office in London-which was about ten times as big as mine. By doing so, he could exert the maximum pressure on SIS's headquarters while minimizing SIS intrusions into his own. As an exercise in nationalism, that was fair enough. By cultivating me to the full, he could better keep me under wraps. For my part, I was more than content to string him along. The greater the trust between us overtly, the less he would suspect covert action. Who gained most from this complex game I cannot say. But I had one big advantage. I knew what he was doing for CIA and he knew what I was doing for SIS. But the real nature of my interest was something he did not know.
Although our discussions ranged over the whole world, they usually ended, if they did not begin, with France and Germany. The Americans had an obsessive fear of Communism in France, and I was astonished by the way in which Angleton devoured reams of French newspaper material daily. That this was not a private phobia of Angleton's became clear at a later date when a British proposal for giving Alexandre Parodi, head of the d'Orsay, limited secret information, was firmly squashed by Bedell Smith in person. He told me flatly that he was not prepared to trust a single French official with such information.
Angleton had fewer fears about Germany. That country concerned him chiefly as a base of operations against the Soviet Union and the Socialist states of Eastern Europe. CIA had lost no time in taking over the anti-Soviet section of the German Abwehr, under Reinard von Gehlen, and many of Harvey's lobsters went to provoke Angleton into defending, with chapter and verse, the past record and current activities of the von Gehlen organization.
The Counterintelligence Staff's primary function was blocking opposition 'home runs' - preventing penetrations at home and abroad, and protecting the security of CIA operations through research and careful analysis of incoming information. The task meant that considerable amounts of paper must be acquired, read, digested, filed, and refiled. Ironically, although Angleton had helped develop the CIA's central registry (where names, reports, and cases were indexed), his staff had one of the worst records of any CIA component for contributing data into the main system after 1955. This was because of Angleton's obsession with secrecy and his inability to trust the security of the CIA's main filing system. He believed there was nothing to prevent someone from stealing from the CIA's storehouse of secrets. Keeping the best files to himself also helped consolidate his bureaucratic power.
As Angleton extended his turf, his popularity, which had never been high with the operating divisions at home or the overseas stations, declined further. Officially, he was allowed access to everyone's personnel, operational, and communications files throughout the CIA. He needed and used this power to review all proposed and continuing operations and to approve the recruitment of agent candidates. It was a task he conducted with zeal, and with little regard for his own or his staff's popularity.
Newton "Scotty" Miler, Angleton's loyal former Chief of Operations, says succinctly, "The majority of CIA people didn't understand the role of the CI Staff and they didn't like it being a watchdog. The divisions didn't like us looking down their throats to see if they were being deceived or manipulated. "
But none of this had the slightest effect on Angleton's early efforts. He was driven by a single-minded determination to do his job, to protect the agency and the United States from harm, and to organize and centralize a new counter-intelligence empire that would withstand all future assaults.
In early 1962, the CIA moved into its present headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The offices of Angleton's Counter-Intelligence Staff, which had now increased to nearly two hundred people, were located on the southwest corner of the second floor and took up most of two corridors of the building's center and side wings...
At the entrance to Angleton's outer office there was a large reception room with a sofa, chairs, magazines, and three secretaries. One was Bertha Dasenburg, his personal assistant. Mrs. Dasenburg, of German extraction, had served in the Red Cross in Italy during World War II and joined Angleton's staff in 1952. She had a deserved reputation as a self-sacrificing and hardworking secretary who seemed to enjoy being on the inside, sharing the knowledge, and exercising power as Jim Angleton's gatekeeper. She had the authority to grant or deny access to her boss.
Angleton's inner office was large (20 by 25 feet). The windows on the far wall were covered with venetian blinds that were permanently closed when he was in residence (but always opened by Dasenburg as soon as he left). He sat in a high-backed leather chair behind a large, executive-style wooden desk that dominated the room. (One CIA psychologist, Dr. Jerrold Post, who visited Angleton's office later, noted that the place felt like a fortress and was laid out in such a way that no , one could stand behind its tenant.
The dark and imposing feel of Angleton's office was accentuated by the large, black safes that dotted the walls of his outer office. Angleton also maintained his own special vault room just across the hall. Access to this secure chamber was granted only in the presence of Angleton or the indomitable Bertha. The vault had specially strengthened walls, an electronic pushbutton entry system for access during working hours, and a combination door lock for night security. This was the secret heart of Angleton's secret world...
To understand Angleton and his research methodology, one must know a little about the man closest to him throughout his working life. The man was Raymond Rocca, Angleton's former Rome OSS colleague, who led the effort to reconstruct the past as head of the staff's new Research and Analysis Department.
Rocca's friends say he was well suited for the job. He had an excellent memory, and was considered a plodding, thorough scholar who usually provided Angleton with more detail than was needed. Like Miler, Rocca was an uncritical Fundamentalist whose loyalty to Angleton was beyond question.
Rocca reviewed the past with the devotion of an archeologist rediscovering an ancient tomb. Nearly every old Soviet intelligence case, dating back to the Cheka (the first Bolshevik secret police), was dutifully stored in the historical archives, and analyzed repeatedly...
Critics of Angleton's methodology say that both he and Rocca wasted enormous quantities of time studying the gospels of prewar Soviet intelligence operations at the very moment that the KGB had shifted the style and emphasis of its operations against the West.
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.
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.
I had known Jim Angleton for years, but I had never fully appreciated some of his qualities until a fishing trip to the Adirondacks 14 years ago. It was a bone-chilling early spring day, and with another member of the party, I had retired fishless to the bank for a consoling drink and to wait for Angleton. Finally, he came into view, waist-deep in the icy water and feeling for safe footing among the slippery rocks. He was using a 2¾-oz. Leonard rod and casting with easy grace, the tiny fly landing lightly 80 or 90 ft. below him. He took 1 ½ hours to draw abreast of us, never quitting a run or a pool until he had tested every inch of the surface with one or another of some dozen flies. In the end, though, he had five fine native trout in his creel.
Such meticulousness stood him well in the grinding, exhausting and unforgiving discipline of counterintelligence. His job was to locate, identify and neutralize the operations of hostile espionage agents, particularly those of the Soviet KGB, at home and abroad. The task offered few rewards and demanded an angler's perseverance and patience, unflagging watchfulness and a passion for anonymity. General William Donovan, the director of the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor to the CIA), called him the OSS's "most professional counterintelligence officer." In the years that followed, all the directors of the CIA leaned on him. Allen Dulles seldom made a move on the clandestine side without first consulting him. Walter Bedell Smith made him his youthful éminence grise and bequeathed him his cherished fly-tying equipment. John McCone found him a fascinating and shrewd counselor.
Angleton had a storybook background for his work. His Illinois-born father, James Hugh Angleton, joined the National Guard in Idaho in 1916 and chased Pancho Villa south of the border under General John J. ("Black Jack") Pershing. While there, Angleton courted and married a beautiful Mexican girl of 17. On returning to Boise, where their first son, christened James Jesus, was born in 1917, Angleton pére established himself as a star salesman for the National Cash Register Co. In the 1920s he took charge of the company's European operations. In 1933 he bought the firm's franchise for Italy and moved his family to Milan and later to Rome, where they lived in a handsome old villa. For years he headed the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy and was the trusted bridge between the American embassy and Italian industry.
His son's familiarity with high cuisine, wine and good tailoring was thus all naturally acquired. So too was his profound abhorrence of totalitarianism. Says Angleton: "If one has lived much of his life abroad, as I have, one is apt to judge his country more precious than do those who know no other country well." He recalls the day in 1936, when he was 18 and working through a summer holiday as an apprentice mechanic in National Cash Register's Paris factory, that the workers heard about the Wehrmacht reoccupation of the Rhineland. Says Angleton: "The workers to a man threw down their tools and standing at attention sang the Marseillaise. Then they streamed into the street, cursing the government. I stayed up all night, listening to the furious talk of the workers in the bistros. It was my first political experience - an experience in despair. And the war lengthened the experience. While gathering evidence for the Nuremberg war trials, I came upon the horrifying proof of the extermination of 6 million Jews. To prevent war, to preserve freedom are continuing causes with me. They have shaped my life."
After 3½ years at Malvern College in England, he entered Yale in the class of 1941. Says Poet Reed Whittemore, Angleton's college roommate and still a close friend: "He was quite British in his ways, though he had treasured his Middle Western accent. He was a mixture of pixiness and earnestness, very much at home in Italian literature, especially Dante, as well as the fine points of handicapping horses. He was an owl; he stayed up late, talking, reading or playing poker."
In their junior year, Whittemore and Angleton edited a quarterly of original poetry, called Furioso, financed mostly by subscriptions raised by Whittemore's aunt. Contributors included Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings, Archibald MacLeish and William Carlos Williams. Rates were $1 a page. "When we were short of money, which was most of the tune," Whittemore remembers, "we paid off our poets with fine Italian cravats from the stock that the Angleton haberdasher in Italy kept replenishing."
As the war came on, Angleton's father moved the family to New York and joined the OSS. He took part in the planning of the Italian invasion, went ashore with the assault forces at Anzio and rose to colonel. Son Jim had meanwhile entered Harvard Law School and married Cicely d'Autremont of Tucson, Ariz., a junior at Vassar. He was called up in 1943, put through basic training and also assigned to OSS and sent to Italy. His unit uncovered some of the secret correspondence between Hitler and Mussolini that was later introduced into the Nuremberg trials as proof of their conspiracy.
After the war, Donovan asked him to help the provisional Italian government beat off a threatened Communist takeover. Angleton assisted the carabinieri in rebuilding a counter-intelligence service. Through it, he acquired the Soviet instructions to the Italian Communists for supporting the Greek Communists in the civil war in Greece. He and his principal associate for all of his career, Raymond Rocca, who retired recently from the CIA, where he had been Angleton's chief deputy, ferreted out the exchange of correspondence between Stalin and Tito that foreshadowed the 1948 breach between them.
Late in 1947 Angleton resigned from the Army as a major and returned to Washington. By then, he had become, as he puts it, "sharply aware of the Soviet long-term objectives in subversion." Having long ago turned his back on law, he joined the CIA, which had been created some months earlier. Angleton was put in charge of helping to organize its clandestine side.
Many of Angleton's covert operations after he joined the CIA remain secret. The only people who know what he really did are his superiors and those who worked with him. One exploit that can be told came early in 1956. In collaboration with a friendly intelligence service, his unit acquired a copy of Nikita Khrushchev's famed denunciation of Stalin to the 20th Party Congress. Angleton and his lieutenants also developed the evidence that helped lead the FBI in 1957 to the KGB agent Colonel Rudolf Abel, who had operated since 1948 from an obscure photographer's shop in Brooklyn. The numbers of spies who have been caught in Angleton's net run into the dozens. They include George Blake, a senior officer in the British Secret Service; George Paques, a NATO official whose activities were in part the basis of the book and film Topaz; and Heinz Felfe, a high-ranking officer of the West German intelligence service.
Angleton's CIA staff was small - no more than a few score, mostly senior men who had been with him since the agency's founding. They were chiefly specialists on the "adversary" services; a foreign intelligence officer says that the operation was "the best in the world." Three of Angleton's people, including Rocca, have left the agency, angry over its failure to stand by their boss.
His defenders regard Angleton as a casualty of the times. They believe that he was forced out because some important U.S. policymakers no longer hold counterintelligence an indispensable function and so strongly believe in the durability of detente that they are uncomfortable with a clandestine organization that persists in regarding the KGB as a serious threat. In this respect, Angleton's departure is reminiscent of the fate of a fictional counter-intelligence man, George Smiley, the sad hero of John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Fired during a staff shake-up at the British Secret Service, Smiley was later called back to root out a suspected "mole," or traitor, who had burrowed deeply into his old organization. The mole resembles Kim Philby, the famed British double agent. It was Angleton who provided some of the information that enabled the British to nail down the case against Philby before the English spy fled to Moscow.
James Angleton, the erudite Central Intelligence Agency officer whose search for Soviet agents inside the Government stirred an uproar in the murky worlds of intelligence for a generation, died here this morning of lung cancer. He was 69 years old, Mr. Angleton, who joined the C.I.A. at its inception in 1947, served for more than 20 years as head of its counterintelligence office. He was forced to resign his post in 1974 by William E. Colby, then Director of Central Intelligence, who had become convinced that Mr. Angleton's efforts were harming the agency.
The tall, donnish intelligence official remains one of the most fascinating figures in the history of the C.I.A. His counterintelligence office was considered one of the most secret in the agency, and the problems it analyzed resembled the multidimensional chess games depicted in the best espionage fiction.
With his departure, the agency cut the counterintelligence staff to 80 from 300, and turned away from some of the techniques he had pioneered. Today, some intelligence officials and members of Congress say this may have been an overreaction. They say that the recent disclosures about highly damaging Soviet espionage operations suggest that Mr. Angleton was more accurate in his suspicions than was once believed.
Counterintelligence is one of the most thankless jobs in spy craft. Its practitioners think the unthinkable, examining each operation, recruit or defector for the possibility that it may be a deception. Counterintelligence agents also try to recruit agents who work for hostile intelligence services, hoping to confuse opponents with cleverly packaged false information.
Friends and associates agree that Mr. Angleton, who wore glasses and had a pronounced stoop, was ideally suited for his life's work. His view of the world was characterized by an abiding suspicion - opponents called it paranoia - about the Soviet Union's motives and maneuvers.
When the Soviet Union and China split in the early 1960's, Mr. Angleton remained convinced that the widely reported antagonism was a ruse concocted by the two Communist powers.
The defection of Yuri Nosenko from the Soviet Union in January 1964 prompted a prolonged investigation by Mr. Angleton and his staff. Mr. Nosenko insisted that he had been the Soviet case officer for Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President Kennedy.
Mr. Angleton was inclined to doubt Mr. Nosenko's insistence that the Soviet security agency, the K.G.B., had no connection to the attack on the President. Mr. Nosenko was released after being interrogated for more than three years, and the consensus at the C.I.A. was that he had been a legitimate defector. Mr. Nosenko was subsequently hired as a lecturer at courses given by the agency. Powerful Role in Agency
Mr. Angleton may have lost the battle over Mr. Nosenko, but he wielded great power inside the agency for decades. His section had access to more information than virtually any other because it was permitted to examine virtually all C.I.A. operations. The counterintelligence staff under Mr. Angleton could and did effectively end the careers of C.I.A. officers suspected of working for the Soviet Union. He often declined to explain why a particular officer had fallen under suspicion.
In addition, Mr. Angleton handled one of the agency's most sensitive relationships with an allied intelligence service, its ties to the Israelis. Mr. Angleton handled ''the Israeli account'' as it was termed in C.I.A. argot, for more than a decade. Indeed, Mr. Colby, the agency director who forced his resignation, earlier insisted that Mr. Angleton relinquish his control over Israeli matters.
Even with the passage of decades, it is difficult to compile a reasonably certain account of Mr. Angleton's espionage successes, which remain classified. For instance, by one account he was instrumental in obtaining, the text of Nikita S. Khrushchev's secret denunciation of Stalin in 1956.
He was also said to have been deeply involved in the unmasking of Kim Philby, the British double agent. Others say that for a time, at least, Mr. Angleton was deceived by Mr. Philby a man who had come to be his friend.
James Jesus Angleton was born in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, in Boise, Idaho. His father worked for the National Cash Register Company in Italy, and James Angleton spent summers in Italy while attending Malvern College in England. In 1937, he entered Yale University, where he roomed with E. Reed Whittemore Jr., the poet. The two founded a literary magazine, reflecting what would be Mr. Angleton's lifelong interest in the letters. His favorite poets, friends say, were T.S. Eliot and E.E. Cummings, and in Washington he was often found at lectures on the writings of James Joyce.
Two years after being graduated from Yale, he was recruited by a professor into the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II intelligence agency and forerunner to the C.I.A.
Senator Malcolm Wallop, a Wyoming Republican who was a strong defender of Mr. Angleton, said in a statement today: ''James Angleton lived long enough to serve his country before, during and after World war II. He was the architect of the best counterintelligence the United States ever had. In the mid-1970's, Angleton went out of fashion, but he lived long enough to see time and events vindicate him and show how little his accusers understood of the difficult and inherently thankless business of counterintelligence.''
In World War II Mr. Angleton directed agents working against Nazi Germany. In 1944 he traveled to Rome where he worked on operations aimed at the Italian Fascist intelligence service. After the war, he worked closely with Italian counterintelligence to uncover reams of data about Soviet operations.
When he returned to the United States, he began to specialize in studying the K.G.B. Mr. Angleton built huge files on the espionage operations of the Russians, and was authorized in 1954 by Allen W. Dulles, then the director of agency, to set up its first counterintelligence staff.
In 1975 Mr. Angleton was awarded the C.I.A.'s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
Mr. Angleton has been sharply criticized in recent years in the memoirs of some intelligence officials, including Adm. Stansfield Turner, the director of Central Intelligence under President Carter. Admiral Turner wrote that he had got Congress to appropriate money to compensate officers whose careers had been ruined because they had come under the suspicion of Mr. Angleton.
But his staff of counterintelligence operatives were quick to defend him and his methods to reporters and others.
''He was truly a Renaissance man, '' said N. Scott Miler, the chief of operations under Mr. Angleton. ''He had a remarkable amount of knowledge about world events, art, literature. most remarkable people I have ever known.''
Mr. Angleton is survived by his wife, Cicely d'Autremont; a son, James Charles Angleton, of Los Angeles, and two daughters, Guru Sangat Kaur, of Great Falls, Va., and Lucy d'Autremont Angleton, of New Mexico. He also leaves a brother, Hugh Angleton of Boise, and two sisters, Carmen Mercedes Angleton of Rome and Delores Guarnieri of Florence, Italy.