Friday, May 1, 2020

Part 3: Wedge: How the Secret War Between the FBI & CIA Endangered National Security,,,Shakedown Cruise

IF ART IMITATES LIFE, and life imitates art, it may be added that life sometimes imitates paperback thrillers. By the 1950s, when Ian Fleming wove into his books both Dusko Popov’s daring and the theme of FBI-CIA competition, there had long been a curious cross pollination between fiction and espionage. Many former intelligence officers had become novelists—John Buchan, Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, T. E. Lawrence, Graham Greene, John le Carre, and Fleming being among the best known—but novelists had also exerted their influence on clandestine work. One of the founders of British intelligence was also the father of the modern English novel, Daniel Defoe. The German spy scare dreamed up by hack mystery writer William Tuffnell Le Queux in Spies of the Kaiser: Plotting the Downfall of England (1909) had led to a British government inquiry, and to the June 1910 creation of the modern British Secret Intelligence Service, later known as SIS or MI6. The term “mole,” used to denote a penetration agent in a novel by le Carre, eventually became slang among real intelligence officers. And the creator of James Bond had advised Donovan on the creation of OSS, little imagining that emulation of his aesthetic ideal—the attempt by certain intelligence officers to be America’s Dusko Popov, its James Bond—would become one cause of serious friction between the FBI and CIA.

Most professional intelligence officers, of course, would deny that spy novels bear much resemblance to their work. They read them, they enjoy them, but they do not believe them. “The spy heroes of the novelists rarely exist in real life, ” Allen Dulles would say. “Most spy romances and thrillers are written for audiences who wish to be entertained rather than educated in the business of intelligence.” CIA officer Lyman Kirkpatrick later lamented that “The James Bond syndrome, with its emphasis on cloak and dagger adventures, fast cars, and faster women, hasn’t helped the CIA image. Most people now look on intelligence as all espionage and action, and fail to realize that the bulk of the work is painstaking assembly of information.” One of Kirkpatrick’s colleagues, David Atlee Phillips, believed that “Truth would be better served if the symbolic cloak and dagger of the espionage business were replaced by six 3 x 5 cards and a typewriter.”

Such objections were no doubt valid, but could also be somewhat disingenuous. The glamorization of real-life intelligence along the lines of spy fiction had actually begun with the 1945 publicity campaign by OSS, which announced that “Behind the abrupt capitulation of the entire German Army in Italy lies a story of machinations as fantastic as a mystery-thriller by E. Phillips Oppenheim.” As CIA director after 1953, Allen Dulles encouraged spy novelists, sometimes even providing writers like Helen Machines with plots, in hopes of enhancing the image of CIA; “the mystique was there in the 1950s, ” Agency analyst Ray Cline would recall, because “Allen Dulles loved it, helped create it, and in many ways embodied it.” Indeed, Dulles himself was reportedly so intrigued by the idea of a radio homing device, which Bond installed in Auric Goldfinger’s car, that he ordered CIA’s laboratories to see if they could come up with one. (They couldn’t: in cities there was too much interference with the signal.) Some CIA officers, especially cerebral counterintelligence types, avoided spy novels on principle, but many others—including CIA directors Dulles, Helms, and later Robert Gates—felt them a rewarding diversion. Nobody inside CIA believed the books uniformly realistic in the literal sense; like any other career, intelligence had its share of drudgery, and few officers, even in an operations directorate, ever saw physical action. But Fleming’s novels were not without their contexts of plausibility. If the life of an infantryman could be characterized as an eternity of boredom punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror, the life of an intelligence officer, too, had its excitements and diversions. There were surveillances and secret codes, burglaries and bugs, defections and discoveries, betrayals and escapes, and rarely, but sometimes, kidnappings and murders. But even those were only concordances at the literal level, and said nothing of the deeper truths— emotional, moral, philosophical—which explained the appeal of spy novels to the very men who dismissed them, or, especially in the case of Fleming, the subtle but profound influence of those books on the world they purported to describe.

In January 1952, when Fleming began writing Casino Royale, there was no doubting that the Soviet Union was an evil empire, no honest way of denying what Fleming called “their brutality, their carelessness of human life, and their guile.” Stalin was still in power; the communists had fought UN troops to a standoff in Korea; Berlin had been kept alive only by airlift; Soviet spies had stolen secrets of the atom bomb; during the war there really had been a Soviet assassination agency called SMERSH, a contraction of the Russian phrase smert shpinom—“death to spies.” It was realistic, and resonant, to depict the USSR in an aura of grand-scale crime: conspiring to subvert democracy, break Western morale, disrupt the international balance of power. If the heroes and villains in spy novels were stylized, a clear distinction between “them and us” was nonetheless deeply felt by Fleming and his admirers at CIA. Men like Richard Helms thus hated the later pessimistic novels by John le Carré, which, if more literary and “realistic” at the literal level, nevertheless rang philosophically false. Le Carre felt that East and West were equally evil; what was more, his players suffered from the bureaucratic malaise of mass man in an information society, and were pawns of huge organizations whose work held little relevance for the realm of human values. Fleming, by contrast, reified the quite real belief of CIA officers in the importance of their duties, and the power of an individual to shape world events. True, the age of atomic secrets had made technological advantage seem more important than battlefield bravery or even industrial might; scientific knowledge was not only power, it was world power; it was destiny. But that meant that solitary acts of courage or treason, in the struggle for secret information, could now be final and apocalyptic—more important to the course of history, not less. As Fleming put it, “The atomic age has created the most deadly saboteur in the history of the world—the little man with the heavy suit-case.”

Believing that one man could really make a difference, Fleming and his fans at CIA would never have thought, as had George Kennan, that there was “no real action” the West could take against the Soviets except to state our case. James Bond would state our case with a Walther PPK pistol. Bond’s creator had been profoundly affected by the wartime cult of action, the mystique of Camp X and Wild Bill. In later years, he hinted that some of Bond’s adventures had been based on his own, and would proudly show the .38 Police Positive Colt revolver that had been presented him by Donovan in July 1941 with the inscription “For Special Services.” He used his considerable imagination to craft a moral-aesthetic ideal, an icon for the secret war against the Soviets—an old boy from Eton and Cambridge, a man of independent means, a gentleman licensed to kill.

Here was the spiritual core of the James Bond novels, of the CIA code that was its real-life parallel, and of much Cold War controversy between CIA and FBI: the idea of extralegal virtue. The conception was not without its precedents. In spy fiction, it could be found in Fleming’s favorite writer, Buchan, whose Richard Hannay was a hero convinced of the rightness of his cause, working in exotic locations against a ticking clock, and often with the local police authorities chasing him, since the interests of a Secret Service in wartime took priority over any country’s public laws. In American spy fact, the tradition began on December 7, 1941. FBI intelligence man William Sullivan later explained: “When a soldier in the battlefield shot down an enemy he did not ask himself is this legal or lawful, is it ethical? It was what he was expected to do as a soldier. We did what we were expected to do. It became a part of our thinking, a part of our personality. We never freed ourselves from that psychology that we were indoctrinated with, right after Pearl Harbor, you see.” Said one OSS veteran: “I broke every law of God and man, but I never did anything for personal gain. I was out to win a war for my country, and you can’t fight a lawful war … Where do you want [us] to get information? From churches?”

Donovan himself had plotted the assassination of foreign political leaders, such as Vichy North Africa Commissioner Jean Darlan, and those of his men who remained in CIA became an order of black knights, committed at once to dirty tricks and to honor. Most of the Agency’s covert operators believed deeply that intelligence work was “something different,” somehow falling outside the normal realm of the law, but that good men could work in this moral twilight without becoming evil. There was nothing wrong with wiretaps, mailopening, “black-bag” jobs; there was nothing wrong with stealing from thieves, lying to liars, killing those who killed. CIA’s code of valor required the betrayal of one trust, that of legality, to uphold another, that of national security. In its own way, it was civil disobedience, like tax protest or the struggle to end segregation. Its “higherlaw” rationalizations were those of Henry Thoreau or Martin Luther King; only the goals were different, and the secrecy. It was a strategy kept, when possible, from the president or his Cabinet, who retained a “plausible deniability, ” yet gave their implicit sanction and blessing.

But this Cold War code grew and operated against the grain of J. Edgar Hoover’s basic task, the enforcement of the very laws that CIA would try to break. As CIA expanded dramatically in the early postwar years, and again during the Korean War period, the strains came over CIA’s constant “testing” of all rules and boundaries, the pushing of jurisdictional limits which seemed arbitrary, but which happened to be laws. The conflicts were latent at first, but they sharpened in the mid-1950s, as CIA began to open the mail of U.S. citizens, and to violate the sovereign airspace of other nations. During this era, certain interagency developments were paralleled in minor if intriguing ways by certain aspects of Fleming’s thrillers, but by the early 1960s secret life would consciously imitate Fleming’s art. As CIA’s extralegal ethos reached its logical ultimate— assassination—the Bureau would clash with the man who would be presented to an American president as “our James Bond.” He was a former FBI agent who’d gone over to the Agency, and he had caused trouble between the two organizations fifteen years before his “license to kill” brought matters to a comic climax, and a tragic resolution.

WILLIAM KING HARVEY, as even his friends had to admit, “was one hell of a case.” He had big heavy shoulders and a chest like a horse, goggling eyes like a fish, a face that was all puffed out and ruddy-purple like a turkey-cock; he waddled like a duck, with his arms swinging almost like an ape, and talked in a voice like a frog. He was so fat he had CIA’s permission on medical grounds to fly first-class, because he simply could not fit into coach seats. He drank three martinis at lunch, and Jack Daniel’s the rest of the time. He was the only CIA man who always wore a pistol to work; on field assignments, he would tuck an emergency .38 into the back of his underwear band, where it would be enclosed by his big fat butt. He was heard to say that he had been to bed with a woman every day of his life since he was twelve, and not everyone disbelieved him. He had been a legend in the Agency since the day he joined, and some people liked him, some did not, but everyone knew who he was. Some thought him, at best, a buffoon; once, when he fell asleep in CIA’s Frankfurt Station, with his jacket open to show a polished pistol-grip, someone scribbled out a sign and placed it on his heaving bulk: “Fattest gun in the West.” There was no question that this imposing, colorful character, with his taste for guns, drink, and women, looked and sometimes acted more like W. C. Fields than 007. Yet there was a creative hardness to him, a tough suppleness of purpose. He had the patience of a door-knocking street cop, and a way of answering questions no one else had even thought to ask. For a while, especially in the early years, he was one of the few men in U.S. intelligence who really knew much about Soviet spies.

If he was to have a controversial and important career in CIA, Harvey brought with him a mixed record of successes and bungles past. Born during World War I to a well-off attorney in an Indianapolis suburb, Harvey was a good student at Indiana University Law School but an early failure in local Democratic politics, being a poor public speaker and not at all the gregarious-popular type. He put little effort into his subsequent practice as an attorney in Maysville, Kentucky, his pretty wife’s part of the world, and was a bored man of twenty-four in December 1940, when he joined the FBI.

By summer 1941, Harvey had been working counterespionage with Sam Papich and others under Bud Foxworth in New York, helping run Nazi spy William Sebold as a double agent until Hoover had Sebold’s ring arrested. Harvey helped neutralize the Nazis in New York during the rest of the war, not always happy with the way Washington wanted him to wind down double-agent cases for publicity, but by fall 1945 he was operating out of FBI headquarters on a three-man desk devoted to Soviet counterespionage. There he took charge of the case of the “blond spy queen, ” as the tabloids later called Vassar graduate Elizabeth Bentley, whose “good New England conscience” had drawn her into a Soviet espionage network, and then had driven her, in November 1945, into the arms of the FBI.
Elizabeth Bentley, a former courier for a Soviet spy ring, after ...
Harvey traveled to Manhattan to hear her story—she had been a courier in a Washington, D.C., ring—and relayed it to Hoover, who was so galvanized by Bentley’s allegations that he immediately fired off a Top Secret report to President Truman. Of the fifty-one suspects eventually investigated by the FBI on the basis of Bentley’s information, Harvey concluded that at least twelve government employees were definitely “Soviet espionage agents.” The shortlist included Assistant Treasury Secretary Harry Dexter White, Truman’s administrative assistant Lauchlan Currie, and Alger Hiss, an assistant to the secretary of state.

But the greatest single concentration of Soviet spies, Bentley said, was in OSS. She tipped the FBI to at least six alleged penetrations of Donovan’s outfit, including Julius C. Joseph, at the Japanese desk, and Duncan Lee, a confidential legal assistant to Donovan. Bentley said Lee was her first and best contact in OSS, being “cognizant of most of the material directed to Gen. Donovan’s attention.” According to Bentley, however, Lee had been frightened by Donovan’s 1944 proposal for an OSSNKVD exchange, and was happy when Hoover nixed it, for “he had visions of this group visiting him at his home and thanking him for his cooperation.” These were, indeed, not always the most professional of spies. Bentley related how, having been told to either burn certain documents or flush them, Joseph “crammed a mass of flaming documents into the toilet, with the result that the seat was set on fire. His puzzled landlord, surveying the damage, finally walked out of the apartment muttering to himself, ‘I don’t see how that could possibly have happened.’” But what the Bentley ring lacked in tradecraft it made up in access, thanks partly to the lax security of Donovan’s organization. There was no question, Harvey wrote Hoover, that the Soviets had succeeded in placing “a large number of undoubted Soviet agents in positions where they would have access to considerable information of value.” In blue ink at the bottom of the page, Hoover jotted: “Most significant.”

But despite Hoover’s appreciation of his work, the FBI as an institution would not provide the kind of counter strategy its premier spy-catcher wanted. Harvey recommended “reactivating the Informant Gregory,” as Bentley was code-named, “as an operating Soviet agent and utilizing her … as a double agent,” and tried to get her to “discreetly renew her contacts.” Although the operation failed, that did not mean it could not work in other cases—if only Hoover would agree to keep things hushed. He would not. The FBI director insisted on alerting the White House and departmental officials to Bentley’s main accusations about penetration of OSS and other agencies. That approach undoubtedly damaged the reputation of William Donovan, and helped SSU chief William Quinn weed out implicated OSS personnel, but it also tipped off the suspects, who had a chance to cease any questionable activities and destroy evidence. If spies could not be doubled and could not be prosecuted, what the hell could Harvey do? He could only watch as the suspects transferred from government to higher-paying positions at places like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, immune to the consequences of their actions, smugly deflecting as “red-baiting” any inquiries into their evil work. It was all Harvey could do to assemble a skeleton crew to handle the expanding caseload, and even then he had to breach Bureau procedure to do it. Hoover’s policy was to post agents at the “Seat of Government” only on the basis of “administrative ability,” but Harvey needed men with counterespionage expertise, not managerial or fiduciary acumen, and only by bureaucratic duplicity did he arrange the fall 1947 transfers of New York anti-Soviet specialists Emory Gregg and Robert Lamphere. His new recruits soon shared his exasperation. Lamphere found Hoover’s approach to the Bentley serials “massive and clumsy,” counterproductive not only because it scared suspects into covering their tracks, but because “all cases were created equal,” and precious resources were squandered on worthless cases while other leads, which seemed more logical, were not pursued. “We believed the FBI had to become more aggressive in counterintelligence against the Soviets,” Lamphere recalled, “or we would lose the war with the KGB.”

But Hoover would not be moved, and by midsummer 1947 Harvey had fallen into a deep funk. His wife, Libby, confided to Bureau friends that her husband always seemed to be “moody,… despondent and discouraged about his work.” At a stag party on July 11, in the Virginia suburbs, his colleague Mickey Ladd noticed that “Harvey had been quiet while some of the other men had been quite exuberant.” It was after midnight and raining hard when the somber Harvey left his laughing friends and began the drive toward his home in Georgetown. The next morning, his wife awoke to discover that he had never come home.

Worried that he might have been shot to death on some assignment, she called headquarters to see what they knew. Nobody was aware of anything until shortly after ten o’clock, when the missing man suddenly appeared in the driveway of his home. Harvey told his wife, and the Bureau, that he had crossed the Potomac River by the Arlington Memorial Bridge and hung a left at the Lincoln Memorial, then proceeded north on 23rd Street in a downpour so heavy he could hardly see. In a residential section of Rock Creek Park, not too far from Director Hoover’s house, he splashed through a huge puddle of water at the same time as another car going in the opposite direction, and the engine in Harvey’s car stopped. He coasted to the curb, but was unable to get his car started. He intended to wait for the engine block to drain, but fell asleep and didn’t wake up until about 10 a.m., when he was able to start the car and drive home. Harvey was adamant that he had not been drunk, that he’d had only two cans of beer, and the other special agents at the party backed him up; “there was no indication,” an FBI memo recorded, “that Harvey was drinking any more or less than anyone else.”

But Hoover would hear no excuses. It was against Bureau regulations to be unreachable by Headquarters at any time, not to mention asleep at the side of the road, and it was decided to transfer Harvey to Indianapolis on general assignment. Shunting an agent off to his home town was widely known as a polite way of urging him to retire, and Harvey resigned “with the deepest regret.”

A few weeks later, he was working for CIA. The new agency desperately needed someone with his knowledge of Soviet espionage, and Harvey was put in charge of Section C (counterintelligence) within the Office of Special Operations. “That was too bad,” Robert Lamphere said, “because his drive and intelligence were the FBI’s loss.But for Harvey, the switch was almost too good to be true. Freed finally from Hoover’s narrow proceduralism, he could hope for a new career adequate to his merit, a freer hand against the Soviets, and, perhaps, the means of revenge.

AS HE GOT TO KNOW the facilities and personnel at CIA, Harvey realized he had found his true milieu. He was really too much of an individualist to have ever felt totally comfortable in the FBI. He’d had difficulties staying within the weight requirements, and had resented the climate of fear that discouraged people from trying their best. Anybody who tried his best was going to make mistakes—and Hoover didn’t tolerate mistakes. Harvey much preferred the atmosphere at the new agency, which seemed to have been built on one of Donovan’s mottos, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” CIA officers weren’t doing everything by committees, by consensus, and Harvey wasn’t overly concerned that somebody was going to look over his shoulder or keep him from doing something. If he came in with a stupid, wild idea for an operation, 99 percent of the time it was going to get shot down, but it wasn’t shot down in a mean or stifling way. The response was, Come up with a better idea. He was encouraged to think and innovate and imagine—activities which were not the way to get ahead in Hoover’s meticulously regimented FBI.

Harvey also found, much to his delight, that drinking at lunch was accepted at CIA, even expected, whereas it had been a risky proposition at Hoover’s FBI. Probably this was a result of so many CIA men having been in World War II, during which one relieved the stress of the constant threat of death by getting drunk whenever possible. Some had entered the services at seventeen, a wild, impressionable age, perfect for acquiring vices. Others had gone into OSS or CIA straight from college, with house-party weekends, football Saturdays, and all that sort of thing. Often, too, drinking was just part of the job. Intelligence officers would sit around and discuss cases over drinks, and that was where they got a lot of their information. Of course, there were fellows you could say were drunks. Sometimes Harvey himself would work his way into a third martini, or, after work, put down a pint of Jack Daniel’s, which seemed like a lot for someone with a gun. 

But there was no doubting Harvey’s mind. In terms of philosophy, he had what CIA men admired as the “wider view,” complemented by a monumental memory. Richard Helms, a young comer in CIA’s Office of Special Operations (OSO), sat down with him one afternoon to talk about the Bentley case, and was amazed that Harvey didn’t use any notes, just sat there and went through the whole thing, down to the place and hour of certain meetings. It was quite a tour de force, and Helms had to wonder why Hoover had ever let him get away. He must have had a good record at the Bureau overall, but maybe he had done something they didn’t like, and certainly he had his share of troubles with the Bureau after joining CIA.

THE FOCUS OF THOSE troubles was often Deke DeLoach, who in 1948 replaced John Doherty as FBI’s liaison officer to the Agency. DeLoach was tall and hulking, with the gentle-friendly face of a basset hound, and a voice that was softly deep and smooth. He had a lot of contact with Sheffield Edwards, director of CIA’s Office of Security, whom he thought a nice guy. Eventually Edwards became his main point of contact, his informal “opposite number,” especially because he didn’t much take to some others at the Agency.

There was just something about those CIA types, an arrogance in the way they devoted no effort to impress him. DeLoach always wore a suit and appeared as professional as possible, but CIA officers didn’t seem to care how they looked in their ratty tweed jackets with elbow patches, their shirts that needed to be ironed and eyeglasses that needed to be wiped, their chino pants with little brown spots where hot matches or burning tobacco had dropped. You had to be rich just to think of presenting yourself like that. DeLoach assumed just from the airy way they held forth that most had come out of the Ivy League. They would peer up at him from overstuffed brown leather chairs and not rise when he entered, and rearrange their two-gold-pen Schaeffer desk sets while he was talking. Sometimes they could be disdainfully pompous, like professors impatient with wrong answers, and a good many of them had indeed been professors. It was maddening, because DeLoach didn’t think that there was much real difference between the intellect of the groups—a Special Agent wasn’t dumb, he had to have a law or accounting or four-year college degree, and some had done newspaper or cryptanalysis work. The difference was not in the minds, but in the mind-sets: CIA men tended to be a bit haughty and slack, like fellows at a think-tank, while G-men were humble and disciplined, as befitted American Knights.

Sometimes that difference could be eased by meeting outside work hours, and by drinking, and before long DeLoach was attending various events in CIA officers’ Georgetown homes. Most of them could be nice when they wanted to, or when they wanted something done. But no matter how hard DeLoach tried—and in truth, he did not try all that hard—he never really was able to get on with Bill Harvey.

Even though Harvey had been forced out, DeLoach knew it rankled the FBI director that Harvey had joined the rival agency. For Harvey’s “defection” symbolized a larger problem: CIA was just beginning, and consequently, as DeLoach would say, it was on “a shakedown cruise.” Harvey’s former helper Lamphere would echo the sentiment: “CIA was very new and, I believe, trying to find itself, resulting in strong resentment.” The new Agency was luring prospective special agents, like Yale senior William F. Buckley, Jr., whom the Bureau tried to recruit, and was wooing experienced FBI personnel. DeLoach knew quite a number of FBI agents who had left the Bureau and joined CIA, mostly in the Office of Security, and that could sometimes be a bond, or at least a source of small talk, but it could also be a source of tension. FBI man Sam Papich summed up the director’s attitude: “If Hoover had an agent who had been with the Bureau some years, with a good record and whatnot, and all of a sudden he goes to another agency—even if he’s forced out—he’s left the family. Why? What’s wrong here? What a jerk! I think Hoover reacted that way. You were supposed to stay with the family.”

So it was with Harvey. Lamphere lunched with him sometimes, but was careful not to let the FBI director know about it. “To Hoover, going from the Bureau to the CIA was almost as bad as going over to the Soviets, ” Lamphere recalled. “Harvey was definitely on Hoover’s list.”

DeLoach knew all about Harvey’s “disciplinary problems,” but also figured he had been unhappy with his FBI existence and that his “broader view” was better suited to CIA. Harvey seemed to be happier, and was friendly at times, but also quite hostile and jealous of his operations. DeLoach would be in Harvey’s office, and Harvey would get a phone call and say, “I can’t talk much now because there’s an FBI man here.”

Of course, Hoover was jealous, too. Despite the belief of some agents that he was happy to be out of Latin America, DeLoach felt that the boss “was somewhat upset over the fact that the FBI had been removed from the Western Hemisphere, and as a result, there was some feeling that CIA was infringing upon jurisdiction.” That fear proved well founded, according to DeLoach, “on a number of occasions when Harvey attempted to initiate operations in the United States. It was necessary at times to bring Harvey’s attention to the fact that clearances must be obtained from the FBI prior to initiating such operations so as not to upset FBI investigations.”

Harvey, for his part, was frustrated by disagreements with the Bureau on how to deal with intelligence CIA gathered. That was especially true with regard to defectors, who could supply information that might lead either to prosecutable espionage cases, or to agents who could be doubled back against the Soviets—but rarely to both. Harvey and others at CIA therefore had a natural conflict of interest in sharing any prize catch with the FBI.

“CIA was critical of the FBI for moving on cases and making arrests instead of playing the cases along, ” Lamphere said. “They took a longer view of counterintelligence coverage. To a degree the FBI thought CIA was in the ’outer atmosphere’ somewhere, too far from practical reality. Personally in this area I think the FBI was right, as whenever we tried to play a case for any length of time things went bad, and we were in the U.S. where you can’t torture someone as is done in foreign countries.” 

Sometimes the problem was that no one could decide just whose catch a defector was. In 1949 a former Soviet intelligence officer, said to be Ivan Anisimov, was claimed by both organizations. CIA got to him first, and he was not shared with the FBI. After his initial debriefing by Harvey’s staff, CIA watched Anisimov and occasionally contacted him, to keep the association alive. He also came to the attention of the Bureau, which placed him under surveillance, then attempted to take him into custody in a Washington restaurant. CIA personnel rushed to Anisimov’s defense, and there ensued an unseemly tussle—a fistfight—between the men of CIA and FBI. No one was seriously hurt, and Anisimov escaped with his CIA protectors, but news of the incident hit the press, and the Washington Post’s Herblock even did a cartoon about it. Hoover reprimanded the special agents involved, and Houston went to see the FBI director to make the case for compromise. He found Hoover coolly formal, “not at all a good old fellow,” and no explicit ground rules for the handling or sharing of defectors were produced.

BY SUMMER 1948, the FBI-CIA feud had become so bitter that after reading of it in The New York Times, Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey made it an issue in his campaign. Times national security correspondent Hanson Baldwin had chastised both organizations for their “lack of teamwork,” and related accusations that FBI agents in Latin America had “burned files” rather than turn them over to the insufficiently “security-conscious” CIA. Baldwin also got after the FBI for refusing to perform loyalty checks for the Agency, reportedly forcing CIA to hire its own security people at considerable expense. Things had become so unworkable, Baldwin reported, that a special commission had been formed to study “not only the Central Intelligence Agency, but also the inter-relationship of this agency with the intelligence activities of the FBI.” Baldwin did not tell his readers that he was himself a member of this commission, whose membership was kept secret. The commission’s findings, and those of a National Security Council (NSC) study, would lead to a protracted squabble over CIA’s domestic duties which eventually involved Hoover’s old nemesis.

WILLIAM DONOVAN HAD HOPED fervently that his longstanding advocacy of centralized intelligence might yet persuade Truman to put him in charge of CIA, or at least let him handpick some of its top staff. In January 1947, the FBI’s Liaison Section advised Hoover that Donovan was “sponsoring” his OSS associate Allen Dulles “to become executive director of CIG, ” and warned that, “should Dulles receive the job, he would undoubtedly be a ’Charley McCarthy’ for Donovan.” But when Vandenberg was bucked up to vice-chief of staff of a newly independent Air Force in May 1947, neither Donovan nor Dulles had been invited in.

Truman had chosen instead Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter, a fifty-year-old commander of Naval Intelligence. Wounded at Pearl Harbor and recently promoted to admiral, the “amiable Dutchman” was nevertheless considered “a lackluster leader” by Donovan’s old hands. “Hilly,” as he was soon known, was like Piggly-Wiggly Souers, but worse—slower, duller, less decisive, unwilling to confront the FBI. When the congressional commission queried him about FBICIA conflict, Hillenkoetter insisted that interagency relations were now “close,” no longer “strained” as they had once been. He was not believed, but without leadership from CIA, the commission could do little more than confirm the existence of the problem it had been set to solve.

The commission’s feeble findings were almost immediately eclipsed by the January 1949 report of a Presidential Intelligence Survey Group headed by Allen Dulles, who concluded that CIA should be allowed to coordinate domestic counterintelligence. When Hoover heard about Dulles’ recommendation, he countered that coordination of domestic spy-catching should be accomplished through a new Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security (ICIS), to be chaired by a member of the FBI, and from which CIA should be excluded. Lamphere would recall the ICIS as “a committee being chaired by J. Edgar Hoover which I think to a degree was aimed at keeping CIA in its place. I think this was the low point.” 

The NSC tried to placate Hoover by offering him a permanent place on the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC), an interagency coordinating group chaired by the director of CIA, where the Bureau might contribute to crisis estimates and the planning of secret operations. Hoover refused to attend the IAC, however; CIA officials believed this was because, as one in-house historian ventured, “he would have to sit below the DCI.” The NSC gave up trying to budge Hoover, and the FBI’s monopoly on domestic security was preserved.

But private citizen Donovan, incorrectly sensing an opening, soon went on the attack. Still hoping to get back into the government, Donovan did all he could to remain in the public eye by trying to co-opt “hot” trends and issues, and in the late 1940s he turned to alarmist demagoguery about communist subversion. “There isn’t going to be any shooting war for a long time, because the Reds are winning what they want without shooting,” Donovan alleged in one press release. “They’ve taken nine countries in Europe. They’ve revived the Nazi State and they have the atom bomb. They’ve taken China. The Road to Malay and Singapore is wide open. When they march again India will be all but isolated and so will we. If they keep going the way they are, we won’t be able to fight a war. The newest weapons are falling before the oldest of them all—subversion. It is time to stop wondering if we will win the next war and find out why we are losing the one we’re in.” 

Donovan’s sudden conversion to right-wing reactionary rang somewhat hollow, given his wartime tolerance of communists in secret work, and his critics were quick to point this out. Even before the war’s end, concerned citizens had been warning HUAC that OSS “considerations of war-time expediency have endangered our safety.” Now columnists attacked him for being a character witness for writer Garson Kanin, “a Communist plotter who stowed away in the State Dept. under false representations.” But such assaults on Donovan only caused him to overcorrect. He was a man with something to prove, and he went about proving it, not by confessing the error of his previous policy, but by attacking the competence of the FBI.

On January 9, 1948, Donovan called on Louis Budenz, a special investigator for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in New York, to discuss “the subversives problem.” Donovan began by shooting the question to Budenz: “Don’t you think the individual Communist cases could be connected and don’t you think you could connect them?” Budenz, taken aback, said he thought he could, but Donovan did not seem impressed. Budenz wondered if he had understood what Donovan meant by “connecting cases together.” Donovan elaborated: there was too much “police work” and “detective work” on communism, and not enough “intelligence analysis,” which alone could tell the government in advance what communists were going to do. Budenz got the impression that Donovan wanted to establish a kind of domestic OSS to penetrate the Communist Party. Wild Bill seemed to lose interest in the discussion, however, after Budenz more or less defended the FBI. Donovan left saying he hoped to discuss the matter with Budenz again soon, but did not make an appointment.

Hoover found out about the meeting with Budenz, and ordered his subordinates to compose a memo to the attorney general to “completely discredit the statements made by Donovan.” The letter merely recapitulated Donovan’s views—as if that alone were enough to discredit them—and closed with Hoover’s “psychologization”: “General Donovan’s well known hostility to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is certainly in part due to our exposure of Communist infiltration of the Office of Strategic Services.” 

Frustrated in his attempts to cut himself a piece of the U.S. anti-communist franchise, Donovan tried increasingly desperate schemes. One was a hokey private spy organization, the American Institute of International Information (AIII), which was to “offer for sale to government agencies, libraries, educational institutions, newspapers and any others who might desire, the fullest information available on a specific subject.” The institute expected to obtain its data from ex-OSS personnel in State, War, and Navy, and Central Intelligence, and to Hoover it must have seemed a perfect example of the way Donovan “used his high position during the war to play personal politics calculated to have post-war benefits, ” as one Bureau informant alleged. It was also a scheme that was bound to fail, and FBI files presented AIII, which soon folded, as proof that “to say the least Donovan’s judgement is open to question.” But Donovan apparently never gave up on the idea of a privatized intelligence network, and it was perhaps with help from just such an enterprise that CIA’s covertaction capacity, and much friction with the FBI, was born. 

DONOVAN CERTAINLY KNEW how to turn international law into a cover for ad-hoc espionage—that was just what he had been doing for FDR before the war—and in that sense it was only logical that he should return to his old ways once cut loose from government service. Two days after OSS was disbanded in September 1945, he had become partners with former British Security Coordinator William Stephenson in a Panamanian-registered venture called the World Commerce Corporation, which soon placed former OSS or MI6 officers as representatives in forty-seven countries. According to its prospectus, the corporation trafficked in “botanical drugs in bulk, waxes, gums, seeds, spices, and oils”—just the sort of business that Stephenson’s friend Ian Fleming later attributed to a fictional firm called Universal Export, which provided commercial cover for James Bond. According to one Donovan associate, the old OSS chief actually kept a secret office in Manhattan, which he made the nexus of a mercenary intelligence system, and appointed a sharp young Armenian exile to maintain contact with secret agents around the world. The uptown office would disseminate reports to Donovan, who returned them after underlining points for the staff to pursue in depth; the marked passages were reportedly typed onto index cards and stored in secret drawers.

Declassified documents in Donovan’s FBI file, when collated with other facts, suggest strongly that Donovan was indeed up to more than moving spices and oils. In August 1947, he warned Defense Secretary James Forrestal that “Our French friends” were in need of assistance if they were to continue “making a fight” against communist influence, and raised “the possibility of dealing with this matter independent of government action.” Nine months later, in May 1948, a CIA officer confidentially advised DeLoach that “various remnants of OSS personnel who had previously operated in and around Paris, France, were operating in that same locality on a private commercial basis under the leadership of their former director, William Donovan … [and] that Donovan had made a trip to Paris for the purpose of surveying and inspecting the activities of the group.” 

Donovan did, in fact, travel to Paris in 1948, when a number of ex-OSS officers also happened to be there. OSS-London officer Milton Katz was in town as counsel to the Marshall Plan. Donovan’s former Far Eastern operative E. Howard Hunt was attached to the Marshall group. Also in Paris for six months during 1948, ostensibly to help American investors rebuild Europe’s shattered industries, was an ex-OSS officer who worked for Donovan’s law firm, William Casey. Much later, when he became CIA director, Casey would tutor Oliver North in the construction of a Panama-registered, private anticommunist network eerily akin to Donovan’s.[rogue element, right from the get go DC]

Similarly engaged in secret work for Donovan was another former OSS operative who worked for his law firm and eventually became CIA director, William Colby. He did not show up in Paris, but in 1949 he traveled with Donovan to Norway, where for some reason the private citizens were briefed by a Norwegian intelligence officer, as Colby would admit, on “efforts to run down a mysterious supply of uranium that had been offered for sale.” Colby also recalled that during this time he was handling for Donovan’s law firm the case of an “exile Romanian financier, ” which meshes with a July 8, 1948, FBI report that a “suspected Romanian spy” had hired a Donovan associate and agreed “to pay $15,000 to find out what the FBI had on him.”

That allegation set off alarms at the Bureau, and Donovan was watched more closely than ever. Colby later claimed that the Rumanian’s case concerned only “an intense dispute with another exile Rumanian financier” over “access to some timberland.” He did recall, though, that the opposing counsel in the Rumanian case was Frank Wisner, three floors above in 2 Wall Street, who had also been with OSS.[WTF DC] 

That Wisner worked in the same building must have been conducive to whatever Donovan was doing by way of contract intelligence, for Wisner soon became the U.S. government’s official point man for covert actions in Europe. A pudgy man from Mississippi, third in his class at University of Virginia Law School, Wisner had quit CIG in disgust over its lack of resources, but by spring 1948 he was back in government again, working for George Kennan at State, and sitting on the State-Army-Navy-Air Force Coordinating Committee (SANACC), which aimed to counter communist influence in Europe. Kennan and Wisner were now convinced that containment should consist in more than the U.S.’s stating its case; according to SANACC documents, Wisner wanted to assist “native anticommunist elements” in “psychological warfare (black), clandestine warfare, subversion, sabotage, and miscellaneous operations such as assassination, target capture, and rescue of downed airmen.” Five million dollars was to be spent on the project, which was code-named “Bloodstone.”

But Wisner didn’t want to leave a money trail. Because the problem was “essentially one of a political nature, ” disbursements should be handled “in such a manner as to conceal the fact that their source is the U.S. Government.” There was a need, as Wisner put it, for some “private American organization” to “dovetail with this plan generally.” The Donovan-Stephenson enterprise afforded such commercial cover, and another Donovan operation, a private committee established to assist Russians who had escaped across the Iron Curtain, offered the chance to recruit a “Legion of Liberation.”

Donovan was not a very “deniable” asset, however, especially vis-a-vis the FBI, and the situation became somewhat more complicated after fall 1948, when Bloodstone was incorporated into CIA as the Office of Policy Coordination. It was still headed by Wisner, who was still, apparently, linked to Donovan’s private network. Indeed, FBI files describe a March 1949 “controversy between Admiral Hillenkoetter, Director of CIA, and Frank Wisner … over the possibility of Wisner’s outfit transmitting information to General ’Wild Bill’ Donovan.”

Whatever the exact nature of Wisner’s ongoing relationship with Donovan, OPC was soon hiring its personnel almost exclusively from Donovan’s reservoir of OSS veterans. Wisner recruited paratroopers like Colby, who knew how to fight behind the lines; intellectuals like Tom Braden and Cord Meyer, who could penetrate international labor and student organizations; and eccentrics such as E. Howard Hunt, who thought up things like an animated version of Orwell’s Animal Farm for distribution in the Third World. This OSS-driven expansionism completed the creation of CIA, defined its buccaneering extralegal ethos, and caused what one FBI agent termed “ten million headaches for old J. Edgar.” 

Frank Wisner became the new Donald Downes. Not only did he have an OSS background, a weight problem, and family wealth, he outdid Downes in missionary idealism, zeal for action at the expense of security, and the habit of domestic trespassing. Wisner’s people might be out in Cincinnati, perhaps recruiting refugees to parachute into the Carpathian mountains, or printing up black propaganda about the Czech wheat crop, when some ordinary citizen would take notice and contact the Bureau about the doings of “suspicious foreigners.” DeLoach had to sit down with some of those characters, including Wisner himself, and try to explain: “Guys, you can’t do that. Your operation just won’t work, it’s gonna blow. People suspect you. They know damn well you’re not Defense. You aren’t properly backstopped.”

In one case, CIA got in some trouble for poaching on Hoover’s turf by monitoring Nazi rocket scientists resettled into American life under a program known as Project Paperclip. When two Paperclip scientists were being followed around by a suspicious character at Ohio State University in the mid-1950s, one of the scientists called the FBI and said, “It must be the Russians.” On looking into it, DeLoach discovered that the scientists were being followed by CIA.

Of themselves such flaps did not amount to much, but their frequency—and the overall principle of trespass— caused the Bureau to take Wisner’s transgressions quite seriously. Hoover would “just go into orbit” because Wisner’s “gang of weirdos” was operating in the U.S., remembered one FBI agent familiar with the period. “They ran all around the country, and didn’t coordinate with anybody. Freelancers all over the place! They drove us nuts. You talk about Hoover’s feelings toward CIA, the mistakes that OPC made in the early years were definitely a source of tension. Hoover didn’t understand what in the hell they were trying to do.” 

What Wisner’s agents were trying to do was roll back communism in Europe, and Wisner himself was not particularly concerned with the legality or morality of what it would take to accomplish that, let alone whether he was violating jurisdictional guidelines. Nevertheless, to set some ground rules for OPC’s domestic presence, Lawrence Houston prepared an FBI-CIA delimitation statement, carving out the separate jurisdictions of each. “The Office of Policy Coordination recognizes the primary responsibility of the FBI in the field of United States domestic security,” the September 1948 document announced, “and the FBI acknowledges that it is essential for the Office of Policy Coordination to have direct dealings with [foreign] individuals and groups.” But such declarations of good intent did little to smooth disputes as OPC expanded into places like Mexico. 

BOTH AGENCIES HAD interests in Mexico City, because the Soviet Embassy there was considered a major base for intelligence operations in the United States. David Phillips, who served in Mexico City, would characterize it as “a hugger-mugger metropolis of cloak-and-dagger operations.” Those operations could range from the conventional surveillances and dead-drops to the CIA practice of disrupting communist rallies with devastatingly pungent stink bombs. It was the perfect environment for an imaginative, colorful character like OPC’s E. Howard Hunt, a wiry, mustachioed man who moonlighted as an author of paperback mysteries.

Briefed by Wisner before leaving Washington, Hunt had been warned that Hoover maintained “a large and active station” at the Mexico City embassy, and that the FBI was likely to be unhelpfully “jealous of its prerogatives in Mexico.” The situation was worsened by the fact that CIA’s station chief in Mexico was a former FBI agent who was “thoroughly disliked” by the embassy’s legal attaché. Arriving in Mexico City in late summer 1950, a tropical straw hat snapped low over his eyes, Hunt found relations with the local FBI office cold indeed. But he did not give up on the possibility of effective liaison, and the G-men warmed when they realized that Hunt shared their enthusiasm for hunting and fishing. That goodwill was cemented when Hunt used CIA money to finance an FBI-dominated duck-hunting club only forty-five minutes from the embassy. Still, when an FBI agent asked him one day if he knew the whereabouts of the former Spanish Republican guerrilla general known as “El Campe-sino, ” Hunt denied knowledge of his whereabouts, though El Campesino was actually concealed in a Cuernavaca safe house, where he was telling his life story to a CIA biographer. The Bureau, too, had a habit of keeping CIA ignorant of matters that were judged “too important” to share, such as the hunt for atom spies in Mexico.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s recently uncovered atomspy ring had been much in the news when, early on the morning of August 17, 1950, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico summoned Hunt to a meeting at the embassy. Waiting for him there were the ambassador, CIA’s station chief, and the resident FBI legal attaché. Angrily the ambassador denounced the FBI chief in Mexico for having effected the arrest and expulsion of one of the Rosenbergs’ accomplices. Morton Sobell, a fugitive from the FBI, had been hiding in Mexico, and the Soviets had provided him with contact instructions. At a certain date and time, Sobell was to have appeared by a statue of Christopher Columbus near the U.S. Embassy, where he would be approached by a man carrying a folded newspaper under his arm. Prearranged code words were to have been exchanged in conversation, after which Sobell would have been smuggled out of Mexico on a Soviet “fishing trawler.” Through informants, however, the FBI’s legal attaché had located him in a seedy motel just outside the city. With the cooperation of Mexican police, Sobell had been arrested—kidnapped, really—and put in a car driven by FBI agents. Driving in relays, they reached the border in just under twenty-four hours and delivered Sobell to their colleagues on the American side. Had there been a road accident, the ambassador kept repeating, the whole episode would have become public knowledge and soured U.S.-Mexican relations. Besides which, as Hunt pointed out, “Sobell, while in Mexico, should have been a CIA responsibility and not a Bureau target.” That the Bureau hadn’t even told CIA Sobell was a suspect suggested that liaison in treason cases was shaky at best.

In fact, the situation was even worse than Hunt knew, for the FBI was holding back on more than the atom spies. It was also hiding information which might have helped CIA unmask a Soviet mole named Kim Philby.

HUNT DID NOT KNOW IT, but Sobell and the Rosenbergs had come to the FBI’s attention through deciphered Soviet World War II cable traffic, known by the cryptonym “Venona.” OSS had managed to obtain fragmentary pages of Soviet codes from Finnish intelligence in 1944, and these had been passed to cipher experts at the Army Security Agency (ASA) at Fort Meade, Maryland. There, by a complex, laborious process, the codes were applied to Soviet cables intercepted by the British, and messages were slowly deciphered which held clues to the identities of spies. Those leads—or “serials, ” as they were known in the trade—were passed to the FBI, where they were overseen by Harvey’s erstwhile assistant Lamphere. “Venona was more important to us than anyone has ever publicly let on, ” one of Lamphere’s colleagues would recall. “It gave us a window on Soviet subversion everywhere, especially in Latin America. It was hard-core stuff.”

But while Lamphere was chasing down those leads, he kept CIA, and his former boss Harvey, ignorant. “When I started on what has been called Venona, we were the only agency getting the material, ” Lamphere later said. “Frank Rowlett, who headed the intelligence division at ASA, had personally briefed me on the importance of keeping it Top Secret between the two agencies, and I tried to emphasize this all the way to the top of the FBI. CIA knew nothing of the code break.”

By spring 1949, Lamphere had concluded that a Soviet agent identified in the Venona traffic as “Homer” must be someone who had served in the British Embassy in Washington. Investigation concentrated on sweepers, cleaners, and bottle washers, Latvian grandmothers and the like, but nothing much came of it. Still, it was possible that the British Embassy remained insecure. The Homer serial was certainly information “essential to the national security, ” which the Bureau therefore should have shared with CIA. 

But it did not. “The Homer investigation was strictly an MI5-FBI matter, ” Lamphere admitted. “CIA did not figure in it.” CIA’s director never made “written request” for the information—how could he, when he did not know it existed?—so Hoover was technically in compliance with the law. Perhaps he did not trust the security of CIA any more than OSS. He did, however, choose to keep the British informed of their search for Homer by entrusting leads to MI6’s Washington representative.

This man was a charmer—an aristocrat in unpressed clothes who drank a lot, a good talker even though he stuttered—but there was more to the Bureau’s coziness than Kim Philby’s charisma, or the fact that he was odds on favorite to become the next director of British intelligence. The Bureau also wanted him on their side in the struggle against Central Intelligence. “In the years just after the war, the Director became more concerned with the challenge to the FBI from the just-forming CIA, and stopped looking askance at the British, ” Lamphere later said. “It personally did not take me long after I arrived in 1947 to know that FBI Assistant Director Mickey Ladd was playing off British intelligence against CIA, and that we should place more reliance on the Brits than in asking CIA for assistance in the foreign counterintelligence field.” [Not smart, showed division DC]

Philby, meanwhile, was playing a game of his own. He had been fully briefed on the FBI-CIA feud before leaving London, and his official mission was to bring MI6 gently into closer cooperation with CIA without offending Hoover. “CIA and SIS had agreed to close collaboration over a wide range of issues which inevitably meant more day-to-day contact than SIS would have with the FBI, ” Philby later wrote. “Nothing about this change of policy could be acknowledged, ” however, because “the FBI, taking its cue from the prima donna Hoover, was childishly sensitive on the subject of CIA … My assignment was therefore to tighten links with CIA and loosen those with the FBI without the FBI noticing. It did not take much reflection to convince me that such a task was impossible and absurd. The only sensible course was to get on with CIA on subjects of common interest and take on the chin the unavoidable resentment of Hoover’s men … and be ready to apologize for the bricks which my position would force me to drop from time to time.”

Philby did not at all mind pulling MI6 closer to the Agency. As a member of Britain’s “ruling class, ” he felt more at home with CIA’s bluebloods than with the more proletarian FBI. It made sense, then, thait the one CIA officer Philby could not abide was former G-man William Harvey. “The first time he dined in my house, ” Philby recalled, Harvey “fell asleep over the coffee and sat snoring gently until midnight when his wife took him away, saying: ’Come now, Daddy, it’s time you were in bed.’ ” But Philby had to liaise with Harvey on counterintelligence matters, and could not afford to snub him, so Harvey and his wife were among the guests invited to a party Philby gave for his FBI and CIA colleagues on January 19, 1951, at his big house on Wisconsin Avenue.

“Generally, at the party, the FBI and CIA groups tended not to mingle, and chatted apart from each other, ” recalled Lamphere, who attended. “During cocktails I listened to a discussion among several of the CIA people which concerned intelligence priorities—blue-sky stuff. I found it too far out for me, not oriented enough toward reality. I was more comfortable speaking with Bill Harvey.” They were joined by Libby Harvey, who’d already had a lot to drink and did not feel comfortable around the other CIA wives. Somehow she became Lamphere’s dinner partner, and he spent most of the meal attempting to quiet her. She hated Mrs. Philby’s cold roast beef, and loudly said, “Isn’t this God-awful” about every detail of the food and service. The end of dinner came none too quickly for Lamphere, who left the party as soon as he could politely manage.

But Bill and Libby stayed, and were on hand when Philby’s permanent houseguest, Guy Burgess, arrived on the scene. He was a second secretary at the British Embassy in Washington, a fairly obvious homosexual, and a bad drunk. “He would have been all right if only the Harvey woman had left him alone, but she’d heard that Guy was a brilliant quick sketch artist and she kept pestering him to draw her, ” Philby would later say. “Finally Guy said, ’Oh, all right then.’ He got his pad and dashed something off. He’d done this terrible caricature of her”—other witnesses described it as pornographic—“and when she saw it she was deeply hurt. I rang Bill the next day and took him to lunch and apologized on Burgess’s behalf. Bill said, ‘Forget it, ’ but clearly he didn’t.”

The Burgess incident raised in Harvey’s mind the question of why Philby would be associated with such a reprehensible character, and this question assumed importance after May 25, 1951, when Burgess disappeared with another Foreign Office man, Donald Maclean, who had served in the British Embassy in Washington during the war. Maclean was suspected by the British of being a Soviet spy, and it was assumed that Burgess and Maclean had gone to Moscow. The clinching piece of evidence implicating Maclean was that he traveled twice a week to New York to meet his Soviet controller, which matched Homer’s movements as established through the Venona decrypts.

The Bureau still did not tell CIA about its search for Homer, or about suspicions that Homer was Maclean. But after CIA forwarded Hoover a “written request” for information on Maclean and Burgess, the FBI provided background material on the two missing men. One source said that shortly before leaving America, Burgess had repeatedly complained that he wanted to get away from the “very muddled” Western world, and had expressed a love of life in the Middle East, especially the Moslem countries, “where he said men were dominant and women are in the background.” According to another Bureau source, Maclean’s foreign-service career had been skidding since a drunken rage in May 1950, when he broke into the apartment of an American girl in Cairo, emptied drawers, upset furniture, threw dishes in the bathtub, and beat up the girl. The episode had been suppressed by the U.S. Embassy at British request, but Americans in Cairo talked openly about Maclean as “one of a ring of 12 people who were regarded as homosexuals and possibly dope addicts, ” who were “devoted to each other” and “dressed up in women’s clothes.” The Bureau’s Security Division even pondered the possibility that Burgess and Maclean had gone to Buenos Aires disguised as women to contact their Soviet handlers.

But there remained the question of why the two men had fled just at this juncture. Was it merely coincidence that they had disappeared as Maclean was coming under suspicion of being Homer? Or had he been tipped by yet another Soviet mole in Washington or London?

The Bureau seemed to buy Philby’s thesis that Maclean must have detected MI5 surveillance in London, that Burgess had been Maclean’s cutout with Soviet intelligence, and the Soviets decided to withdraw both men because the Western net was closing. “I must admit that I initially doubted that Philby was an active Soviet spy, ” Lamphere would later say. “I reasoned that a real Soviet agent would have worked harder at establishing closer relations with me and with the other key people; I understood that Philby had concentrated on the CIA, which was certainly a KGB target, but why hadn’t he taken the opportunity to penetrate the FBI as well? Since Philby hadn’t spent much time on us, I temporarily concluded that he must not have been an active spy.” Not until much later did Lamphere realize that Philby had “no need” to rely on him for FBI counterintelligence data, because, in their attempt to play the British against CIA, Ladd and Boyd were routinely giving it to Philby. “We were working closely with the British because we trusted their abilities more than we did those of the fledgling CIA, but in the process, many things about our current cases came into Philby’s hands, and presumably were passed by him to the KGB.”

Harvey was not so willing to believe Philby’s story, however. If feelings usually got in the way of cold reasoning, sometimes they leavened it, and his personal dislike for Philby meant that Harvey was prepared to think the worst. Even before the defections of Burgess and Maclean, he had been quietly digging into Philby’s background, and had found a number of damning circumstances. Philby had covered the Spanish Civil War for the London Times, which fit the allegation of a prewar Soviet defector, Walter Krivitsky, that the Soviets had recruited a British journalist in Spain. He had once been married to a Communist Party activist in Vienna. He had been in Istanbul in 1946 when the Soviets somehow found out that one of their officers, Konstantin Volkov, was about to defect to the British, and prevented him from doing so. Over the past few years in Washington, he had been cut in on any number of CIA operations in Eastern Europe which inexplicably went bad. After Burgess and Maclean bolted, Harvey came to believe that Philby had tipped them off. The pieces of the puzzle all fit. By June 12, Harvey had formally accused Philby of being a Soviet agent.

Throughout 1951, the Bureau pressed its own worldwide investigation into Philby’s career. Hoover complained to Hillenkoetter that Harvey’s scenario rested on “considerable data not previously known to us, ” and disseminated to CIA such tidbits as the fact that Philby was “fairly far to the left” in 1934, when he lived in Vienna. But Harvey had beat the Bureau to it. They were going over old ground, and coming up with the same answer. By summer 1951, Lamphere was discussing Phiiby in lectures to FBI field agents as “a major spy.”

The occasion of Philby’s flushing-out would have been a good time to consider the damage done by interagency animosity, both in securing Philby access to America’s secrets, and in blinding the intelligence community for so long to the guilt of Philby and Maclean. Would the FBI have been less eager to please Philby by sharing secrets if it had not been trying to play him against CIA? More to the point, would the British traitors have been uncovered earlier if CIA had been in on the Venona work? Lamphere recalled that certain Agency officers “never forgave me totally because we had not furnished information on Maclean, and the code break, until after the disappearance of Maclean and Burgess in 1951.” 

For all its attempts to blame the Philby affair on the FBI, however, CIA, too, had been badly burned. Philby had dealt directly with Wisner and Hillenkoetter, and had known about many of OPC’s projects for Eastern Europe. The hard lesson for both CIA and FBI was that their own secrets could be lost through liaison, even if they themselves weren’t penetrated.

At least, no one thought U.S. intelligence was penetrated by the Soviets. Not yet. But in Philby’s wake, the FBI’s institutional mind began to magnify certain doubts about the loyalty of CIA personnel, and a big witch-hunt was about to begin. 



Unknown said...

Hey old man
Do you write this stuff everyday all by yourself.
I’m a video guy myself cause I can listen while I work but the things you write make my red pill medicine look like a Kansas City Chiefs football helmet. any way I can get them in audio

oldmaninthedesert said...

best advice I can give on audio is to do a search with the book title/audio. Personally I am a reader, been retired on disability now for 11 years, some of the title's I have done here, I have seen audio versions at youtube, hope that helps you U.

Unknown said...

Old man. I’ve been reading you for years. Also truth seeker. Dog poet. Especially rummormill!! I get quite tongue tied explaining to others. ..Just like Kerry and Palatian just did on Friday..... Is it truly left up to us as individuals do you think? or is Sean Connery gonna ride in on a donkey and save us. We’re all zombies right now. Any help? Suggestions? Earnestly man

Part 1 Technocracy Rising, The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation ...The Backdrop For Technocracy ... From Passion to Meltdown (1920- 1940)

TECHNOCRACY RISING  The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation  by Patrick M. Wood  The dark horse of the  New  World Order is not ,  Sociali...