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Tuesday, 30 April 2013 20:39

Ron Rosenbaum Fires the First Salvo, Part 2

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Rosenbaum represents all that is wrong with the MSM on both Jim Angleton and the JFK case, writes Jim DiEugenio.


Rosenbaum Whitewashes Angleton


In Part 1 of this article we detailed the rather systematic way in which, in 1983, MSM journalist Ron Rosenbaum did all he could to demean the Warren Commission critics and cheapen any real investigation into the JFK case. That article, "Still on the Case' was penned for Texas Monthly, which, for decades, has provided a welcome outlet for writers who cover-up the JFK case.

Just a month before that, in October of 1983, Rosenbaum did a rather curious, actually bizarre essay about James Angleton. On April 10, 2013, from his perch in Slate, he more or less recycled his 1983 essay and coupled it with a cover story about Lee Harvey Oswald. One written by a former intelligence analyst that blamed JFK's murder on Oswald and indirectly, Fidel Castro. A tall tale that would bring a wink and a nod from Angleton's ghost. Which seems to be something Rosenbaum is very interested in doing. But which today, with what we know about the fruity Angleton, simply will not fly. And it is very hard to think that Rosenbaum is not aware of it. Which makes it even more puzzling as to why he tries to get away with it.

I

Before trying to answer the question about Rosenbaum's bona fides, let us do two things. Let us review who Jim Angleton was, and then review Rosenbaum's writings about him. That will provide the scaffolding to properly approach his 2013 essay.

During World War II, Hugh Angleton pulled some strings and got his son out of the infantry and into counter-intelligence work in the OSS. This division was called X-2. Stationed in London, Jim rose to man the Italy desk for the OSS. (Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior, p. 38) Late in 1944, he was transferred to Rome, and became the top counter-intelligence chief for Italy. He had a high clearance and shared in the Ultra Secret, the breaking of the German spy code. Angleton stayed in Italy after the war. He developed connections with other spy services. And because he has met Allen Dulles there, he helped Dulles rig the 1948 Italian elections to prevent a likely communist victory. As Christopher Simpson noted in his book Blowback, this was done from the offices of the Dulles brothers law firm Sullivan and Cromwell. Angleton worked with the Dulles brothers, Foster and Allen, plus Frank Wisner, and Bill Colby. (Simpson, p. 90)

Allen Dulles and Angleton had become great friends in Italy. Therefore, when the CIA was formed in 1947, Allen used his considerable influence to make sure Angleton was part of it. And Angleton brought in another friend he met in Italy, Ray Rocca. (Mangold, p. 45) Rocca would serve as Jim's close assistant until the end of his career in 1975. Angleton was responsible for collection of foreign intelligence and liaisoning with other intelligence agencies. He eventually took over the CIA's Israeli desk. And he became involved in Wisner's attempt to roll back Soviet domination in East Europe.

It was when Dulles became Deputy Director in 1953, and then Director in 1954, that Angleton began to carve out his Counter-Intelligence domain. As Tom Mangold notes in his book, it is not really possible to exaggerate the impact Dulles had on Angleton''s career. As he writes, "his sponsorship of Angleton and his staff was the key factor in the untrammeled growth of Angleton's internal authority." (ibid, p. 50) In fact, after the war Angleton was thinking of taking a job under his father with NCR. But it was Dulles who insisted he stick with intelligence work. (Ibid) It was the freedom that Dulles gave Angleton that allowed the CI chief to essentially build his own arm of the Agency. A branch that would eventually number close to 200 persons. But more importantly, it would allow him to work both outside of anyone's purview and outside any legal restrictions. When Dulles was fired by President Kennedy, Angleton's power was now protected by Richard Helms who was Director of Operations, then Deputy Director, and then DCI from 1962-1973. In other words, Angleton worked without regulation or review for two decades. (Ibid, pgs. 51-52) As we shall see, this was a blunder of titanic proportions. One which the public was not made fully aware of until 1991. Four years after Angleton had passed away.

II

After Britain's intervention in the Russian Civil War, the NKVD (precursor to the KGB) decided to begin a long-term internal subversion project against England. One which had tremendous potential for long term profits.

The idea was to recruit spies at the upper class, elite institute of higher learning, Cambridge. The most famous group recruited was later termed the Cambridge Five. This consisted of Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, Donald McLean, John Cairncross, and, most importantly to our story, Kim Philby. All five of these men ended up in high positions in the British government, serving in either MI5 or MI6; the former corresponds to the FBI, the latter to the CIA. The five men were all in position throughout World War II and beyond, well into the beginning of the Cold War. (The film Another Country is based on the origins of this ring and focuses on Burgess.)

At Cambridge, Philby was a member of the outspoken left which critiqued the Labor Party, a group called the Cambridge University Socialist Society. After a trip to Berlin, where he saw the Nazi persecution of communists, he then navigated over to the Comintern. Further, Philby's first wife, Litzi Friedman, was certainly a socialist, probably a communist. He met her in Austria where he was trying to help the country resist the German Anschluss, and also aiding the Comintern in enabling communists to escape Hitler. From there on in, Philby did all he could to conceal his leftist sympathies and replace them with a conservative veneer.

In 1937, as a journalist, he went to Spain and was actually decorated by the fascist General Francisco Franco. On his return to London, he finally became what the NKVD hoped he would: a member of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. He worked there along with Burgess.

Philby was quite good at climbing the ladder. For in 1944 he became chief of the Soviet and communist division. In other words, he could tell Stalin everything the British knew about him. Plus, he was in position to mislead MI6 about Stalin's plans. He was even in position to know about NKVD defectors who could expose him. Which prospective defector Konstantin Volkov tried to do, but which Philby was in perfect position to stop. And he did. In fact, in 1945, Philby received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his intelligence work during the war. The Queen did not know that, at around the same time, the NKVD was secretly honoring Philby for what he was doing for them.

In 1949, Philby was transferred to Washington. He became the British liaison to the CIA and FBI. Burgess also joined him, and they worked out of the British Embassy. It was there that both of the deep cover spies met James Angleton and William Harvey.

III

FBI code breaking analyst Robert Lamphere said about Philby's position in Washington that he was in "as perfect a spot for the Soviets as they could possibly get a man." (David Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors, p. 44) For instance, Philby was knowledgeable about the hunt for the spy ring that gave away the secret of the atom bomb. Kim Philby "was aware of the results of the ... investigation of Klaus Fuchs." (ibid) Philby even knew about the upcoming arrests of the Rosenbergs and Morton Sobell. But in spite of that knowledge, the Russians chose to sacrifice the trio rather than run the risk of exposing Philby.

At this time, 1949-51, one of Angleton's duties was to be formal liaison to high-ranking foreign intelligence officers. This coincided with Philby's tour of duty in Washington. Philby later said that the two men would lunch about three times every two weeks and speak on the phone 3-4 times per week. (Mangold,p. 64) Angleton's secretary would escort Philby into his office and she would then type up the oral dictation Jim made of those meetings into memoranda. (Ibid, p. 65) As Philby said, he cultivated Angleton socially since he thought that, "the greater the trust between us overtly, the less he would suspect covert action." He then added that he was not sure who gained the most from this complex game-playing: "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 business he did not know." (ibid, p. 65)

What brought it all down was that the FBI found out the Soviets had intercepted a telegram from Winston Churchill to President Truman. They didn't know who did it, but they knew he worked from inside the British Embassy. (Martin, p. 44) The inquiry then worked its way from the bottom upward. FBI analyst Robert Lamphere was one of the men who had access to the Venona crypts. This was the FBI's deciphering of the Soviet secret code. The Bureau now began to center on a man named HOMER in the Venona codes. Philby knew who this man was. And he thought he would crack if the CIA or FBI got to him and questioned him. And if he did, that could expose Burgess and himself.

Guy Burgess had gone from MI6 to the BBC to the Foreign Service. He was living as a lodger in Philby's Washington home at this time. One night, Philby had a dinner party for Lamphere, Angelton, Harvey and their wives. Libby Harvey got a little tipsy. Burgess was fond of drawing caricatures of people. He drew an obscene one of Libby. Bill Harvey didn't think it was funny and took a swing at him. Angleton jumped between them. And Philby tried to usher the guests out before any more violence took place. (Martin, p . 48)

It turned out that the HOMER in Venona was McLean. With that knowledge, Philby knew he had to get McLean out of London before MI5 could act on that information. But it could not appear that he was the one warning him. Therefore, he had put Burgess up to acting outrageously e.g. with Libby. Burgess also pulled the stunt of getting three traffic tickets in one day. And he mouthed off to the officers in all three instances. The combination of these acts finally did the trick. Burgess was recalled to London. McLean had been scheduled to be questioned by MI5 on Monday, May 28, 1951. On Thursday, May 24th, Burgess arrived in England. Once he landed, he told a fellow passenger that, "A young friend of mine in the Foreign Office is in serious trouble. I am the only one who can help him." (ibid, p. 50) He then rented a car and drove to McLean's home. Burgess now drove his fellow Cambridge spy to Southampton, where they boarded a cross-channel ship to Saint-Malo. From there they went to Rennes and caught a train to Paris. Neither man was seen in public again until they held a joint press conference in Moscow in 1956. (ibid)

To this day, no one knows why Burgess left England with McLean. Those were not Philby's instructions. Until the end of his life, Philby never forgave Burgess for disobeying him. For the fact is that Philby knew about Venona and HOMER. Burgess had been Philby's lodger, and now Burgess had fled also. This now did what nothing had ever done before: it cast suspicion on Philby himself. Was he The Third Man who had tipped off his two spy friends?

CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith asked Harvey and Angleton to write up reports of what they knew about Burgess, his ties to Philby, and who they thought Philby was. (Mangold, p. 65) Harvey's five-pager was an accusatory masterpiece. It was full of hard facts that built a strong circumstantial case that Philby had sent Burgess to aid his fellow Cambridge spy. But it went further. It declared that Philby had also been the one to derail the Volkov defection in order to save himself. Which was true. (Martin, p. 54)

On the other hand, Angleton's memo was fuzzy and impressionistic. It noted some oddities about Burgess, but seemed to excuse Philby on the grounds he was unwise in his choice of friends. A CIA officer who saw the report described it as, "a rambling, inchoate, and incredibly sloppy note." Angleton even told Smith not to tell the British Philby might be a spy since it would damage CIA-MI6 relations. (Mangold, p. 66) Wisely, Smith forwarded SIS the Harvey memo. They used it to, at first, examine and then suspend Philby. But after years of inquiry, Philby did not confess. And they could not find any hard evidence to expose him. Cleared in public by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, he was later brought back as a low level British agent in Lebanon, where he also served as a reporter. In 1963, MI6 finally put together a substantial case against him. An agent was sent to induce Philby to confess in return for immunity. Philby agreed and asked for time to set his affairs in order. This ended up being an excuse to arrange for his passage to Moscow. It was now certain that Philby was perhaps the highest level Soviet agent to ever operate in London and Washington. And it was also clear that Angleton could not have been more wrong about his friend.

IV

That Angleton was tricked by Philby could not really be held against him. Because Philby had done that to many people on both sides of the Atlantic. But the fact that Angleton was still in the dark afterwards, when Burgess and McLean had escaped, that should have been a tell-tale sign to everyone involved. Especially in comparison to the fact that Harvey had been uncannily accurate about Philby and his career. Making the comparison even worse was that, "No one had known Philby better or spent more time with him than Angleton." (Martin, p. 55) In fact, up to the moment he was recalled to London, Philby was still chumming around with Angleton. Harvey was shocked at this. To the point that he actually thought that Angleton might be a Soviet agent. (Ibid, p. 57) In fact, even in 1952, when Philby was in the process of being thoroughly examined and then suspended, Angleton was still in his camp. He actually told another British intelligence officer that Philby would one day lead MI6. (Mangold, p. 66)

In 1963, when the master spy had escaped to Moscow, Angleton finally got around to issuing a damage report on Philby. And even that was sketchy and incomplete. (Ibid, p. 67) But further, the real data upon which any accurate damage report would be based was the record contained in the memos of the Philby/Angleton meetings. As we have seen, these had been dictated by Angleton after each instance. These should have been examined by a team of analysts. But Angleton never volunteered those memos to any higher authority. After he was forced into retirement, there was a thorough search of his office. Not a single memo was found. There was evidence, a sign in sheet, of 36 meetings in his office (Ibid) There should have been 36 memoranda discovered. None were available.

When Angleton became Chief of Counter-Intelligence, he controlled the Philby file. It was locked in a vault next to his office. No one could have stopped him from pilfering from it. Peter Wright of MI5 told biographer Tom Mangold that Angleton burned the memos of those meetings. Wright knew this because Angleton told him about it. Wright wanted them produced for his own investigation. When he asked for them, Jim A. said, "They're gone Peter. I had them burned. It was all very embarrassing." (ibid, p. 68)

Leonard McCoy, who became Deputy Chief of Counter-Intelligence after Angleton left, said that the CIA had all kinds of operations going on at the time in areas like Albania, the Baltics, Ukraine, Turkey and southern Russia. They also had "stay behind" projects in East Europe. Almost all of them were rolled up by the Russians and their allies. McCoy said it was unfair to blame it all on Angleton's closeness to Philby. But it would also be unfair to say that none of it was caused by that friendship. (ibid) McCoy said that this was a most difficult episode for Angleton to assimilate. Both the personal betrayal and the damage done to the CIA and the USA were owed in part to a man Angleton completely trusted. Consequently, he very seldom talked about it.

But he did say some words to Wright. Wright said, "Jim was obsessed by Kim's betrayal ... .Can you imagine how much information he had to trade in those booze-ups?" Wright said that Angleton talked about killing Philby. (Ibid, pgs. 68-69) He concluded that, "Jim developed an awful trauma about British spies. Kim did a lot of damage to Jim. A lot of damage." Cicely Angleton said that Philby's betrayal hurt her husband, "terribly deeply-it was a bitter blow he never forgot." In fact, after Philby went to Russia, Angleton thought that Philby was still "maintaining the campaign against Western intelligence from Moscow." Walter Elder, special assistant to CIA Director John McCone from 1961-65, said that Philby's betrayal was a very important event in Angleton's life: "The Philby affair had a deep and profound effect on Jim. He just couldn't let the Philby thing go. Philby was eventually to fit neatly into Jim's perception of a Soviet "master plan" to deceive the entire West." Elder continued in this vein thusly: "Long after Philby's defection in 1963, Jim just continued to think that Philby was a key actor in the KGB grand plan. Philby remained very prominent in Jim's philosophy about how the KGB orchestrated the "master plan" scenario."

As we shall see, Elder is talking about Angleton's reception to Major Anatoli Golitsyn of the KGB. A defector whom Angleton-to put it mildly-placed too much trust in. And that misguided trust originated in the paranoia of the Philby betrayal. Angleton bought into Golitsyn's wild and lurid portrayals of a KGB 'monster plot' because it fit the state of mind he was in after Philby's personal treachery. As we shall see, this does appear to be one way to explain the incredible scenarios that Angleton fell for at the hands of Golitsyn.

V

According to Rosenbaum's 1983 article in Harper's, all the above is wrong. Why? Sit down please. Because Ron tells us that it was Angleton who was playing Philby. Therefore, all the above was a beautiful act by Jim A. The lamentations to his wife, to Peter Wright, his reluctance to turn over the memoranda which would have shown the information Angleton and Philby shared. According to Ron, Angleton even let all those operations in East Europe, and other places in Central Europe be rolled up. In other words, he got people killed because he was playing up to Philby to get his confidence.

Then what is one to make of all the honors bestowed upon Philby when he finally fled to the USSR? Continuing and up to his burial with full honors, and a posthumous stamp issued with his name on it. Was that all unearned? Because, according to Ron, Philby was really informing to Angleton all the time he was in the USSR. Even though Angleton, as we have seen, told others at the time that Philby was still leading the KGB "master plan" from Moscow.

It should be added, the above is just the beginning of the honors Philby won in the USSR. Before his death, he received the Order of Lenin, one of the highest honors a civilian could attain in the USSR. The KGB actually protected him from assassination. At his wake, several KGB agents made commemorative speeches as to his importance. He was then buried in the exclusive Kuntsevo Cemetery, a place where former premier Georgy Malenkov was buried. After his death, he had his plaque placed at the current Russian spy service center, and his portrait is in the Hall of Heroes.

But according to Ron, those Russkies are just plain stupid. What is Ron's evidence for the Russians being so dang dumb and honoring a guy who was just a tool of Angleton? If you read Ron's article in the 1983 Harper's, as collected in his anthology Travels with Dr. Death, its actually two sources: William Corson and Teddy Kollek. Both say that Angleton was informed of the Cambridge group at the time he knew Philby in Washington. (See Rosenbaum, Travels with Dr. Death, pgs. 23-25.)

Now, from just the mention of the two names, this is strained even for Rosenbaum. Why? Because Corson was part of a circle of intelligence officers and reporters who worked with Angleton! After he left the CIA, that particular circle also included former Agency officer Robert Trumbull Crowley, and journalist Joseph Trento. Corson was a Marine in Vietnam who worked with the Southeast Asia Intelligence Force. There he became close with the CIA. Crowley and Angleton were friends and colleagues in the Agency. Corson wrote a book with Crowley called The New KGB. This book clearly showed the influence of Angleton's thinking. Because it really was more of a history of the KGB rather than a current dossier on who they were. But further, it said that the Communist Party was not really in charge of the USSR anymore, the KGB was. Therefore, there was no real hope for detente. And "Soviet professions of reasonableness are pretense, a smokescreen behind which Russia under its new KGB masters reverts to harshest Stalinism." With that in mind, there was little left to do but hold the USSR at "arm's length and proceed with President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative or "Star Wars" program. (New York Times, July 7, 1985)

What is incredible about this is that the book was published the year Mikhail Gorbachev came to power! In fact, it was published four months after he became General Secretary. This is how wrong the authors were. And Angleton was right there with them since he was still saying similar things about the USSR at that time. (Mangold, p. 356) Now, in itself, that is something interesting that Rosenbaum does not inform the reader about. For if Philby was really Angleton's tool, and he was now stationed in Moscow, why would Angleton and his circle still be so wrong about who Gorbachev was? And this was just two years before Angleton's death. If any such communication existed-and there is no evidence it did-then it indicates Philby was still tricking Angleton.

What about Kollek? Kollek was a long time Zionist who became the Mayor of Jerusalem in 1965. Angleton took over the Israeli desk in 1949 and was criticized by many for being too favorable to Israel during his tenure. Therefore, when Kollek says in a 1977 book on Anthony Blunt that he passed on the identity of the fifth member of the Cambridge spy ring to Angleton, one has to raise an eyebrow. (Rosenbaum, p. 25) Besides the fact that the "Fifth Man" was not who Kollek says he was, there is the problem that this "revelation" came in 1977 from a friend of Angleton's. (Just as the "revelation" from Corson came out in 1977.) In other words, just two years after Angleton was fired, his friends now came out with these glimmers that Angleton was really aware of what Philby was doing all along.

How weak are these excuses? Even Rosenbaum and Angleton have to acknowledge their transparent flimsiness. When Rosenbaum calls Jim A. for a comment on these newly discovered secrets--which arrive about 26 years too late--Angleton replies: "My Israeli friends have always been among the most loyal I've had. Perhaps the only ones to remain loyal." (Ibid) For once Angleton and the author agree on something: His friends are trying to (unjustifiably) redeem him. In fact, Rosenbaum himself admits this may be true. In one moment he writes that, "Needless to say, there will be those among Angleton's many critics who would say that the whole notion ... was carefully planted by Angleton and his allies in an attempt to turn his most mortifying failure-the Philby case-into a clandestine success." (ibid, p. 26)

It is reassuring that even Rosenbaum is sometimes able to discern the obvious.

VI

Except there is even falsity in that above admission. Because Philby was not Angleton's "most mortifying failure". Most people would easily hand that honor to Anatoli Golitsyn. But in his writing on Angleton, Rosenabum has always been reluctant to fully describe just how blind Angleton was to Golitsyn's fantasies. Or that Anatoli was manipulating Angleton for his own personal gain. Which he was. Golitsin was an ordinary KGB analyst who defected in December of 1961. When asked if he knew of any KGB double agents in Washington, he said he knew none. But he did know one of them in Europe who was codenamed SASHA. (Mangold p. 75)

Very quickly, Golitsyn showed signs of megalomania. After a few weeks in America, he said he was tired of dealing with low level case officers like Dick Helms. (Who happened to be the number three guy in the CIA at the time.) He wanted to see President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. (Ibid, pgs. 76-77) He also wanted 15 million dollars to direct an organization to begin his plan to overthrow the USSR.

Golitsyn did not get to see President Kennedy, but he did meet with Director John McCone--more than once. When he was asked to place his ideas about defeating the KGB in writing, he would not. McCone's assistant concluded that, "Golitsyn was basically a technician. He had no knowledge of Soviet policy or decision-making processes at the high levels." (Ibid, p. 77) But further, Angleton then got him a meeting with Allen Dulles. When Dulles asked him if he knew of any KGB penetration agent within the CIA, Golitsyn said he did not. (Ibid, p. 78)

What these two episodes prove is that other people saw through Golitsyn rather quickly and easily. And second, Golitsyn later changed his story about a KGB mole inside the CIA. Yet, in spite of all this, Angleton continued to buy into him for 12 more years.

Angleton did more than buy into him. He helped create and aggrandize Golitsyn. He violated a cardinal rule about defectors. He gave Golitsyn access to top secret Soviet Division files. He then laid down rules for how other agencies could interview him. This had the effect of letting Anatoli now create his own espionage tales, at the same time he was being at least partially protected by Angleton. But further, in the middle of a military debrief, Angleton arranged for Golitsyn to have an expenses paid two-week vacation to Disneyland. (Ibid, p. 81) But when he returned for the debrief, he was caught dead to rights creating a false story about how the KGB had gained access to a sensitive portion of the US Embassy in Moscow. (ibid) When confronted with this lie, Golitsyn walked out of the debrief. And he did not return.

This pattern was repeated time after time during Golitsyn's first year in America. He would be caught making something up, Angleton would ignore it, and he would demand, and get, more access to secret files. Sometimes he would even get access to the files of other agencies, like the FBI.

But then Golitsyn made a claim that sealed Angleton's fate. And his eventual disgrace. Anatoli told Jim that he should not listen to any defectors who followed him. Because they would all be fakes sent by the KGB for the purpose of discrediting him. This was part of the Soviet master plan, which also included secret messages in newspaper clippings. (Mangold, p. 87)

Angleton was not content with allowing Golitsyn to only foul the intelligence networks in America. He then allowed him to do the same in England and France. He then would charge handsome fees for doing so. After seeing their files, he then would finger certain operatives. In England it was Roger Hollis and Graham Mitchell. But he also claimed that Labor candidate for prime minister, Hugh Gaitskell, was killed in order to allow Harold Wilson to take office. Therefore, the natural assumption was that Wilson was really a KGB asset. (Mangold, p. 95) Thus began a whisper campaign against Wilson.

Armed with files from the CIA, FBI, MI5 and MI6, Golitsyn now pronounced any attempt at detente with the Russians to be useless. He also said that the idea of a Sino-Soviet split was part of the "master plan" to deceive the West. (It had actually begun in 1960 and was in full bloom by 1962) He also said that the idea that Eastern Europe wanted to be free from the USSR, that was also a deception and part of the master plan. And now he reversed himself on a key issue: the KGB had planted domestic agents inside the CIA.

The more extreme Golitsyn got, the more Angleton liked it. When he returned from England, Anatoli got three gifts from his benefactor. He lent him his own lawyer-accountant, Mario Brod. He gave him a cash reward of 200,000 dollars. (Which would be about a million dollars today.) He then introduced him to a first-class stockbroker, James Dudley. In other words, as Golitsyn began to foul up the CIA's operations here and abroad, Angleton began to personally reward him in ways that the middle level analyst had never dreamed of. The defector now bought a New York City townhouse and a farm in upstate New York. So the question then becomes: If you were Golitsyn, wouldn't you also tell your benefactor not to trust any other defectors? If he did, they could endanger Golitsyn's new status and prestige.

Which is what happened with Yuri Nosenko.

VII

It is difficult to talk about the Nosenko case without referring to Edward Epstein. And it's difficult to talk about Rosenbaum without mentioning Epstein. For the simple reason that Rosenbaum once wrote that Epstein's Legend was a groundbreaking piece of work. (Rosenbaum, p. 37) Today, with later, more honest books about Angleton, most would disagree with that assessment. Most people would say that, like what Corson and Kollek did, Legend was a propaganda piece for Angleton. It was published around the same time, and it was a way for Angleton to press his case that William Colby had fired him unjustly.

In the wake of all the information we have today, Angleton's complaint against Colby is simply not credible. The truth is Nosenko was one of the most valuable defectors the CIA ever had. His information was much more valuable than Golitsyn's. And it had very few, if any of the liabilities. Further, he had a much higher batting average. That is, his leads panned out at a much higher rate than Anatoli's did. (Mangold, pgs. 333-34) But the point is that, by buying into the KGB 'master plan', that all other defectors would be fakes, Angleton ignored defectors who had an even higher batting average than Nosenko.

Just how badly was Angleton tied into Golitsyn's creed? He tried to discredit Nosenko to others months before he ever appeared in America. (Mangold, p. 169) This is an important fact that Epstein does not reveal in Legend. And neither does Rosenbaum. How did Angleton do this? He showed Golitsyn the record of Nosenko's first debrief. This was done in Europe with CIA officer Peter Bagley. Bagley was at first impressed with Nosenko. But now the two men targeted Bagley and turned his opinion around on Nosenko. Epstein later admitted that Bagley had been a major source for him when he wrote Legend. (The Assassination Chronicles, p. 552) But as noted above, Epstein never reveals this plotting by Angleton in his book.

That is a crucial point in the story. Because, as most know today, when Nosenko arrived in America, he was immediately imprisoned. He was then made to undergo intense hostile questioning and a rigged polygraph test. Undoubtedly, part of this was due to the fact that Nosenko actually defected two months after Kennedy's murder. And he told the CIA that Oswald was not a Russian agent, and the KGB had only routinely surveilled him while he was in Russia. (Mangold, p. 174) This was more poison to Angleton. Because he was the CIA's liaison to the Warren Commission at the time. And its clear he was pushing the line that Oswald was a Russian agent and the USSR had been behind the plot to kill Kennedy. In other words, Nosenko endangered both Angelton and Golitsyn.

The basic facts about Nosenko's imprisonment and torture were presented by Epstein. But Mangold's book went much further in detail. Suffice it say, his imprisonment went on for five years. It got so bad that Nosenko went on a hunger strike. When he did, the CIA threatened to feed him intravenously. (Mangold, p. 188) For three years, he was not given anything to read. He did not see a dentist. Therefore, his teeth rotted. His second polygraph was also rigged. (Ibid, p. 189) Bagley wanted him to sign a fake confession for purposes of "disposing" of him.

It wasn't until Nosenko was imprisoned for three years that the tide began to turn against Angleton. Nosenko was finally given over to CIA officers who were not so influenced by Angleton and Golitsyn, and were not so biased against the man. When Bruce Solie of the Office of Security took over the case he was shocked at what he found. He quickly saw that Nosenko's replies had often been mistranslated and the polygraph tests had been gamed against him. He also found out that at least six leads given to Bagley by Nosenko had been ignored. When Solie discovered them and passed them on, they all panned out. Some of them led to arrests. (ibid, p. 198) All of this important information was omitted by both Epstein and Rosenbaum.

But further, Solie found that the reasons given by Bagley for suspecting Nosenko was a false defector were illogical. Nosenko had exaggerated his position in the KGB and lied about certain recall orders. Solie concluded that these kinds of things were commonplace with defectors. The former was used in order to make them more attractive to the CIA, and the latter was done to hurry his exfiltration to the West. (Mangold, p. 197) Solie now gave Nosenko a third polygraph. One that was not done under hostile conditions, nor was it rigged. Nosenko passed. Solie issued a 283 page report saying that Nosenko was a genuine KGB defector. The FBI now took up nine more of his leads. In 1969, Nosenko was finally set free and became a CIA consultant. Every CIA Director after Richard Helms agreed with Solie about Nosenko. In fact, Bill Colby was repelled by what Angleton had done to the man: "The idea that the CIA could put a guy in jail without habeas corpus just scared the living daylights out of me. That kind of intelligence service is a threat to its own people." (Ibid, p. 203)

But what is incredible about the Golitsyn/Angleton folie a deux is that it did not stop with Nosenko. It was repeated in the Yuri Loginov scandal. And again, neither Epstein nor Rosenbaum tell their readers about that. Loginov was also a prospective KGB defector. He was problematic to Angleton because, first, he said Nosenko was genuine, and second he said the Sino-Soviet split was real. But, probably even worse, he said that the exposure of a CIA double agent in Russia, Pyotr Popov, was not done by Golitsyn's alleged mole, but by a mistake in tradecraft the KGB picked up on. (Mangold, pgs. 213-17) Because of this, Loginov was marked as a fake defector. But what Angleton did to Loginov was even worse than what he did to Nosenko. He turned him over to BOSS, the South African intelligence service, as a KGB agent. Without telling them Loginov was working as a double agent for the CIA. But like Nosenko, Loginov would not crack under interrogation. So he was handed over to West Germany and used by them in a spy trade with the Russians. To this day, no one knows for certain what happened to Loginov. There are some reports that he was simply dismissed. There are some reports that he was shot. But Angleton certainly knew that his execution was a probability once he was turned over to BOSS.

In all, Angleton bragged that he turned back 22 defectors as fakes. The CIA later found that every single one of them was genuine. (Mangold, p. 231) Angleton's pathological obsession with Golitsyn had paralyzed the CIA's main mission in the Cold War: to collect reliable human intelligence on what was going on inside the Kremlin.

The ultimate end game of the Angleton/Golitsyn marriage was codenamed HONETOL. This was the formal search for the mole inside the CIA. The mole which, in 1962, Golitsyn told Dulles did not exist. This search never bore any fruit: the mole was never found. But it ended up damaging, in some cases, wrecking the lives of those who came under suspicion. This occurred when Angleton gave Golitsyn their files. By the time it was finished, over 100 people were investigated. It got so bad that, after Colby fired Angleton, an act of congress was passed so that his victims could seek redress for having their careers stalled or destroyed. (Mangold, p. 277) Those were the lucky ones. Because there were victims overseas who could not seek redress from congress. Again, this tragic facet of the Angleton/Golitsyn union is not noted by either Epstein or Rosenbaum.

For the truth about Angleton is easy to apprehend today. Books by Mangold, David Wise, and Michael Holzman were not one-sided mouthpieces for Angleton and his pals, as Legend was. Because toward the end, when Angleton and Golitsyn could not find their invisible mole, they turned inward. They now said a former ally against Nosenko, David Murphy, was the mole. Angleton actually flew to Paris, where Murphy was stationed, to warn the SDECE that Murphy was a double agent. (Mangold, p. 299) By the time Angleton was removed from office, he had investigated Prime Minister Harold Wilson of England, Prime Minister Olof Palme of Sweden, Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany, industrialist Armand Hammer, diplomat Averill Harriman, Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. These were all elements of Golitsyn's 'Monster Plot'.

When Bill Colby took over, he did something unusual with Angleton. He began to review his performance as Counter Intelligence Chief. He later commented, "I couldn't find that we caught a spy under Jim. That really bothered me." (Mangold, p. 313) The further he looked the more obvious it became to Colby, "He was not a good CI Chief." (ibid) For example, Colby could not find one productive operation Angleton was running in the USSR. Angleton's division was on its own, cut off from the CIA. So much so that it had almost nothing to do with the rest of the Agency. When Colby found out that Angleton had routed all Israeli communications to himself, not to be shared with other Mideast stations, he took him off the Israeli desk. For this had prevented effective communications during the Yom Kippur War. (Ibid, p. 314) Colby also found out that Angleton was actually running agents through a private person, his lawyer Mario Brod.

That was it for Colby. He called Angleton into his office and gave him three options. He could take another job in the Agency, take early retirement or become a consultant. When Angleton declined all three, Colby cooperated with CIA asset Sy Hersh to expose Angleton's roles in an illegal mail intercept project and MH Chaos, a huge domestic surveillance program. Finally, in 1975, Angleton was forced out. At least 13 years too late. Unfortunately, Colby allowed Angleton several weeks to clean out his office. Still, when George Kalaris took over, he was surprised at what he discovered. There were dozens of letters from the illegal mail intercept program that had never been opened. (Ibid, p. 327) Angleton had not left behind the combinations to several safes. Kalaris had to have them blown open. To just recover all the hidden files took several weeks. It took three years to integrate them into the Agency's central filing system.

When Kalaris got to the HONETOL files on Wilson, Roger Hollis, Armand Hammer and Kissinger he was so ashamed at what was in them he had them incinerated. Kalaris commissioned a complete review of Golitsyn's record. He found out that less than 1% of his leads had panned out. (Mangold, pgs. 333-34) Meanwhile, Kalaris discovered another source Angleton had ignored. A Russian military officer from the GRU. Kalaris decided to investigate those ignored leads which had been buried by Angleton. This source, code named NICK NACK, scored a perfect 20 for 20. (Ibid, p. 344)

Kalaris now decided to retire Golitsyn. But he had to get all the files Angleton had given him back. It turned out that Angleton had allowed Anatoli to take FBI files and CIA personnel files to his home! Former CIA analyst Cleveland Cram was brought in to write the history of the CI division. It ended up being 12 volumes long. Cram concluded that Angleton had had a detrimental impact on the CIA. And the Golitsyn years had been a nightmare. (Ibid, p. 345) He also reviewed the literature of the period. He said that Epstein's book Legend was part of a disinformation campaign. And it gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by placing their argument forward first, adroitly but dishonestly.

Angleton never gave up. He told CIA officer Walter Elder that the Church Committee was a KGB plot run by Philby out of Moscow. He was endorsing Goltisyn's pronouncements into the eighties. Even though each of six predictions he made in 1984 turned out to be wrong. This was the true and sorry record of the man praised by Epstein and Rosenbaum. As a spy chief, Angleton was horrid.

VIII

Which brings us to Rosenbaum's 2013 piece in Slate. Like Angleton, Ron just can't give up. His New York Times July 10, 1994 essay on Philby was so confused and unwieldy that Rosenbaum seemed to say it was Philby who planted the idea of a mole in the CIA on Angleton. In fact, it was Golitsyn who did so. In that same 1994 piece, he seemed to drop the whole 'Angleton played Philby' nonsense. He said Philby had only one master, the Soviet Union. He added that only "die-hard supporters of James Angleton" would persist down the Angleton played Philby path.

Well, I guess Ron is a die-hard Angleton supporter. He now tries to bring back the idea he discarded in 1994. In an article called "Philby and Oswald" he is ready to revive the old disinfo. His basis is an Epilogue to a recent novel called Young Philby. And what is Ron's basis for this: an interview the novelist did with Teddy Kollek! Oh my aching back. Let us refer to the wise word of Daniel Wick in his discussion of two books on Philby published back in 1995:

The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that Philby did great harm to the interests of the West and none whatsoever to Soviet interests, and that his treachery caused the deaths of dozens of Western agents while he did nothing that harmed a single Soviet. In the end, pop romantic speculation aside, he was Moscow's man. (LA Times, January 1, 1995)

In this same article, Ron tries to push the terrible book by CIA analyst Brian Latell, Castro's Secrets. I would refer the reader to the ctka review of that book by Arnaldo M. Fernandez. (Castro's Secrets) Once one does that, one will see that Ron is up to his old tricks again. His major endeavor in all this Angleton and Kennedy stuff is to confuse matters. Here is a guy who can write about the JFK case, "every once in a while something new turns up, a new twist, a declassified document an overlooked defector, a forgotten witness." I guess Ron missed those 2 million pages of ARRB declassified documents. He sure missed the declassified Inspector General Report on the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. Because Rosenbaum can write in his 2013 article that Castro was under threat from "assassination plots orchestrated by JFK and his brother Bobby." If Rosenbaum had read the IG report he would have seen that these plots were deliberately kept from the Kennedys by the CIA.

Would that have made any difference to him? Probably not. Rosenbaum is incorrigible. To the author, he represents all that is wrong with the MSM on both Jim Angleton and the JFK case. He can actually write that Angleton had a "mythic reputation within the intel community as the Master of the Game." Whatever reputation Angleton had in the intelligence community has been destroyed with the release of new information about himself and his relationship with Oswald. As we have seen, Angleton was a disaster as a CI Chief. He was taken by not just by Philby but by Golitsyn. And as John Newman shows in his book Oswald and the CIA, he was very likely Oswald's ultimate control agent. (Click here for a review.)

If Rosenbaum is not aware of any of this, then he is irresponsible. If he is aware of it, then he is executing a whitewash. Either way, the man is irrelevant to the matters he is writing about on this the 50th anniversary of the JFK case.


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Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 19:32
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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