From The Intercept, January 1, 2018:
Wilderness of Mirrors
Veteran CIA officer Cleveland Cram was nearing the end of his career in 1978, when his superiors in the agency’s directorate of operations handed him a sensitive assignment: Write a history of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff. Cram, then 61, was well qualified for the task. He had a master’s and Ph.D. in European History from Harvard. He had served two decades in the clandestine service, including nine years as deputy chief of the CIA’s station in London. He knew the senior officialdom of MI-5 and MI-6, the British equivalents of the FBI and CIA, the agency’s closest partners in countering the KGB, the Soviet Union’s effective and ruthless intelligence service.
Cram was assigned to investigate a debacle. The Counterintelligence Staff, created in 1954, had been headed for 20 years by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary spy who deployed the techniques of literary criticism learned at Yale to find deep patterns and hidden meanings in the records of KGB operations against the West. But Angleton was also a dogmatic and conspiratorial operator whose idiosyncratic theories paralyzed the agency’s operations against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and whose domestic surveillance operations targeting American dissidents had discredited the CIA in the court of public opinion.
In December 1974, CIA Director William Colby fired Angleton after the New York Times revealed the then-unknown counterintelligence chief had overseen a massive program to spy on Americans involved in anti-war and black nationalist movements, a violation of the CIA’s charter. Coming four months after the resignation of Richard Nixon, Angleton’s fall was the denouement of the Watergate scandal, propelling Congress to probe the CIA for the first time. A Senate investigation, headed by Sen. Frank Church, exposed a series of other abuses: assassination conspiracies, unauthorized mail opening, collaboration with human rights abusers, infiltration of news organizations, and the MKULTRA mind-control experiments to develop drugs for use in espionage.
The exposure of Angleton’s operations set off a political avalanche that engulfed the agency in 1975 and after. The post-Watergate Congress established the House and Senate intelligence committees to oversee covert operations. The passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required the CIA to obtain warrants to spy on Americans. And for the first time since 1947, the agency’s annual appropriation was slashed.
Cram’s mission — and he chose to accept it — was to soberly answer the questions that senior CIA officials were asking in their private moments: What in the name of God and national security had Jim Angleton been doing when he ran the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974? Did his operations serve the agency’s mission? Did they serve the country?
With his porkpie hat and trenchcoat, the portly Cram bore a passing resemblance to George Smiley, the fictional British spymaster as played by Alec Guinness in the BBC’s production of John le Carré’s classic “Smiley’s People.” There was some professional similarity as well. In le Carré’s novels, Smiley is introduced as a veteran counterintelligence officer called on by his superiors to assess a covert operation gone disastrously wrong. He is drawn into a hunt for a mole in the British intelligence service.
Cram’s task in 1978 was to investigate a covert career that culminated in a disastrous mole hunt. Like Smiley, Cram was a connoisseur of files, their connections and implications, their deceptions and omissions. Like Smiley, he embarked on a Cold War espionage odyssey that would fill more than a few volumes.
When Cram took the assignment, he thought his history of the Counterintelligence Staff would take a year to write. It took six. By 1984, Cram had produced 12 legal-sized volumes about Angleton’s reign as a spymaster, each running 300 to 400 pages — a veritable encyclopedia of U.S. counterintelligence that has never before been made public. With professional thoroughness, Cram plumbed the depths of a deep state archive and returned with a story of madness that the CIA prefers to keep hidden, even 40 years later.
***Last June, I received a phone call from a Los Angeles area code. Half expecting a robocall, I tapped the green icon.
“I’ve heard you are interested in a man named Cleve Cram,” the caller said in a British accent. “Is that so?”
Was I ever. I had just sent in final changes to the manuscript of “The Ghost,” my biography of Angleton. I thought of Cleve Cram the way a fisherman thinks of the Big One that got away. I had focused on Cram in 2015, as soon as I started to research “The Ghost.” He had written an article, published in an open-source CIA journal, about the literature of counterintelligence, which gave some insight into his classified conclusions about Angleton. To learn more, I sought out his personal papers, more than a dozen cartons of correspondence and other documents that his family had donated to Georgetown University Library after his death in 1999. The library’s finding aid indicated that the bequest contained a wealth of material on Angleton.
But I was too late. The CIA had quietly re-possessed Cram’s papers in 2014. I was told that representatives of the agency had informed the library that the CIA needed to review the material for classified information. All that had been publicly available vanished into the CIA’s archives. By withdrawing the Cram papers from view, the agency effectively shaped my narrative of Angleton’s career. Without Cram’s well-informed perspective, my account of Angleton would necessarily be less precise and probably less critical. I wrote about the experience for The Intercept in April 2016.
The caller said his name was William Tyrer. He had read my article. He told me he had visited the Georgetown library a few years earlier, while developing a screenplay about a mole in Britain’s MI-5. He had gone through the Cram papers, photographed several hundred pages of material, and become fascinated by the man. “He’s like an American George Smiley, no?” Tyrer said.Some background on Angleton's famous saying:
I agreed and said I would be most interested to see what he had found. He questioned me closely about my views on Angleton, Cram, and the CIA, and said he would be in touch. A quick web search revealed that Tyrer is a British-American movie producer, the man behind “Memento,” a brilliant and unforgettable backward-running thriller, the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and scores of other movies. He was a serious man and a credible source. A few days later, Tyrer started emailing me 50 pages of material about Angleton that he had found in Cram’s personal papers.
The Cleveland Cram File, portions of which are published here for the first time, contains a sample of the primary source materials that the veteran CIA official used to write his Angleton study. The documents were photographed in Georgetown University’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections. A Georgetown archivist did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment; the CIA also declined to comment.
The Cram file illuminates a pregnant moment in the history of America’s secret government, when the CIA began to reckon with the legacy of James Angleton, a founding father of the deep state, a master of mass surveillance, a conspiracy theorist with state power.
***Perhaps the most complex and contested Angleton story that Cram had to untangle concerned two KGB officers who defected to the United States and offered their services to the CIA in the early 1960s. Angleton insisted the men’s conflicting stories had enormous implications for U.S. presidents and policymakers, and indeed for U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. For the CIA, the question was, which defector was the more reliable source?
Anatoly Golitsyn, the chief of the KGB station in Finland, bolted to the West in December 1961. He was a heavyset man with hazel eyes and a methodical and manipulative mind. Yuri Nosenko, a career KGB officer embedded in the Soviet delegation to a U.N. disarmament conference in Geneva, started selling information to the Americans in June 1962 to pay back official funds blown in the company of dubious women. Eighteen months later, he approached the CIA and struck a deal to defect in return for a $50,000 cash payment. Among other things, Nosenko had firsthand knowledge that the KGB had not recruited accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald when he lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962....MUCH MORE
Nov. 25, 2017
"Dollar threatened by six years of weakness - Morgan Stanley "
The story is from RT so it's probably just Russian dezinformatsiya , or maybe that's what they want us to think and it's actually true but in diving down that rabbit hole we may be approaching the 'wilderness of mirrors'* where we become contrarian to the contrarians.
And that way lies madness.
But it might be profitable.....
.... *Attributed to James Jesus Angleton when he was the Chief of U.S. counterintelligence at the CIA and attempting to discern which of two Soviet spies, Golitsyn or Nosenko was telling the truth.
Angleton ended up pretty much certifiable.
Plus, the term, meaning 'nothing is as it seems', was actually lifted from T.S. Elliot's 1920 poem Gerontion:
So that's that.
Or is it?
May 30, 2017
Spy Stuff and Media: Buzzfeed Gets Hit with a Second Christopher Steele "Dossier" Lawsuit
Here's the introduction to January's "The ultimate conspiracy: a conspiracy against Reddit’s conspiracy community?" concerning the CIA's chief of Counterintelligence 1954 to 1975:
Over the years I've mentioned the CIA's James Jesus Angleton a few times, here's a 2009 example:
As a practitioner of The Grassy Knoll Theory of Investing (there is a 'They' and 'They know') I am dubious of most EVERYTHING.
Of course this can lead you into the "Wilderness of Mirrors" which term the CIA's counter-intelligence czar James Jesus Angleton coined* and which trap he fell into:Oh well, by the end of his time as a spy Angleton was pretty far gone, probably certifiable.
...Angleton came to suspect Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who commented wryly that even the most brilliant and loyal officers should not spend their entire career in such pressurized and paranoid fields. Angleton also privately accused numerous members of Congress and President Gerald Ford of treason. Angleton's notorious pursuit of the "5th Man," who he believed had penetrated a secret agency in Washington, was solved, he believed, when DCI William Colby fired him. No one was above suspicion, and even Angleton himself was accused by others of working for the Soviets. (Wikipedia)
I put it there as more than just a cautionary tale, see after the jump, if interested.....
***....I think Mr. Christopher Steele, the guy touted as the second coming of James Bond, got played by the Russians.
Consider this, from William Smullen, Colin Powell's Chief of Staff and formerly an aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the cold war:
...“Typically, the Russian clandestine subversion specialists, being the best in the world in this demonical art form, operate in double, triple and sometimes multiple tactical plot lines,” said the former State Department official. “For example, in the media report … that the U.S. has intercepted a message from Kislyak to the Kremlin saying that Kushner had proposed a back-channel connection during the transition period, it has to be understood that Kislyak knows perfectly well that all his communications are being intercepted by the U.S.”Indeed.
They don't say anything they don't want the British and Americans to know.
That is the very last paragraph in Politico's May 27 story "Kushner’s alleged Russia back-channel attempt would be serious break from protocol"
Or, as noted in the introduction to January's "Eugene Volokh on Libel Law: 'When ‘there is serious reason to doubt’ rumors and allegations, is it libelous to publish them?'":
Played. Made to look the fool. By his own hand.
MoreJust as importantly, after reading the schlocky, amateur, borderline retarded "35 pages" thing, how could anyone ever again justify paying Orbis Business Intelligence actual money for anything they produce?
Back to James Jesus Angleton:
*In 2012 we noted Angleton only coined the use of the term in relation to intelligence...