the CIA’s mole hunter just paranoid, or something else?
By Servando Gonzalez
(This article was originally published in Paranoia
magazine, Winter 212-213.)
James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s legendary chief of counterintelligence,
is without a doubt one of the most colorful characters in the
dark gray, paranoid netherworld of intelligence and espionage.
His life and career has been the subject of many books and articles,1
as well as at least two spy novels.2 Angleton’s life was
the classic mystery wrapped inside an enigma protected by a bodyguard
of lies. It is known that privately Richard Helms called him a
“strange, strange man.”3
According to the official legend, at the end of his long career
Angleton became convinced that the Soviet intelligence services
had infiltrated a mole4 in the CIA’s midst. His continuous
efforts to find the mole paralyzed the CIA and almost destroyed
it. Eventually, some people at the CIA, including one of Angleton’s
Counterintelligence men, Clare Edward Petty, concluded that Angleton
was the Soviet mole.5
With the benefit of hindsight, however, it seems that Petty was
right, but just on one count: Angleton was a mole, that is, an
enemy agent infiltrated at the highest levels of the CIA. But,
as I will show below, he was not a Soviet mole.
Undoubtedly, James Jesus Angleton was an important character in
the world of intelligence and espionage. But it seems that, despite
such close scrutiny by so many bright minds, the Council on Foreign
Relation’s secret agent James Jesus Angleton fooled everybody.
Behind this deceitful façade of mystery, intellectualism
and patriotism, Angleton was not only a traitor, but also a common
criminal —one more among the many hit men the CFR conspirators
have used to advance their secret treasonous agendas, foreign
and domestic, against the American people.
In 1954, CIA Director Allen Dulles (CFR) appointed Angleton chief
of the CIA’s counter-intelligence section. Two years later
Angleton had the greatest success of his career when he obtained
a transcript of Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 speech to the Soviet
Party Congress denouncing the Stalin’s atrocities. After
that, Angleton faded into anonymity until the CIA “family
jewels” scandal brought him to light.
Among the many things the “family jewels” brought
to light was that the CIA, in violation of its charter that expressly
prohibited the Agency to operate on American soil, had conducted
in 1967 an extensive operation, codenamed Chaos, to spy on American
citizens who protested against the war in Vietnam. The CIA officers
in charge of Chaos were Angleton and his counterintelligence staff.6
This was not the first time Angleton had engaged in criminal activities
on behalf of his CFR masters. In 1964, a few hours after Mary
Pinchot, a Washington D.C. area artist was gunned down in Georgetown,
Angleton broke into her house and stole her diary. Pinchot was
one of President Kennedy’s secret lovers, and apparently
she kept a diary of the affair. The CFR conspirators feared that
it may contain evidence linking them to the president’s
assassination, and they sent their trusted secret agent Angleton
to accomplish the mission.
According to authors John Loftus and Mark Aarons, Angleton was
not a hero but a villain. Among his many treacherous and criminal
activities, Angleton “laundered Nazi money and built a Vatican
escape route for the fugitives of the Third Reich.”7 Unfortunately,
however, Loftus and Aarons see these treasonous, unethical activities
as a result of Angleton’s personal criminal actions, ignoring
that he was just following orders from his CFR masters.
Angleton’s fruitless search for the Soviet mole apparently
bordered on paranoia. In his fixation to find the mole, he created
an internal climate of suspicion that paralyzed the CIA’s
information collection capabilities. At some point many senior
people at the CIA began to think that Angletonian thinking was
“too convoluted” —‘sick thinking’
they called it— and Angleton was fired.
Central to understanding Angleton’s fall, is the role played
by Anatoly Golitsin, a KGB counterintelligence officer who defected
to the West in 1961. Golitsin, who was handed over to Angleton
to run the operation, claimed that the KGB had been successful
in planting a mole at the highest levels of American intelligence.
This marked the beginning of Angleton’s paranoid search
for the mole.8
At some point, Golitsin warned Angleton that Soviet intelligence
would attempt to prevent the CIA from discovering the mole by
sending disinformation agents to obstruct the investigation. Soon
after, as Golitsin had predicted, Yuri Nosenko, another KGB officer,
defected to the West. Nosenko’s information seemed to question
Golitsin’s bona fides.
From the very beginning, Angleton claimed he was convinced that
Nosenko was the disinformation agent sent by the KGB to obstruct
his search for the mole. But the fact is that, even after long
periods of harsh interrogation bordering on torture, Nosenko never
recanted, and the CIA was never able to prove that he was a Soviet
A joke told in the Soviet Union was about a factory guard who,
every other Friday saw this worker coming out of the factory pushing
a wheelbarrow packed with hay. The guard searched inside the hay,
found nothing and let the guy go. This ritual repeated over several
years until a time when the guard was about to retire. When the
guy pushing the wheelbarrow appeared at the gate he told him:
“I know you are stealing something. I am just about to retire
and this is my last day here. I will not tell anybody, but, please,
let me know what are you stealing.” The guy smiled and answered,
“Oh, I am stealing the wheelbarrows.”
In the same fashion, Angleton fooled everybody with his life-long
fight trying to discover a Soviet mole inside the CIA. That was
the hay. But the wheelbarrow was that, as a result of his search
for the mole, he paralyzed the intelligence activities of the
true American patriots working in the clandestine10 service division
of the CIA. And I have to confess that, after reading dozens of
articles and books about Angleton, he also fooled me for a long
time. But recently I found the key to his real work in Colby’s
book Honorable Men.11
When William Colby was appointed head of the CIA’s Soviet
and Eastern European Division in the late fifties, he discovered
that the Agency’s intelligence and counterintelligence sections
of CIA, mostly as a result of Angleton’s activities, had
been divided into two schools of thought engaged in an almost
On the one hand, Colby found that the CIA’s Clandestine
Intelligence Division was devoted to working on developing sources
behind the Iron Curtain, interrogating walk-in12 defectors, and
running clandestine operations, specially about Soviet military
matters. On the other hand, the Counterintelligence Division,
led by Angleton, was carrying on an unrelenting campaign whose
alleged goal was to reveal and frustrate the KGB’s operations
against American intelligence, particularly its efforts to infiltrate
a high-level mole inside the CIA.13 According to Angleton, Soviet
defectors should not be trusted at all.
After realizing the damage Angleton was causing to the Clandestine
Intelligence Division, Colby’s first step was to approach
CIA Director James Schlesinger (CFR) and ask him to curtail Angleton’s
power. But Angleton had a close relationship with Dulles, Helms
and McCone,14 all of them senior CFR agents, and despite Colby’s
strong arguments Schlesinger didn’t do anything. On the
contrary, soon after Colby approached Schlesinger, Helms told
Colby that they would like to transfer him to Vietnam.15 Soon
after, Colby was appointed head of the CIA’s Far East Division
and sent to Vietnam during the hottest period of the war.
Was Colby’s sudden transfer to Vietnam a way to put him
away from the Angleton case? We can only guess, but in retrospect
I think that it may have been one of the reasons for Colby’s
In order to understand why Angleton’s disinformation work
was so important to the CFR conspirators we need to take a look
at the Soviet Union itself. First and foremost, the Soviet Union
was an artificial creation of the Wall Street bankers and oil
magnates who wanted to eliminate Russia, a potential competitor,
from the oil business. After the end of WWII, they used the Soviet
Union as the all-powerful, dangerous enemy to justify the creation
of the Cold War — which proved to be very beneficial to
oil magnates, Wall Street bankers and the military-industrial
But Communism is not a productive economic system, and the Soviet
Union by itself alone would had never turned into the menacing
enemy they needed. Therefore, due to the dismal state of the Soviet
economy, the conspirators had to resort to clever schemes to artificially
keep alive the bogeyman they had created. To this effect, they
kept the Soviet threat active by giving the Soviets military materiel
and advanced technology behind the backs of the American people,16
through programs like the Lend Lease and others.
Despite what American history books tell, the Soviets didn’t
steal America’s atomic secrets: the conspirators infiltrated
in the U.S. government gave them to the Russians.17 Moreover,
the CFR conspirators sabotaged the Navy’s efforts to launch
a missile with a satellite, which allowed the Russians to launch
in October 1957 the first artificial Earth satellite, the Sputnik,
before the Navy’s Viking rocket and Vanguard satellite.18
Then, the conspirators used the Sputnik as a way to scare the
American public with the fear of the Soviets’ missile and
nuclear capability to launch a devastating attack on the U.S.
Likewise, CFR agents infiltrated in the U.S. government authorized
the export of U.S.-made specialized machinery to make mini ball
bearings for use in accelerometers —essential for the ICBM’s
guidance systems— to be exported to the Soviet Union thus
making the Soviet ICBMs much more accurate.19 They also authorized
Ford Motor Company to build a heavy truck factory in the Kama
river, which later produced military trucks the Vietnamese used
during the war against the U.S. military.20
Despite all this help, however, the Soviet military machine was
never a real threat to the American one. So, the conspirators’
propaganda machine worked hard to inflate it.
Painting the Soviets as ten-feet tall gorillas was a full time
job for the CFR agents at the Pentagon. But, honest CIA officers
at the clandestine service division kept finding solid intelligence
proving that the threatening Soviet military machine was a bluff.
And the main source for this intelligence was Soviet defectors
who accurately described the permanent economic crisis and the
overall inefficiency and chaos of the Soviet system.
But the CIA’s counterintelligence Division, under Angleton’s
control, maintained that those defectors were actually plants
under KGB control that the Soviets deliberately were sending to
the CIA to feed manipulated information as part of a massive deception
program. Moreover, according to Angleton, most of this disinformation
consisted in painting the Soviet Union as economically and militarily
weak, when it actually was strong and warmongering.21
The bottom line is that, despite all his cleverness, dedication
and alleged paranoia, Angleton never found the Soviet moles infiltrated
at the CIA. What he did, however, was to practically sabotage
and put in disarray the CIA’s clandestine service division.
A clear proof that Angleton was doing an important job on behalf
of his CFR masters was that, when William Colby was back in Langley
as CIA Director, he discovered to his utter surprise, that one
of the few senior CIA officers who had escaped the purge as the
result of the “family jewels” scandal, was none other
than James Jesus Angleton.22 So, Colby began shearing Angleton’s
long wings and not only removed from his control such functions
as terrorism and CIA’s liaison with the FBI but also stopped
his total control over the CIA’s relationship with Israel.23
In order to understand Colby’s behavior one must keep in
mind, first, that despite the fact that he had become a CFR member,
he was never accepted in its inner circles. Colby was a trusted
man with impeccable OSS credentials, but he had humble origins
and was not part of the Old Boys club. Secondly, and this is even
more important, Colby had been unexpectedly propelled to the CIA
directorship almost by accident, as a result of the chaos created
at the CIA by the many resignations and firings from the troubled
So, despite the fact that he had dedicated his whole career to
advance the CFR conspirators’ plans, contrary to people
like Dulles, Helms or Angleton, there is the possibility that
Colby, like many honest CIA employees, had been recruited under
a false flag. Consequently, he may have done his treasonous work
unwittingly, under the false impression that he was a true American
patriot working for the American people.
Showing his extreme naiveté, incredible for a man with
his experience, Colby confessed that, after discovering the counterproductive
results of Angleton’s Counterintelligence Division, and
finding out that, despite all of his efforts, there were no tangible
positive results in the counterintelligence field, he did not
suspect Angleton and his staff of engaging in improper activities.
He simply, “just could not figure out what they were doing.”
But, “what really turned me off was the discovery that [Angleton’s]
counterintelligence theories24 —Angleton cleverly disguised
his treachery behind a cloud of deceptive and abstruse concepts
like, “the more valuable the intelligence the greater the
potential for deception,” and “the greater the truth,
the bigger the lie.”25 —were actually hurting good
clandestine operational officers.”26 Apparently, it never
crossed Colby’s mind that Angleton and his men —most
of them perhaps unwittingly— had been doing a very good
job on behalf of Angleton’s treasonous CFR masters.
In 1948 the CIA sent Angleton to Italy on a secret operation to
interfere in the Italian elections and prevent the Communists
from being elected. One of the groups most interested in defeating
the communists was, not surprisingly, the Vatican. Angleton both
gave and received intelligence to and from the Vatican. Among
Angleton’s most famous agents in Italy was Mons Giovanni
Montini, who in 1963 became Pope Paul VI. As a way of payment,
Angleton obtained access to the Ratlines the Vatican was using
help Nazi war criminals to escape from justice. Angleton and others
from the State Department used the Ratlines to ferry Nazis to
South America, mostly to Argentina.27
Angleton’s counterintelligence empire employed over 200
people. Inside this large group was a small handful of Angleton’s
most trusted associates, called the Special Investigations Group
(SIG). In 1959, when Lee Harvey Oswald defected to the Soviet
Union, only “about four or five” people were part
of SIG, which was headed by Birch D. O’Neal. SIG members
included Ann Egerter, Newton “Scotty” Miler, and very
few others. According to Angleton, Miler was, as of 1955, “either
the Deputy or one of the principle officers with O’Neal.”28
The SIG is a key element in the case of the Kennedy assassination
because, for some unexplained reason, SIG held a 201 file (also
known as a “personality” file) on Oswald prior to
the assassination. Both the Church Committee and the United States
House Select Committee on Assassinations’ investigators
noticed the strange fact, and they found no plausible explanation
for the CIA’s relationship with Oswald. What did SIG really
do, and why would Oswald’s file have been there?
Why wasn’t this file opened in 1959 when Oswald (who had
knowledge of the CIA’s top secret U-2 program) defected,
after telling some embassy personnel he might have something of
special interest to share with the Soviets? Why didn’t that
set off alarm bells all over the place? Why was the 201 file on
Oswald not opened for another year after that event? And why,
when he returned to the States, did the CIA not debrief him? Or
did they? These questions and more were raised by the HSCA’s,
but were never adequately answered by the CIA.29
The answers to these questions, though, are as convoluted as Angleton’s
own life and thinking.
As a member of the U.S. military, Oswald had worked for some time
at the Atsugi Naval Air Force Base in Japan, used by some of the
U-2 planes that flew spy missions over the Soviet Union. Most
likely Oswald’s mission consisted in telling the Soviets
that the U-2 was just a sophisticated glider, with a lightly built
airframe with big wings. Just by exploding antiaircraft missiles
300 feet from the plane it would go down.
Apparently Oswald accomplisehd his secret mission, because on
May 1st, 1960, just a few months after he defected, the Soviets
shot down a U-2 plane the CIA had sent on an unauthorized flight
deep inside Soviet territory. Proof that no missile actually hit
the plane is that its pilot, was not killed, and the wreckage
of the plane showed no signs of having being destroyed by explosives.30
Now, why did some Americans at the CIA want their enemies to shoot
down an American plane? Simply because, as I explained above,
the Cold War was a hoax, though a very profitable one, and the
CFR conspirators who control the U.S. foreign policy and the CIA
wanted to keep it hot. But Soviet Premier Khrushchev, with his
new policy of peaceful coexistence, threatened to cool it off.
Just two weeks after the shoot down of the U-2, a summit meeting
between Khrushchev and Eisenhower was scheduled to take place
in Paris, and the Soviet Premier planned to convince the American
President that peaceful coexistence was the right and only course
to follow. But the Soviet hawks used the U-2 incident to force
Khrushchev to cancel the meeting. It was also used by American
hawks to justify the raising of war budgets, which directly benefited
the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street bankers. And
CFR secret agent Angleton played a key role in this despicable
act of betrayal of the American people.
1. Ron Rosenbaum, “The Shadow of the Mole," Harper’s,
October, 1983; Seymour Hersh, “Angleton: The Cult of Counterintelligence,”
The New York Times Magazine, June 25, 1978; Edward Jay
Epstein, Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and
the CIA (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989; David C. Martin,
Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Ballantine, 1980); Tom
Mangold, Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA’s
Master Spy Hunter (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991);
William Hood, Mole (New York: Norton, 1982) and David
Wise, Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors That Shattered
the CIA (New York: Random House, 1992), just to mention a
2. Aaron Latham, Orchids for Mother (Boston: Little,
Brown, 1977) and Robert Littell, The Company (New York:
3. Martin, op. cit., p. 204.
4. Mole: A penetration agent. A mole is a spy who has dug his
way deep into the organization of a rival intelligence service.
5. David Wise, Molehunt, pp. 255-237.
6. See, John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of
the CIA (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987), p. 534.
7. The Secret War Against the Jews (New York: St. Martin’s
Press, 1994), p. 82.
8. The whole story is in Wise’s Molehunt.
9. Plant: an agent or intelligence officer sent to an enemy service
posing as a defector, in order to pass false information.
10. The reader should not confuse “clandestine” with
“covert.” Clandestine operations comprise all passive
operations, like spying, whose goal is to obtain information from
the enemy through illegal means. In contrast, the goal of covert
operations (i.e., assassination, propaganda, sabotage) is to actively
influence the enemy’s behavior.
11. William Colby, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978).
12. Walk-in: an agent of a rival service who approaches another
intelligence service by presenting himself physically.
13. Colby, p. 243.
14. Wise, op. cit., p. 240.
15. Colby, op. cit., pp. 245-246.
16. See Antony Sutton’s massive work Western Technology
and Soviet Economic Development (Three volumes), also his
Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution.
17. George Racey Jordan with Richard L. Stokes, From Major
Jordan’s Diaries (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1952) The
books is currently out of print, but you can read it online at:
18. See, http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/sputnik-memo/.
19. U.S. Senate, Proposed Export of Ball-Bearing Machines to U.S.S.R.
(Washington, D.C., 1961) Also, Antony Sutton, The Best Enemy
Money Can Buy (Billings, Montana: Liberty House, 1986), Chapter
20. See, Sutton, Best Enemy, Chapter 2.
21. Colby, op. cit., pp. 243-244.
22. Ibid., p. 334.
23. Ibid., pp. 335, 364.
24. Ibid, p. 334.
25. Martin, Wilderness, p. 20.
26. Colby, op. cit., p. 364.
27. Mark Aarons and John Loftus, Unholy Trinity (New
York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), p. 237.
28. Angleton 9/17/75 Church Committee Deposition, 9/17/75, p.
29. Lisa Pease, “This Was One of Those Occassions,”
Probe, July-August, 2000 (Vol. 7, No. 5), http://www.ctka.net/pr700-ang.html.
30. The most complete information on Oswald working for the CIA
is in John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (New York: Carroll
and Graf, 1995). For information about how the CIA used Oswald
as a patsy and fall man, see, Joan Millen, “Who Was Lee
Harvey Oswald?”, a lecture given during the symposium Making
Sense of the Sixties at the Hecht Institute, October 5, 2008,
Servando Gonzalez, is a Cuban-born American writer,
historian, semiologist and intelligence analyst. He has written
books, essays and articles on Latin American history, intelligence,
espionage, and semiotics. Servando is the author of Historia
herética de la revolución fidelista, Observando,
Secret Fidel Castro: Deconstructing the Symbol, The
Nuclear Deception: Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis
madre de todas las conspiraciones: Una novela de ideas subversivas,
all available at Amazon.com.
He also hosted the documentaries Treason in America: The Council
on Foreign Relations and Partners in Treason: The CFR-CIA-Castro
Connection, produced by Xzault Media Group of San Leandro,
California, both available at the author's site at http://www.servandogonzalez.org.
His book, Psychological Warfare and the New
World Order: The Secret War Against the American People is
available at Amazon.com.
Or download a
.pdf copy of the book you can read on your computer, iPad,
Nook, Kindle or any other tablet. His book, OBAMANIA:
The New Puppet and His Masters, is available at Amazon.com.
Servando's book (in Spanish) La CIA, Fidel Castro, el Bogotazo
y el Nuevo Orden Mundial, appeared last year, and is available
and other bookstores online.
His most recent book, I
Dare Call It treason: The Council on Foreign Relations and the
Betrayal of the America, juste appeared and is available
at Amazon.com and other bookstores online.