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James Jesus Angleton, the CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence

James Jesus Angleton, the CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 416
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    James Jesus Angleton, the CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence
    Book Description:

    As chief of counterintelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency from the early 1950s to the early 1970s, James Jesus Angleton built a formidable reputation. Although perhaps best known for leading the agency's notorious “Molehunt”—the search for a Soviet spy believed to have infiltrated the upper levels of the American government—Angleton also played a key role in the U.S. intervention in the Italian election of 1948, in Israel's development of nuclear weapons, and in the management of the CIA's investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He later led CIA efforts to contain the Vietnamera antiwar movement, including the campaign to destroy the liberal Catholic magazine Ramparts . In this deeply researched biography, Michael Holzman uses Angleton's story to illuminate the history of the CIA from its founding in the late 1940s to the mid1970s. Like many of his colleagues in the CIA, James Angleton learned the craft of espionage during World War II as an officer in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where he became a friend and protégé of the British double agent Kim Philby. Yet Angleton's approach to counterintelligence was also influenced by his unusual Mexican American family background and his years at Yale as a student of the New Critics and publisher of modernist poets. His marriage to Cicely d'Autremont and the couple's friendship with E. E. and Marion Cummings became part of a network of cultural connections that linked the U.S. secret intelligence services and American writers and artists during the postwar period. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including previously unexamined archival documents, personal letters, and interviews, Holzman looks beneath the surface of Angleton's career to reveal the sensibility that governed not only his personal aims and ambitions but those of the organization he served and helped shape.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-109-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. 1 The Players Are Introduced
    (pp. 1-6)

    Senator Frank Church chaired hearings in 1975 concerning “Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities.” Great public trials—or their close equivalent, congressional hearings such as those of the Church Committee—are a characteristic activity of public life in the United States. The scene of these affairs is theatrical. They are entertainments, mechanisms for incremental change, sometimes educational morality plays. They both instruct and delight. The hearings take place in the heavily ornamented, high-ceilinged rooms of the Capitol, Roman eagles and gilded Corinthian orders striking the note of Shakespearean historical tragedy. The senators in their dark suits and starched white...

  5. 2 Yale English
    (pp. 7-32)

    The poet, James Angleton, was the son of James Hugh Angleton, known as Hugh Angleton, an adventurer who alternated between careers in business and in the military. The elder Angleton had taken part in Pershing’s expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa, during which he met and married Carmen Mercedes Moreno of Nogales, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. The border between the United States and Mexico in that region was, and is, famously permeable. Their son returned to the area throughout his life, marrying into a wealthy Tucson family, the d’Autremonts, which, among other things, allowed him...

  6. 3 OSS
    (pp. 33-54)

    If today you walk down Duke Street or St. James’s from Piccadilly toward Pall Mall, you enter a London of art dealers, banks, and men’s clothing shops. There are paintings by Raphael on sale, if you would like to buy one, or you might wish to have a pair of shoes made for five hundred pounds; you could look into Christie’s to see what sort of antiques are on offer this week, or strike out west to the Ritz for lunch before an afternoon of shopping at Harrods. It is a world where middle-aged Englishmen wearing butcher-striped Turnbull & Asser shirts...

  7. 4 Italy: Eavesdropping on the Pope
    (pp. 55-74)

    The Centro Storico, the old center of Rome, is interestingly dominated, if you happen to be an artillery officer, by the heights of the Borghese Gardens and the Ludovisi district at the top of the Spanish Steps. The Ludovisi district was created in the late nineteenth century from a Prince Ludovisi’s then-suburban estate. Its main avenue, the Via Vittorio Veneto, is today one of Europe’s centers of consumption, restaurants and shops (always referred to as “elegant”) alternating their offerings to the wealthy tourist, who, as often as not, finds lodging there of a style similar to that which can be...

  8. 5 Coup d’État
    (pp. 75-99)

    For most Americans the fires and mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki meant the end of war. The troopships reversed course in mid-voyage to Tokyo Bay; sailors pushed airplanes into the South China Sea and the victorious aircraft carriers set their course for Hawaii; the troops marched from their hometown victory parades to college campuses suddenly forced open to unprecedented numbers—and types—of students by the GI Bill. Even Yale filled with students too battle-hardened and too poor to be absorbed by the old system of casual study and serious socializing. In Washington the managers of the war turned...

  9. 6 Friends, Lovers, and Spies
    (pp. 100-127)

    Much of Angleton’s career was entwined with that of his London colleague Kim Philby, now best known as one of the Cambridge spies. Where at Yale the secret society of Skull and Bones had been the incubator of establishment financial and political figures, at Cambridge the no less secretive Apostles had produced philosophers, poets, and aesthetes. For much of the first half of the twentieth century the Apostles were dominated intellectually by John Maynard Keynes, who, with Lytton Strachey, had made it a tight world of male intellect and homosexuality. The thrills of secrecy, the assumption of superiority, the unquestioned...

  10. 7 The Business of Counterespionage
    (pp. 128-143)

    Let us visualize James Angleton’s life in, say, the first week of May 1959, when he was forty years old and at the peak of his career. Arriving at his office in the old CIA buildings near the Washington Monument at ten or ten-thirty in the morning, he would have available theNew York Timesand theWashington Postand their various Agency supplements. Among the latter were ten daily reports, the most important of which, descending from Truman’s original request for a single intelligence summary, was that prepared for the president. There was a top secret daily intelligence bulletin...

  11. 8 Foreign Liaisons
    (pp. 144-170)

    James Angleton is known—inasmuch as he is known—as the “Molehunter,” a story to which we will turn later. His career from 1948 to 1954 had been that of a foreign intelligence officer with line authority in a number of areas, authority he retained after returning to his métier of counterintelligence. These areas included the Israeli “account” and what was in effect his own foreign intelligence network. A principal part of the latter was based on his relationship with Jay Lovestone. As we have seen in an earlier chapter, Lovestone was a useful agent, having built his own networks...

  12. 9 Illegalities: International Mail
    (pp. 171-182)

    One of Angleton’s first tasks when he had returned to Washington from Italy had been to lay the foundations for a CIA “registry”—the heart of an intelligence organization—along X-2 lines. These efforts culminated, shortly after he became chief of the Counterintelligence Staff, in a program that computerized documents on first-generation, punch-card-driven IBM computers.² Angleton envisioned something like Yale’s Horace Walpole project—that effort to interpret the writings of a minor eighteenth-century figure against the totality of what was known about his times—applied to the tasks of counterintelligence.

    For such an enterprise no piece of information was irrelevant....

  13. 10 Cuba, the Kennedys, and the Molehunt
    (pp. 183-226)

    The Eisenhower administration ended, as it had begun, with covert action campaigns attempting to contain the Soviet Bloc in Europe and prevent its extension into the Third World. In Africa, the overdue and precipitous Belgian action in granting the Congo independence resulted in what might well have been well-anticipated chaos and civil war. The disintegration of the new state seemed for a time to be taking place in order to allow continued exploitation of the mining areas by Belgian interests (a condition and a possibility that remain remarkably persistent). That unhappy country continues to be tormented from time to time...

  14. 11 Illegalities: CHAOS
    (pp. 227-278)

    There is a certain wholly admirable America: a world of beautiful landscapes cherished by a serious and decent people. It can be found in poems nearly forgotten now, Yvor Winters’s “California Oaks,” or some of the lines about her Pennsylvania childhood by H.D. Everyone who knows this country will have their own cherished landscape, their own memories of those gestures of loving kindness that occur everywhere in our exhaustingly complicated society, their own literary touchstones of nostalgia. We can recall Cicely Angleton’s mother, for example, doing her best to be helpful to those she was in a position to help...

  15. 12 Endgame
    (pp. 279-324)

    I have narrated Angleton’s activities as chief of the Counterintelligence Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency separately: the molehunt, the private intelligence networks—Lovestone and others—the Warren Commission and the invention of that useful term of opprobrium, “conspiracy theory,” the interception of mail and telegrams, Operation CHAOS, Israel. But of course they all took place simultaneously, and we have now reached a point where one after another these activities came to an end, at least insofar as they concerned James Angleton.

    The Apostolic Succession in the Central Intelligence Agency led from William Donovan, the Forerunner, through the generals and...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 325-360)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 361-372)
  18. Index
    (pp. 373-399)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 400-400)