Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Mansion Has Many Rooms

James Jesus Angleton headed CIA's counter-intelligence "special investigations" unit from 1954 to 1974, outlasting several directors. Well into retirement, he was asked in an interview what went wrong with "the company" over the years. With no emotion in his voice, but with his hand trembling, Angleton replied:

“Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it... Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there soon.”

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