James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
At the Future of Freedom Foundation’s recent conference on “The National Security State and JFK,” I previewed one of the best stories from my forthcoming biography of James Angleton: How Lee Harvey Oswald became enmeshed in the Angleton’s legendary “mole hunt” in which he pursued a KGB spy in the ranks of the CIA.
If Oswald was a “lone nut,” as cliché would later have it, he was that rare isolated sociopath of interest to the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
On January 22, 1976. retired CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton testified in secret session with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, otherwise known as the Church Committee.
Declassified documents reveal that Oswald met with the Cold War enemies of the United States, both Russia and Cuba, only eight weeks before JFK’s assassination.
This claim, made by the producers of new History Channel docu-series JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald, is not new. The claim may just be promotional hype for the series which begins tonight and runs through May 30. But, from long experience with JFK documentaries, my fact checking antennae are tingling.
It is not too soon to say the History Channel’s claim is potentially misleading.
The History Channel’s upcoming documentary series, “JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald” sounds enticing. A videogenic and decorated former CIA operations officer Robert Baer revisits the secret intelligence dimensions of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Baer is not the worst choice for a guide to the JFK story. He is an incisive commentator on CIA affairs, and no apologist. He rejects torture and expresses skepticism on drones. He comes across as a thinking man’s intelligence officer. (The fact that George Clooney played Baer in the movie Syriana gives him a whiff of Cool Liberal cologne.) Read more
Although this account does not mention James Angleton, the CIA Counterintelligence Chief (1954-74) was the man who expanded and oversaw the opening of the mail of U.S. citizens for nearly 20 years. In 1977, the Justice Department decided not to indict him.
Similarly, the late James Angleton, America’s most famous counterspy, slipped me the history of a ridiculously expensive recovery vessel called the Glomar Explorer and a few years later laughed that it was an effort to upstage a New York Times investigative reporter he knew was chasing the story.
From the fever swamp of InfoWars, Jerome Corsi reports that “JFK researchers” are saying that President Donald Trump is at risk for assassination because of his differences with the Central Intelligence Agency.
I have been a JFK researcher for 35 years, and Corsi has distorted what most of us think to serve a fear-mongering political agenda.
The spirit of James Jesus Angleton, the C.I.A.’s mole-obsessed counterintelligence chief during the peak years of the Cold War and evidently a mentor to Epstein (he’s mentioned several times), hovers over these pages.
That’s reviewer Nicholas Lemman’s way of casting doubt on Edward Epstein’s lightly sourced (to put it mildly) indictment of the NSA whistle blower. In other words, Epstein’s case against Snowden as a spy today is as unsuccessful as Angleton’s hunt for a Soviet mole in the 1960s.
My biography of Angleton, The Ghost, will be published in the fall of 2017. It can be preordered now.
In Literary Agents, Patrick Iber of the New Republic delves into the role of the CIA in the culture Cold War. He doesn’t specifically mention the role of Cord Meyer and James Angleton but they were probably the two CIA officials most responsible for CIA cultural funding between 1954 and 1967,
Iber captures what was most problematic about the CIA’s role, something I will touch on in my forthcoming Angleton biography.
Allen’s ascendency brought furtive characters, such as gun-toting William Harvey and cadaverous James Jesus Angelton, into a powerful global apparatus. Cold War ideology brooked no nationalist aspirations in any country wishing to control domestic politics and natural resources. A post-colonial era was emerging. But democratically elected nationalist leaders such as Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala were conveniently portrayed as communists. In both countries, the CIA orchestrated coups ensuring protection for profitable corporate oil interests and the United Fruit Co. The agency contributed to the killing of Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic Congolese leader who only wanted self-government for his beleaguered people.