Miles Copeland, Jr. bigraphy, stories - Spies

Miles Copeland, Jr. : biography

July 16, 1916 - January 14, 1991

Miles Axe Copeland, Jr. (July 16, 1916 – January 14, 1991) was an American musician, businessman, and CIA officer who was closely involved in major foreign-policy operations from the 1950s to the 1980s. He was married to archaeologist Lorraine Copeland (née Adie) and was the father of record producer Miles Copeland III, booking agent Ian Copeland, writer/film producer Lorraine (Lennie) Copeland and composer Stewart Copeland, best known as the drummer for The Police.


  • The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970
  • Without Cloak or Dagger: The Truth About the New Espionage, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974
  • The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA's Original Political Operative, London: Aurum Press, 1989


Copeland was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of a doctor. He did not graduate from college. He became a trumpet player with bandleaders such as Erskine Hawkins, Charlie Barnet, Ray Noble, and Glenn Miller.

OSS founding

At the outbreak of World War II, Copeland contacted Rep. John Sparkman of Alabama, who got him a job with Army Intelligence. Showing promise, he was one of the founding members of the OSS and later the CIA under William "Wild Bill" Donovan;Miles Copeland: "...(Later, I was one of the 200 employees who were on the original list of career members when the CIA became official in July 1974)" The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA's Original Political Operative, London: Aurum Press, 1989 serving in London, he became a lifelong Anglophile and married Lorraine Adie, a Scot then serving in the Special Operations Executive. He remained with the office as it was transformed into the Central Intelligence Agency. Among his first postings was Damascus, Syria, beginning a long career in the Middle East. Working closely with Archibald Roosevelt (son of Theodore), and his nephew Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., he was instrumental in arranging Operation Ajax, the 1953 technical coup d'état against the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh.

CIA career

In 1953, Copeland returned to private life at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, while remaining a non-official cover operative for the CIA. He traveled to Cairo to meet Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had overthrown King Farouk and taken power in Egypt. In this role he offered U.S. economic development and technical military assistance. At the time, the U.S. considered regional instability adverse to U.S. interests. The “new postwar era witnessed an intensive involvement of the United States in the political and economic affairs of the Middle East, in contrast to the hands-off attitude characteristic of the prewar period.... The United States had to face and define its policy in all three sectors that provided the root causes of American interests in the region: the Soviet threat, the birth of Israel, and petroleum.”

In 1955 Copeland returned to the CIA. During the Suez Crisis, in which the United States blocked the collusion of France, the United Kingdom and Israel to invade, the US backed Egypt's independence and control of the Suez Canal. The move is said to have been advocated by Copeland with the goal of ending British control of the region's oil resources, and forestalling the influence of the Soviet Union on regional governments by placing the US behind their legitimate national interests. After the crisis Nasser, nevertheless, moved closer to the USSR and accepted massive military technology and engineering assistance on the Aswan Dam, which the US had earlier offered, but with strings Nasser could not accept. Copeland, allied with John and Allen Dulles, worked to reverse this trend at the time.

In 1958, Syria merged with Egypt in the United Arab Republic and King Faisal II was deposed by Iraqi nationalists.Copeland, Miles, The Game of Nations, Simon and Schuster, 1970, pg17.

Copeland opposed some major CIA operations such as the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in 1961, believing that they were impossible to keep secret due to size. For many years he was based in Beirut, where his children grew up attending the American Community School.


After retirement from the CIA, Copeland wrote foreign policy books and an autobiography, and articles for publications including the National Review. He was active in 1970s political efforts to defend the CIA against critics including the Church Committee. In 1988, Copeland wrote an article titled "Spooks for Bush" which asserted that the intelligence community overwhelmingly supported George H. W. Bush for President; Bush had run the CIA during the 1970s under Gerald Ford. In the introduction to his book 'Enemy Within', Guardian journalist Seumas Milne wrote that in the Spring of 1990, Copeland warned British miners union leaders Arthur Scargill and Peter Heathfield that the CIA and MI5 had been involved in kick starting a media campaign against them and helped to frame corrupt allegations against them.Google Books:

Copeland died in February 1991.National Review:

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Living octopus

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