OK, so before anyone asks – why is this guy doing blog entries on
Christmas Eve?

Well my wife is wrapping presents and working in the kitchen and is
more comfortable without y direct involvement. Church services aren’t
until 6:30 and it’s still too cold to mess around around outside so
here goes.

James Angleton is certainly a key element of the CIA’s cold war history
and for many years my view of him was pretty tightly focused on his
obsession with the KGB and with Soviet penetration of the agency,
the “mole hunting” thing. But as we see more documents and get more
history we find that Mr. Angleton either involved himself (or wanted to)
far beyond the European theatre.

We now know he was very much involved in the Cuba project, not at first
but after the failure at the Bay of Pigs. One of the organizational hits
on that project was its generally weak counterintelligence component and
Angleton was called in to address that, filing a major report on Cuban
intelligence and counter-intelligence at the end of 1962. In doing so he
used information from the new Miami based Cuban counter intelligence group
crafted from David Morales AMOTS.  JMWAVE and the AMOTS became increasingly
involved in affairs across Latin America, in particular in Mexico and in
1963 we find Angleton focused on counter intelligence in Mexico City, in
direct competition with CIA station chief Winston Scott. 

Angleton was a great one for establishing his own people and his own
communications networks separately from the station chains of command.
He had people he could trust in Mexico City and was making a case that
counter intelligence should be largely compartmentalized form the Mexico
City station. .Mann certainly wasn’t of that view – it’s clear that
Angleton ever got the level of control he wanted in terms of an official
directive or assignment but clearly he kept his eye on Mexico City. In
the end he ws the one to personally collecting Scott’s
papers and materials from his home safe after his death. 

And Angleton didn’t ignore SE Asia either. While William Colby was
station chief in Saigon, Angleton tried to involve himself in counter
intelligence in Vietnam. Later, in 1965, after a car bombing attack
near the American embassy, Angleton initiated a major effort to set up
a totally separate counter intelligence operation in Vietnam.  John
Prados writes that Angleton sent one of his people to Saigon to set up
a “vest pocket” outside the CIA station. Its personnel
were to have military cover and report directly to Angleton, totally
bypassing the CIA Chief of Station. Army Intelligence strongly objected
to having operatives under their cover but acting totally independently;
they were especially opposed to Angleton’s desire for an independent
communications channel. Eventually the matter came down to a formal
meeting at Langley where then Division Chief William Colby put forth his
own objections. At that point Angleton found virtually no support within
the Agency and his proposal to add a SE Asian stand in his “web”
simply faded away.

Still, he would need to wait only a short time before his next
opportunity – CHAOS was already on the horizon.

About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. SMC says:

    Great Stuff Larry. Good to see you ‘going large’ as it were lol.

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