James Jesus Angleton bigraphy, stories - Spies

James Jesus Angleton : biography

December 9, 1917 - May 12, 1987

James Jesus Angleton (December 9, 1917 – May 12, 1987) was chief of the CIA's counterintelligence (CI) staff from 1954 to 1975. His official position within the organization was "Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence (ADDOCI)".

According to one-time Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms: "In his day, Jim was recognized as the dominant counterintelligence figure in the non-communist world."Richard Helms, A Look over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003), 275. Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein agrees with the high regards given to Angleton by his colleagues in the intelligence business, and adds that Angleton earned the "trust... of six CIA directors -- including Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Allen W. Dulles and Richard Helms. They kept Angleton in key positions and valued his work."

Notes

Legacy

Angleton's tour of duty in Italy as an intelligence officer is regarded as a critical turn not only in his professional life, wherein he helped recover Nazi looted treasures from other European countries and Africa, but also for the Agency itself. Angleton's personal liaisons with Italian Mafia figures helped the CIA in the immediate period after World War II. Angleton took charge of the CIA's effort to subvert Italian elections to prevent communist and communist-related parties from gaining political leverage in the parliament.

In time, Angleton's zeal and paranoia came to be regarded as counter-productive, if not destructive, for the CIA. In the wake of his departure, counter-intelligence efforts were undertaken with far less enthusiasm. Some believe this overcompensation responsible for oversights which allowed Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, and many others to compromise the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies long after Angleton's resignation. Although the American intelligence community quickly bounced back from the embarrassments of the Church Committee, it found itself uncharacteristically incapable of policing itself after Angleton's departure.

Edward Jay Epstein is among those who have argued that the positions of Ames and Hanssen—both well-placed Soviet counter-intelligence agents, in the CIA and FBI respectively—would enable the KGB to deceive the American intelligence community in the manner that Angleton hypothesized.

The 1970s were generally a period of upheaval for the CIA. During George H. W. Bush's tenure as DCI, President Ford authorized the creation of a "Team B" under the aegis of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. This group (in fact, groups) concluded that the Agency and the intelligence community had, in particular, seriously underestimated Soviet strategic nuclear strength in Central Europe in their National Intelligence Estimate. The Church Commission itself brought no small number of skeletons out of the Agency's closet. The organization inherited by Admiral Stansfield Turner on his appointment as DCI by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 was shortly to face further cuts, and Turner used Angleton as a whipping boy for the excesses in the Agency that he hoped to curb, both during his service and in his memoirs.

A handful of CIA employees had their careers frozen after coming under the suspicion of Angleton and his staff. The CIA later paid out compensation to three to whom no reasonable explanation could be offered in mitigation of actions taken affecting their careers, under what Agency employees termed the "Mole Relief Act". One hundred twenty employees are said to have been placed on review, fifty investigated, and sixteen considered serious suspects by Angleton's staff.

When Golitsyn defected, he claimed that the CIA had a mole who had been stationed in West Germany, was of Slavic descent, had a last name which may have ended in "sky" and definitely began with a "K", and operated under the KGB codename "Sasha". Angleton believed this claim, with the result that anyone who approximated this description fell under his suspicion.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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