Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Commentary: Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition

With no intelligence background, only his experience in the Navy, Turner focused heavily on the organization and management of CIA, bringing several of his former Navy associates into CIA management. After some consideration, he decided to eliminate 820 persons from the CIA staff. Two of them came to me for aid. One was an excellent case officer, with Russian language, who had recently carried out a major operational mission in Moscow. He was just somewhat more than a year short of retirement age, and he was homosexual. My recommendation was that he be granted that time for retirement, others joined in, and he was retired on annuity instead of being fired. The other had very good Russian, and I proposed that he be assigned to my department in the CI Staff . That was approved, and 20 years later we worked together in the Middle East on contract, and he is still working in Russia House.

Although Angleton had been gone for two years by the time Turner became DCI, Turner makes some appropriate comments about Angleton’s career as chief of the CI Staff for 20 years. As an example, he cites the Nosenko case, and Angleton’s totally inept and unprofessional assessment of Nosenko as a KGB asset sent to deceive us about important intelligence and political developments, including the assassination of President Kennedy. Turner goes into some depth regarding the Nosenko case, pointing out specifically and correctly that Helms as DD/P and DCI was very much to blame for not supervising Angleton and countering his actions against Nosenko, staff officers whom he falsely accused or suspected of being KGB penetrations, and his support of the Golitsyn analysis that the Sino-Soviet dispute was a fraud intended to deceive Western governments. Turner cites his excellent decision that all new officers read the Hart study of the Nosenko case done in 1976. He makes no reference to my involvement in the clearing of Nosenko, which concludes in ——”Circle of Treason” (Vertefeuille and Grimes, 2012) with the statement: —Thanks to McCoy alone...the vindication of Nosenko and his release from CIA imprisonment”. When Cleve Cram was interviewing Angleton at his home in 1975, before Angleton formally retired in September, Angleton suddenly asked him to turn off the recorder. Cram did so. Angleton then said that his career had been ended by the paper McCoy wrote on Nosenko. "Therefore", he said “McCoy is the KGB penetration of CIA that l have been searching for". Wrong again.

In his discussion of the CI Staff, Turner is quite complimentary about the operation of the new CI Staff under the management of George Kalaris as chief and deputies as chief of Research and Analysis, and Operations. Considering, as chief of CI Research and Analysis, that all of the review and correction of the disastrous and unprofessional actions of Angleton were my responsibility (e.g. Nosenko, RCMP CI chief Bennett, Norwegian intelligence service secretary Lygren, etc), it would not have been out of place for Turner to have mentioned that. He is once more precisely and deadly accurate in deploring the ongoing myth that counterintelligence had suffered a grievous blow in the departure of Angleton. My position included approval of operational clearance requests and supervision of CI defectors (Golitsyn, Nosenko, Deryabin, Rastvorov...). The reason for Turner’s reluctance to mention my involvement in these major CI developments may be apparent in his discussion of CIA analysts. He describes the event in which David Sullivan, a DI analyst, delivered a highly classified document to Admiral Zumwalt (then to Senator Jackson). When that came out on Sullivan’s polygraph test, Turner fired Sullivan. That is when Turner involved me—Sullivan had been identified to the clandestine service Soviet Division by his superior as the analyst to consult when we received intelligence more complicated or significant than we could evaluate properly. As the Soviet Division officer handling all of that material (from Penkovskiy, Kuklinski, etc), I had consulted him several times.

After we had lost an important asset in Moscow in July 1977 ("Widow Spy“, Martha Peterson, 2012), Sullivan came to me and mentioned the last report from CKTRIGON, a cable from the Soviet embassy in Washington to Moscow, purporting to report a discussion between the Soviet ambassador and Secretary Kissinger. That report had been translated by the division and disseminated only to the White House. Sullivan said that he was still consulting regularly with the special branch at NSA which was responsible for Soviet communications, and would be glad to take the Soviet cable to NSA for their evaluation. That was an excellent opportunity for me, and l retrieved the only copy of the original cable and asked him to take it to NSA and see if they could find anything supporting the fact that it had been sent. He asked for the translation version, and I told him that all NSA needed was the original Russian cable. He took it and came back the next day, saying that NSA had no comment.

In early 1978, as l was preparing to go to Europe on assignment, I was visited by a Security officer who asked if I had given a Soviet cable to Sullivan, as he had reported on his polygraph test. Yes, I had. A few days later, the Director of Security called and asked if I knew that l was to go to the DCl’s office the next day to be fired. I did not know that. Then I was called to go to the DCl’s office and wait to be interviewed by the DCI. I went there, and sat outside the DCI conference room waiting to be called in. After about a half hour, Sullivan came out. As he went past, he said that he had been fired. About 15 minutes later, the new C/CI Staff came out and said that I could go back to work. A couple of weeks later, I was called to the DCl’s office. I went in and found Turner and D/DCI Carlucci waiting. Turner said that, because I had cooperated with Sullivan in giving the special report to Jackson, he was demoting me. I stated that l had not given the translated report to Sullivan at all, much less for him to give to Jackson. Turner reached to the file on his desk, picked up a brown manila envelope, and said that I had, as he had it right there. A few days later, l left for six years in Europe. The demotion went into effect in September 1978. In 1985, as my tour was to end, I asked HQ what to expect as a reassignment. There was never any formal reply, so I had no choice but to retire two years early, in May 1985.

In May 2000, having returned to the States to accompany my son in his last year of high school, I was working in the Headquarters area declassifying clandestine Service documents. A contact in the History staff who knew of my demotion said that Sullivan had now retired to Whidbey Island, and would undoubtedly be willing to tell me the whole story about his polygraph test. He gave me Sullivan's e-mail address. Upon return to Europe, I sent Sullivan a summary of my meeting with Turner and requested that he give me a report of his polygraph test. He did that, making clear that I had not given him the document which he gave to Senator Jackson and that I had had no part in that action. I sent that report to HQ, verbatim. A few months later, in July 2001, I learned that my grade had been restored. When I returned to HQ, after my wife's retirement in 2002, I learned from Mike Sulick that he had received my cable, sent Jack Downing to visit Turner with it, and that Turner had agreed to restoration of my grade. That unfortunate, confused, polygraph test may be the reason why Turner had nothing positive to say about me in his reporting of major developments with which I was involved and which he reported on as having occurred during his service as DCI, as his book came out in 1985, and the matter was not resolved until 2001.

Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition, Stansfield Turner, 1985

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