I recently spoke with S.T. Patrick on the Midnight Writer News podcast, about the CIA during the Kennedy era, with particular emphasis on the role of James Angleton in the events leading up to the assassination. Read more
Tag Archive for James Angleton
The first nationally known analysts to weigh in on the new JFK files are Phil Shenon and Larry Sabato, former New York Times reporter and University of Virginia professor respectively. In a story for Politico Magazine, they purport to tell the story How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder.
The tipoff to the story’s limitations is the headline, which sounds a bit odd: how the CIA came to doubt the official story…
The CIA was the source for key parts of the official JFK story–that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy out of “hatred for American society.” The CIA’s doubts only surfaced in the spring of 1975 when the official story was shredded by revelations about the agency’s pre-assassination knowledge of Oswald and plots to kill Castro.
The answer is no. There is no one piece of evidence in the 113,00 pages of JFK records scheduled to be released by October 26, 2017, that will change people’s minds about what happened long ago in Dallas.
But the new JFK files, if released in their entirety, will fill in the two key gaps in the JFK assassination story that have long been obscured by government misconduct, official secrecy, and lazy journalism.
In response to my recent post on a declassified April 1972 CIA memo ordering that “no defector or source” be asked about Lee Harvey Oswald, a faithful reader asks:
Where is April 1972 in the Nosenko chronology? Was there a time at which saner CIA people simply told Angleton to back off from his Nosenko-KGB theories?
The answer is that Angleton was motivated both by his interest in Nosenko and his desire to block CIA people from questioning the dubious official story of Oswald as a lone assassin about whom the agency knew little.
In fact, as Angleton knew better than anyone, the CIA had monitored Oswald’s movements, politics, personal life, and foreign contacts for four years before JFK was killed.
The other relevant question is, “Where is April 1972 in the Oswald chronology?” Read more
On April 5, 1972, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, backed by director Richard Helms, issued a blanket order:
“the agency was not, under any circumstances , to make inquiries or ask any source or defector about Oswald”
The order, found in the massive batch of JFK files released online this week, came nine years after Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24 year old ex-Marine. The order was issued after officials in the agency’s Soviet Bloc division asked a Russian defector about the accused assassin who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.
The CIA memo,
classified as a state secret for the past 35 years [Ed note: Paul Hoch tells me the memo was released with a name redacted in 1998] sheds light on how Angleton, a legendary spy chief known for his brilliance and paranoia, tightly controlled the JFK investigation for years after the crime. No one at the CIA was supposed to ask questions about Kennedy’s accused killer. Read more
Peter Savodnik, writing about the Russians and the Trumps on the Vanity Fair web site, says yes.
In my upcoming Angleton biography, I review the case and come to the opposite conclusion: Pete Bagley (and Jim Angleton) were wrong: Nosenko was a bona fide defector.
On the 50th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty on June 8,1967, people wonder how could the United States let the deaths of 34 servicemen go unpunished.
“The next day, the CIA produced its first analysis, which exonerated the Israelis. The paper concluded, erroneously, that there was ‘little doubt that the Israelis failed to identify the Liberty as a U.S. ship before or during the attack.” The Liberty “could easily have been mistaken” for El Quesir,” the memo asserted, a claim that the U.S. Navy would soon repudiate. The report was ‘compiled from all available sources,’ probably by [James] Angleton, the Israeli desk officer.”
On June 3, I gave an hour-long talk on James Angleton, Cuba, and the assassination of JFK in Dulles, Virginia.
Angleton was the chief of CIA counterintelligence from 1954 to 1974. He was key power broker in Cold War America
Tune in for a true tale of the Deep State.
James Angleton’s real life is the most intriguing, moving, and at time shocking spy story in American history. In The Ghost, Jefferson Morley has capture the man in all of his brilliant and sometimes delusional eccentricity. A must read’ for anyone who wants to understand just how strange and secretive the CIA was at the height of the Cold War.
–David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Director.
“The Ghost is the compulsively readable, often bizarre true-life story of American spymaster James Jesus Angleton – the CIA’s poetry-loving, orchid-gardening mole-hunter for almost 20 years. Capturing the extent of Angleton’s eccentricity, duplicity and alcohol-fueled paranoia would have challenged the writing skills of a Le Carre or Ludlum, and Jefferson Morley has done it with flair. This important book depicts the trail of wreckage left behind by Angleton in a CIA career that involved him in virtually every major spy-versus-spy drama of the Cold War and drew him deeply into the mysteries of the Kennedy assassination and the murder of one of JFK’s mistresses.”
—Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act
“The Ghost is the compulsively readable, often bizarre true-life story of American spymaster James Jesus Angleton – the CIA’s poetry-loving, orchid-gardening mole-hunter for almost 20 years. Capturing the extent of Angleton’s eccentricity, duplicity and alcohol-fueled paranoia would have challenged the writing skills of a Le Carre or Ludlum, and Jeff Morley has done it with flair. This important book depicts the trail of wreckage left behind by Angleton in a CIA career that involved him in virtually every major spy-versus-spy drama of the Cold War and drew him deeply into the mysteries of the Kennedy assassination and the murder of one of JFK’s mistresses.”
—Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act
Robin writes to take issue with my recent post on James Angleton and the resignation of British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1974.
“Greetings from the UK. I co-wrote a book about “The Wilson plots’: Smear: Wilson and the Secret State. Of course we dealt with the Angleton fantasies about Harold Wilson. A number of points needed to be noted. Read more
One of the stories I will tell in The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton is how the British secret intelligence services pressured Harold Wilson, the leftist Labour leader, into retiring early.
Some would credit Angleton with good counterintelligence instincts. Others might see a witch hunt or the workings of the so-called “deep state.” In any case, it was vintage Angleton, as Alex Cockburn explains.