“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
James Jesus Angleton
“Was Angleton ever invited to address the only logical conclusion to his thesis, before alcohol and a last overdose of madness got the better of him – namely to close down the entire Western intelligence apparatus before the Russians led us over the cliff? I doubt it.”
John Le Carré — The Pigeon Tunnel
Paul Craig Roberts just told an amazing anecdote. James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA counterintelligence for three decades, once explained to him that “Intelligence Agencies create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions.”
In his Memoir “The Pigeon Tunnel”, John le Carré (AKA David Cornwell) describes James Jesus Angleton as a “delusional alcoholic”. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE — In a recent review of John Le Carré last book “The Pigeon Tunnel”, David Robarge wrote the following statement [CIA — Studies in Intelligence volume 61, No. 1]:
“In The Pigeon Tunnel, however, besides a swipe at James Angleton as a “delusional alcoholic” and a reference to “the days when the United States was supporting every narco-tyrant in the [Latin America] region in its fight against whatever passed for communism,” he [Le Carré] keeps his political pen in the drawer.”
Le Carré has never been an admirer of James Angleton. In a 2008 piece — The spies who lost it — John le Carré described Angleton as a mad man.
The bacillus had begun its life in America, before sweeping eastward. First had come the Joe McCarthy era. McCarthy died in 1957 but his torch was quickly retrieved by a deranged CIA in-patient of vast persuasive powers named James Jesus Angleton, who preached that the whole of the Western spook world was being controlled by superheads in the Kremlin. In human terms Angleton’s disturbing vision was forgivable.
He had received his education in the black arts of doublecross at the knee of one Kim Philby, a longstanding double agent in the service of the Kremlin and, as head of the MI6 station in Washington, Britain’s appointed cup-bearer to the CIA. If any spy ever had an excuse for going off his head, it was James Jesus Angleton – fabled poker player, master of the spook universe, who woke up one morning to be told that his revered mentor, confessor and fellow boozer, Philby, was a Russian spy.
But that doesn’t excuse the CIA, who made a folk hero of their mad doctor, and looked on while he poisoned the family. Not only did Angleton single-handedly wreck his own agency. He then, with his masters’ blessing, performed the same service to its closest allies, to the ribald laughter of the KGB. Was Angleton ever invited to address the only logical conclusion to his thesis, before alcohol and a last overdose of madness got the better of him – namely to close down the entire Western intelligence apparatus before the Russians led us over the cliff? I doubt it. And MI5, assailed by the Angleton theory, rose superbly to the challenge.
Not content with spying on its own members, a cabal of its middle and senior officers also found time to spy on Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister, an episode in its history that was documented in a dubious memoir put out by one of the conspirators. The author, you may remember, was Peter Wright, another poker pal of Angleton’s. Strenuous efforts by the British government to suppress the book, Spycatcher, assured it a wide readership.
END of UPDATE
Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes. It can be used to embarrass or discredit an innocent person or organization that has an unhelpful position on an important issue and is in the way of an agenda.
According to Paul Craig Roberts:
“It can be used as a red herring to draw attention away from a failing explanation of an event by producing an alternative false explanation.
I forget what Angleton called them, but the strategy is to have within a false story other stories that are there but withheld because of ‘national security’ or ‘politically sensitive issues’ or some such.
Then if the official story gets into trouble, the backup story can be released in order to deflect attention into a new false story or to support the original story.
Angleton said that intelligence services protect their necessary misdeeds by burying the misdeed in competing explanations.”
About James Jesus Angleton
James Jesus Angleton (December 9, 1917 – May 11, 1987) was chief of CIA Counterintelligence from 1954 to 1975. His official position within the organization was “Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence (ADDOCI)”.
Angleton was significantly involved in the U.S. response to the purported KGB defectors Anatoliy Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko. Angleton later became convinced the CIA harbored a high-ranking mole, and engaged in an intense search.
Whether this was a highly destructive witch hunt or appropriate caution vindicated by later moles remains a subject of intense historical debate. [Wikipedia]
In his Memoir “The Pigeon Tunnel”, John le Carré (AKA David Cornwell) describes James Jesus Angleton as a “delusional alcoholic”.
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