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James Jesus Angleton: Was He Right? An EJE Original [Kindle Edition]

Edward Jay Epstein
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A new biography of James Jesus Angleton by Edward Jay Epstein that asks the question: was he right after all? Angleton was the legendary head of CIA counterintelligence during most of the Cold War.. In May 1987, in one of his last phone calls, he told Dick Cheney, who was then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, that he needed to tell him in person something of vital importance. Even though Angleton died before the scheduled meeting, taking this secret to the grave with him, his mystery lived on.
John Le Carre could not have invented a character as intriguing as Angleton. He was ridiculed in the media, Congress, and in the CIA itself, when his mole hunt failed to find a spy in the CIA Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein tells of his rise, fall, and the astounding revelations that emerged in the CIA after his death. Epstein .spent hundreds of hours interviewing him to understand the mind of this unique mind warrior. He met with him in orchid greenhouses in Kensington, Maryland, dining clubs in Washington DC, and his home in Tucson, Arizona to follow the convoluted layers of his universe of deception. Epstein also was one of the few journalist to interview his arch nemesis: Yuri Nosenko. In this extraordinary book, he sets out to answer a single question: Was Angleton right that the CIA had been penetrated?
Along the way we also learn much about the CIA and KGB during the cold war years, including:

+ Why KGB defector Yuri Nosenko was imprisoned by the CIA ...

+ What was Angleton’s role in the CIA assassination plots against Castro ...

+ How the CIA allowed the KGB to disinform two Presidents.

+ What weaknesses KGB spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen exposed in the CIA

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward Jay Epstein is the author of fifteen books. He studied government at Cornell and Harvard and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. His thesis on the search for political truth became a best-selling book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth. His doctoral dissertation on television news was published as News From Nowhere. He is the recipient of numerous foundation grants and awards, including the prestigious Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award for both best biography and best business book for Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer. He has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1193 KB
  • Print Length: 91 pages
  • Publisher: EJE Publications (December 28, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LPE5SC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,075 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Overview of CIA's Weakness to fake defectors October 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story is topical because about a year ago the CIA lost nine people to a suicide bomber "triple agent" in Afghanistan. He was recruited by the Jordanian intelligence service and purported to be an Al Qaeda agent who was going to double cross them. It was all a trap and when he had a big meeting with top CIA field agents in Afghanistan he blew himself up. The CIA bosses (not necessarily confined to Langley) refused to heed warnings from at least one skeptical operative that the guy was not trustworthy. So he was not strip searched in advance of the meeting and the bomb went undetected.

During the Cold War the Soviets repeatedly played the CIA for suckers with fake defectors. During most of Angleton's career at the CIA he was head of the Counterintelligence Office that was tasked with checking out potential "sources" and defectors. The Intelligence part of the CIA resented him and his people because recruiting a Soviet-bloc intelligence agent was how you moved up in the ranks. So there was a built-in bias to buy whatever was being offered. The other problem is that the KGB succeeded in recruiting moles (traitors) in practically every major intelligence service in the US: CIA, FBI and NSA. The moles provided a feedback loop to the KGB so they knew how to suck the CIA into a deception. A mole could also (sometimes) misdirect counter-intelligence efforts.

Angleton was forced to retire in 1975 at age 58. He never found the KGB's moles. He died in about 1987, but before then he was extensively interviewed by the author. It's a well told story, albeit a little short. I've read a few books through the years in this area and the "theory of the case" in this book rings true.

One book that backs him up is Programmed to Kill by Lt. Gen.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY....... January 16, 2013
By R. Lacy
Format:Kindle Edition
DO NOT BUY this book (ebook).

OK, here is an update, March 14, 2014. Some people have read my review and disagree with it. They like the shorter version and maybe that they can save $1.00. However, personally I would prefer the pay the extra DOLLAR and get another seven and half chapters. If you like the shorter version, just buy the one for $5.99 and only read the first six and a half chapters!

- - - - - - Original Review - - - - - -
I bought it today (01/16/2013) and just finished reading it. Then I bought the book 'Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA' by the same author.

"James Jesus Angleton: Was He Right?" is in fact the first six and a half chapters of the second book, 'Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA', by Edward Epstein!

I would call it a SCAM BUT maybe they decided to do a shorter version so people would at least get the crux of the story. However, IF you buy the FIRST one you are only buying a portion of 'Deception: The Invisible War Between the CIA and the KGB'!

I don't know the REASON this but it IS 'word for word', with a few errors thrown in for good measure. IT is NOT a different book! So I would recommend that you buy the ebook 'Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA' and you will get this story about James Jesus Angleton, plus MORE.

I just started reading 'Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA' so I cannot review it YET, but will within the next 24 hours.

In reviewing the contents of this book I can say, it is a very interesting read, one which seems to be right on. I am a retired police officer (20+ years) and private investigator (also 20+ years).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting view of a brilliant man October 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Early in his career at the CIA, which spanned the Cold War, James Angleton discovered that he had been badly duped by the Russians. For the rest of his career, he tried to understand why and his answer to this question is the skeleton of this book. Successful deception of the other side, Angleton concluded, required two elements: a way to feed false information; and a mole inside the other side's intelligence gathering to provide feedback. It is clear that the Russians understood this much better than the Americans. Eventually Angleton was pushed out -- his colleagues called him "paranoid" for thinking the Russians could easily have moles inside the CIA. But, after his death, it turned out he was right (e.g., Aldrich Ames). This book is the thinking man's guide to the thinking man's spy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
James Jesus Angleton was a legend in his own time, and his legend lives on. He started his intelligence career with the storied Office of Strategic Services and later became the CIA's Chief of Counter-Intelligence. In this latter role Angleton passionately believed that his mission was to protect the CIA and other intelligence agencies against the danger of foreign (KGB/Soviet) penetration. He believed that the KGB was working relentlessly to infiltrate the CIA in order to: a) prevent the CIA from gathering meaningful intelligence against the Soviet Union; and b) affect the CIA's perception of the Soviets in a manner that would cause the CIA to misdirect the US president and government. It is notorious that Angleton was himself taken in by British traitor Kim Philby, with whom Angleton shared secrets while Philby was spying for Russia. After this debacle (and perhaps even before) Angleton believed that there were Soviet penetration agents embedded in the CIA ("moles") and he worked to root them out. In doing so, Angleton wrecked careers and made enemies. Too many enemies, as it turned out. Eventually others within CIA turned against Angleton and believed that his "paranoia" was itself nullifying the effectiveness of the agency. Ultimately he was forced out.

This book takes a candid look at the above controversy and comes down solidly on the side of Angleton. Alrich Ames (of the CIA) and Robert Hanssen (of the FBI) were two moles that betrayed America's secrets for decades and allowed the KGB to do precisely what Angleton was worried about: negate the ability of the CIA to spy on Russia, and feed America disinformation. Ames was apparently able to pass the vaunted CIA lie detector "flutter" tests, and the FBI apparently did not "flutter" Hanssen at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily interesting another view of Jesus James which I had...
Extraordinarily interesting another view of Jesus James which I had never before looked at. Quite an extraordinary individual in extraordinary times.
Published 16 days ago by bill
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Intriguing man... disappointing treatment.
Published 24 days ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars good read - haphazardly written
Drudgery pure and simple. A rehash of pro's and cons of CIA operation biased by a gossipy tome. I have read better books on the subject. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert D. Sheets
4.0 out of 5 stars Open Source Intelligence is the Way to go.
Was Angleton right? Perhaps not all the time, but when only one mole could ruin a network, he was one to listen to. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gary E. Masters
4.0 out of 5 stars but I know that the poor editing would serve as an intellectual...
Would have been five stars but the book was poorly edited, if at all. It is frustrating to me to see all the type-os and errors, as if Microsoft word did the editing, because this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Slaytan
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting take on questions probably without answers. A a ...
Interesting take on questions probably without answers. A a former intelligence officer I do not dismiss Angleton out of hand..
Published 6 months ago by charles mccoy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything ok.
Published 6 months ago by Josef Piehler
5.0 out of 5 stars Angleton was on the right track!
Sadly, Angleton was proven correct when Ames and the FBI dude, Hansen were arrested years later. A fascinating look into how J. J. Read more
Published 7 months ago by German Archila
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book & Quick Read
Interesting Book and a Quick Read. This is rather a short book with 105 pages, but the writing was direct and to the point which I like. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris D Gilleland
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating. Evidently they had to wait a half a ...
Fascinating. Evidently they had to wait a half a century to let us know about all the things going on in the spooks' world. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Carlos Ramos Mattei
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More About the Author

I studied government at Cornell and Harvard, and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. My master's thesis on the search for political truth ("Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth" and my doctoral dissertation ("News From Nowhere") were both published as books. I taught political science at MIT and UCLA. I have now written 14 books. My website

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