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James Jesus Angleton: Was He Right? An EJE Original Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Ion Pacepa, a defector from the Romanian KGB. He makes the case (touched upon in the Angleton book) that the Soviet KGB sent one of their employees to the U.S. as a defector to deflect the inquiry that Lee Harvey Oswald was trained by the KGB during his 2 years in the USSR to serve as an assassin in the USA. When the KGB called off his mission, Oswald went off on his own. The rest his history.
The Angleton book is in desperate need of a copy editor. Every few pages there is a word omitted or a garbled sentence that should have been caught before publication. I've seen my share of pre-publication "page proofs" and this book should have gone through that process with two or more "readers" to catch the obvious errors.
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. There is a fascinating sub-story within this work dealing with the famous Nosenko controversy. Was this Soviet defector a bona fide defector, or, as Angleton believed, was he a false defector, working for Russia? This book goes far to convince the reader that Nosenko was, in fact, a disinformation agent, contrary to what the CIA claims to this day.
This is a short, snappy, and very readable work. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of the CIA-KGB conflict. RJB.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Undoubtedly, James Jesus Angleton was one of the most colorful figures in the world of intelligence and espionage.Read more
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