Not long after making my post on the possibility of Phillips/Bishop corroboration, I received a variety of feedback – ranging from challenges that Mr. Carle’s time in the Agency did not overlap David Phillips and it was unlikely given his age that he could have any significant information to offer on Phillips. Others immediately assumed that the statement by Mr. Carle was an editorial error or that he had simply misspoken.
With a bit of help and some searching, I offer the following update:
Mr. Carle is the author of the new book The Interrogator, which covers his 23 year CIA career including service in Latin America, Africa and the Balkans. It primarily focuses on his most recent work (before retirement) in supporting covert interrogation of a 911 network suspect. In commentary on his book, which he describes as totally factual, he slams the CIA for the number and quality of redactions they required, and describes a pattern of CYA, institutional inertia and mistakes by Sr., Officers.
He repeats a rather dramatic remark made when he attempted to challenge certain practices; the reply he was given was:
”We have a letter from the President. We can do whatever we need to. We’re covered.”
All in all, it would seem to be a book the Agency would not be happy to see in print, especially since Carle characterizes their redaction effort as being used to cover up incompetence and avoid humiliation.
Having said all that, and back to the point, available remarks from Mr. Carle include the fact that when he graduated from college he was considering the CIA for employment and after an inquiry to his college placement office was referred to none other than David Phillips. Phillips apparently responded positively and it sounds as if he even gave Mr. Carle an endorsement. Carle describes Phillips as his mentor even though he himself did not join the Agency until 1985, well after Phillips departure (and his struggles with the HSCA).
So, on the first question, Carle knew Phillips, considered him as a primary force in his Agency recruitment and his mentor – and their conversations occurred relatively late in Phillips life, during a period when it appears he did talk more freely albeit privately.
On the second question, that of editorial mistake, the Daily Beast article which contains the quote “I knew Maurice Bishop whose real name was David Phillips, he got me into the agency” – well the article itself appears on Mr. Carle’s own web site and the sentence quoted is in the lead paragraph, there is no sign of any disclaimer. And I’m pretty sure that any new author who gets a review in the Daily Beast will read it pretty carefully (as Stu and I did with the recent Daily Beast review of our MLK book).
I have emailed Mr. Carle, and I hope to talk with him by email or in person. Perhaps that will help clarify matters and I’d certainly like to chat about any “war stories” Dave Phillips might have shared.
— I’ll continue updates if I get further information, Larry