A new JFK assassination tape found among the new JFK files in the the National Archives yields the previously unknown coda of one of the most famous espionage controversies of the 20th century. Read more
A reader asks about my biography of James Angleton:
Q. “Is the first “true” biography (and I’m not doubting you) but is that because of the new information you’ve found or is it that you’re giving a more exhaustive rundown of his entire life which the other biographies lacked?”
The Spybrary podcast, which covers espionage fact and fiction, notes that the facts of James Angleton’s CIA empire far exceed how his career is depicted in spy fictions like William F. Buckley’s novel Spy Time and Robert DeNiro’s movie, The Good Shepherd.
“Whatever you think you know about Angleton, I guarantee there’s something in THE GHOST that will surprise you.”
From a review in Mondoweiss
“Angleton was was a leading architect of America’s strategic relationship with Israel that endures and dominates the region to this day,” Jefferson Morley writes in The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton. More than any other man, the longtime chief of U.S. counterintelligence made possible Israel’s shift “from an embattled settler state into a strategic ally of the world’s greatest superpower.”
In Angleton, he has a character beyond the imagination of John LeCarré, perhaps even of Patricia Highsmith.
In his era, Johnson was rightly vilified in his escalation of the Vietnam War, but in other areas of legislation (the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the anti-poverty Great Society) LBJ sought to uplift the underclass in this country, based on an empathy that is smartly expressed in the film. The assassination of JFK was a shocking act, and it was Johnson in the aftermath who had to reset the path of a nation.
As Morley makes clear, Oswald had been of “intense” interest to the agency, and Angleton had control of the growing file on him. The most charitable explanation for Angleton’s actions is that he was hoping to catch one of those moles who, he was convinced, had infiltrated the agency.
Arnaldo Fernandez on the History Channel’s misguided, and now disappeared, JFK series.
After mixing Oswald with the anti-Castro and CIA-backed paramilitaries of Alpha 66 in a weird pot made of “special intent to kill President Kennedy soup”, Baer keeps on blighting a big-budget TV show by ignoring the body of the evidence, writes Arnaldo Fernandez. With an insert by Milicent Cranor on the History Channel’s version of the “jet effect”.
In this final installment of his review of the History Channel series, Arnaldo Fernandez concludes: “With Castro as vantage point instead of the CIA, Baer was not tracking Oswald to articulate a true picture of the past, but to drive the historical truth away.”
In response to Vincent Salandria’s talk on the alleged role of Ruth Paine in the assassination, Ed writes:
“I listened to all 39 minutes of Vince Salandria’s speech. If he was my lawyer I would fire him.” Read more
In his review of Trained to Kill, Bill Kelly calls attention to Antonio Veciana’s work for Army Intelligence. He nails the point that Veciana’s critics strive to avoid. Phillips did use the alias “Maurice Bishop” and his physical description of “Bishop” bore an uncanny resemblance to Phillips.
Kelly offers an original thesis, supported by documentation: Read more
After I published my review of Antonio Veciana’s book, Trained to Kill, for Newsweek, several people asked me about Dan Hardway’s review of the book AARC web site and W. Tracy Parnell’s blog, purporting to debunk Veciana’s story.
The former is an investigator’s take, the latter a prosecutor’s brief. Dan looks to get beyond Veciana’s self-presentation. Parnell seeks to impeach his credibility. Dan sees Veciana’s story as “modified limited hangout,” Parnell sees it as a fantasy.
Both are worth taking seriously.