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About Jefferson Morley
Morley is an investigative reporter and author in Washington DC who has worked as an editor and writer for the Washington Post, Salon, The New Republic, Arms Control Today, and AlterNet. His rich and provocative non-fiction narratives lay bare the inner workings of the CIA with archival research and extensive interviews.
THE GHOST is a companion and sequel to Morley's first book, OUR MAN IN MEXICO: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA (University of Kansas Press, 2008), a riveting and sympathetic biography of the Agency's top man in Mexico in the revolutionary 1960s who was close friends with Angleton.
Morley's ground-breaking journalism about emerging new evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is collected in the Kindle ebook, CIA & JFK: The Last Assassination Secrets.
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"The best book ever written about the strangest CIA chief who ever lived." - Tim Weiner, National Book Award-winning author of Legacy of Ashes
A revelatory new biography of the sinister, powerful, and paranoid man at the heart of the CIA for more than three tumultuous decades.
CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton was one of the most powerful unelected officials in the United States government in the mid-20th century, a ghost of American power. From World War II to the Cold War, Angleton operated beyond the view of the public, Congress, and even the president. He unwittingly shared intelligence secrets with Soviet spy Kim Philby, a member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring. He launched mass surveillance by opening the mail of hundreds of thousands of Americans. He abetted a scheme to aid Israel’s own nuclear efforts, disregarding U.S. security. He committed perjury and obstructed the JFK assassination investigation. He oversaw a massive spying operation on the antiwar and black nationalist movements and he initiated an obsessive search for communist moles that nearly destroyed the Agency.
In The Ghost, investigative reporter Jefferson Morley tells Angleton’s dramatic story, from his friendship with the poet Ezra Pound through the underground gay milieu of mid-century Washington to the Kennedy assassination to the Watergate scandal. From the agency’s MKULTRA mind-control experiments to the wars of the Mideast, Angleton wielded far more power than anyone knew. Yet during his seemingly lawless reign in the CIA, he also proved himself to be a formidable adversary to our nation’s enemies, acquiring a mythic stature within the CIA that continues to this day.
With mordant humor and keen insight, Morley recounts how he and attorney Jim Lesar, a veteran litigator specializing in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), did battle with teams of high-powered Justice Department lawyers in federal court — and scored repeated victories. Yet success led them to a final fatal showdown with D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Morley's unprecedented lawsuit sought the files of George Joannides, a decorated career CIA officer, who ran psychological warfare operations out of Miami and New Orleans in 1963. Morley's on-the-record interviews revealed the CIA man had funded an anti-Castro Cuban student group that publicized the pro-Cuba politics of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who would be accused of killing JFK on November 22, 1963.
Morley v. CIA not only confirmed the agency's financial support for Oswald's Cuban antagonists in 1963. It also revealed a deeper and more disturbing story — how Joannides and the CIA shaped first-day coverage of Kennedy's assassination via a psychological warfare project known by the code name of AMSPELL. In short, Joannides had used his student agents to link Oswald to Castro's Cuba, while concealing the hidden hand of the Agency. As Morley uncovered in his lawsuit, the CIA later honored Joannides with its Career Intelligence Medal.
The story reached a climax in a March 2018 hearing in the federal courthouse in Washington, DC. After four victories in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Morley and Lesar came face to face with Judge (now U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Kavanaugh and two other federal appellate judges to argue that the CIA should be held accountable for withholding JFK documents under the FOIA. The resulting decision exposed how the federal courts sanction JFK secrecy more than a half-century after the tragedy of Dallas.
While the progress of Morley's investigation was ultimately thwarted, Morley discovered where the rest of the story can be found: in the archives of CIA operations in Miami. In short, Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation offers realistic hope for people who want the whole truth about the JFK story.
Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War-a hotbed of spies, revolutionaries, and assassins. The CIA's station there was the front line of the United States' fight against international communism, as important for Latin America as Berlin was for Europe. And its undisputed spymaster was Winston Mackinley Scott.
Chief of the Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969, Win Scott occupied a key position in the founding generation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but until now he has remained a shadowy figure. Investigative reporter Jefferson Morley traces Scott's remarkable career from his humble origins in rural Alabama to wartime G-man to OSS London operative (and close friend of the notorious Kim Philby), to right-hand man of CIA Director Allen Dulles, to his remarkable reign for more than a decade as virtual proconsul in Mexico. Morley also follows the quest of Win Scott's son Michael to confront the reality of his father's life as a spy. He reveals how Scott ran hundreds of covert espionage operations from his headquarters in the U.S. Embassy while keeping three Mexican presidents on the agency's payroll, participating in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and, most intriguingly, overseeing the surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Mexican capital just weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy.
Morley reveals the previously unknown scope of the agency's interest in Oswald in late 1963, identifying for the first time the code names of Scott's surveillance programs that monitored Oswald's movements. He shows that CIA headquarters cut Scott out of the loop of the agency's latest reporting on Oswald before Kennedy was killed. He documents why Scott came to reject a key finding of the Warren Report on the assassination and how his disillusionment with the agency came to worry his longtime friend James Jesus Angleton, legendary chief of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton not only covered up the agency's interest in Oswald but also, after Scott died, absconded with the only copies of his unpublished memoir.
Interweaving Win Scott's personal and professional lives, Morley has crafted a real-life thriller of Cold War intrigue—a compelling saga of espionage that uncovers another chapter in the CIA's history.
Morley, a former reporter for the Washington Post and author of Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, invariably disappoints. “I don’t know. It’s too early to tell.”
Fifty-plus years after JFK’s death, this answer is laughable but serious. The JFK story remains unsettled well into the 21st century, no matter what the various conspiracy and anti-conspiracy theorists may proclaim. Indeed, the complex reality of how a president of the United States came to be gunned down on a sunny day, and no one lost his liberty — or his job — continues to live and grow in popular memory.
This is a book that reveals deceit and deception on the part of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination and why the CIA should reveal to the American people what it is still keeping secret.
Employing his investigative reporting skills through interviews and examination of long-secret records, Morley reveals that the CIA was closely monitoring the movements of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the months preceding the assassination of President Kennedy.
Questions naturally arise: Did the CIA suspect that Oswald was up to no good? Or was its surveillance part of a CIA scheme to frame Oswald for the assassination of President Kennedy? Why did the CIA keep its surveillance secret from the Warren Commission?
Morley also reveals a close relationship between the CIA and an American anti-Castro group that began advertising Oswald’s connections to communism and the Soviet Union immediately after the assassination?
That raises questions: Why didn’t the CIA reveal that relationship to official agencies investigating the assassination of President Kennedy? Why did a federal judge and the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations accuse the CIA of deceit and deception?
The U.S. government retains almost 3,600 assassination-related records, consisting of tens of thousands of pages that have never been seen by the public. More than 1,100 of these records are held by the CIA.
What is in those secret files? What do they reveal about JFK’s death? Why has the CIA been so reluctant to release them? And when will they finally be revealed to the public? Will they answer the disturbing questions that the revelations in this book raise?
A gripping narrative history of the explosive events that drew together Francis Scott Key, Andrew Jackson, and an 18-year-old slave on trial for attempted murder.
In 1835, the city of Washington pulsed with change. As newly freed African Americans from the South poured in, free blacks outnumbered slaves for the first time. Radical notions of abolishing slavery circulated on the city's streets, and white residents were forced to confront new ideas of what the nation's future might look like.
On the night of August 4th, Arthur Bowen, an eighteen-year-old slave, stumbled into the bedroom where his owner, Anna Thornton, slept. He had an ax in the crook of his arm. An alarm was raised, and he ran away. Word of the incident spread rapidly, and within days, Washington's first race riot exploded, as whites fearing a slave rebellion attacked the property of the free blacks. Residents dubbed the event the “Snow-Storm," in reference to the central role of Beverly Snow, a flamboyant former slave turned successful restaurateur, who became the target of the mob's rage.
In the wake of the riot came two sensational criminal trials that gripped the city. Prosecuting both cases was none other than Francis Scott Key, a politically ambitious attorney famous for writing the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” who few now remember served as the city's district attorney for eight years. Key defended slavery until the twilight's last gleaming, and pandered to racial fears by seeking capital punishment for Arthur Bowen. But in a surprise twist his prosecution was thwarted by Arthur's ostensible victim, Anna Thornton, a respected socialite who sought the help of President Andrew Jackson.
Ranging beyond the familiar confines of the White House and the Capitol, Snow-Storm in August delivers readers into an unknown chapter of American history with a textured and absorbing account of the racial secrets and contradictions that coursed beneath the freewheeling capital of a rising world power.
"Snow-Storm in August is the sort of book I most love to read: history so fresh it feels alive, yet introducing me to a time and place that I had little known or utterly misunderstood. After reading Jefferson Morley's vibrant account, one can never hear 'The Star-Spangled Banner' the same way again."
—David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story