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Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors
Posted November 29, 2011 to photo album "Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors"
In TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDER, SPY, no one is what they appear, especially with a suspected Soviet mole at the very center of the Circus. But turncoats, traitors, moles, double agents, and sleeper cells are nothing new in the world of espionage.
The Mole Hunter: James Jesus Angleton
As the Cold War heated up, James Jesus Angleton, the head of Counter-Intelligence at the CIA from the 1950s to 1975, created an air of paranoia and fear that saw moles and double agents everywhere. To some extent, his own paranoia was based on real events. Although Angleton was one of the CIA’s founders, he was also a man of diverse tastes. He maintained correspondences with poets like Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings and T.S. Eliot, as well contemporary literary theorists, and developed a deep friendship with Kim Philby, whom he met during World War II. In a piece in The Telegraph, John le Carré identified Philby’s duplicity as being critical to Angleton’s development: “a deranged CIA in-patient of vast persuasive powers named James Jesus Angleton (1917-1987)… 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.” To justify his views, Angleton promoted an ex-KGB agent, Anatoliy Golitsyn, who defected to the West in 1961. Considered by most as a middle-management Soviet agent with unreliable conspiracy theories, Golitsyn was heralded by Angleton as “the most valuable defector ever to reach the West.” And as such, Golitsyn’s ranting served to legitimize Angleton’s crazed accusations and often-illegal operations. During President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, Angleton initiated Operation CHAOS, a massive surveillance program that ran roughshod over civil rights, regularly infiltrating, spying on and tampering with anti-war and civil rights groups. He started accusing foreign leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, of being Soviet frontmen. It was ultimately his relentless search for the moles that Golitsyn insisted operated throughout the CIA that pushed Angleton out. In 1974, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s exposé of Angleton’s infringements of civil rights had made him a public embarrassment. Even worse was Angleton’s subsequent phone calls to Hersh, offering him government secrets if he did not publish the article.