James J. Angleton

Works on Angleton

A - H

Arboit, Gérald. James Angleton, le Contre-espion de la CIA. Paris: Nouveau Monde, 2007.

Beyond its being the only book about Angleton in French, Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), is not impressed by this work: Its "stereotyped depiction" of Angleton and CIA counterintelligence "as deranged ... adds little to an understanding of a complex story."

Cram, Cleveland C.

Cleveland C. Cram died on 8 January 1999 at the age of 81: J.Y. Smith, "CIA Official Cleveland C. Cram: Specialist in Counterintelligence; Conducted Influential Study of Legendary Agency Spymaster," Washington Post, 13 Jan. 1999, B6.

1. Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature, 1977-1992, An Intelligence Monograph. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1993. Available as PDF file (1993) at: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/index.html.

Clark comment: Although it remains the object of considerable ire from Angleton supporters, Cram's monograph is a great read for anyone interested in the literature of intelligence. Readers need not take Cram's opinions as the gospel, but they will learn about more things than "merely" Angleton. For an antidote to Cram's view of Angleton, see Hood, Nolen, and Halpern, Myths Surrounding James Angleton (1993).

For the Surveillant 3.4 reviewer, this monograph is an "opinionated, literate, fresh look at some items in the CI literature from an Agency insider." It offers a "terrific, though brief, historical review ... [and is] well worth reading." Bates, NIPQ 10.2, saw things differently: The "title is, at best, misleading because the monograph is really an attack on ... Angleton, blaming him for so many things I can't chronicle them here.... [T]his is not the way to write history."

Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), calls this "a unique and valuable historiographical survey of counterintelligence publications from the late 1970s to the early 1990s."

2. "Of Moles and Molehunters: Spy Stories." Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 129-137.

"Editor's note: The following background essay first appeared in a monograph published by the Center for the Study of Intelligence in October 1993." (See above)

Epstein, Edward Jay. Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1989.

Thomas Powers, NYRB (17 Aug. 1989) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 123-139, calls Deception "a richly suggestive but ultimately inconclusive work, which comes closer than Angleton himself ever did to laying out his case." On the negative side, Epstein "makes no attempt to weigh Angleton's case.... He has an obligation to the reader to pass some sort of judgment on these wild claims, but gives us nothing of the kind." According to London, IJI&C 4.1, this is a "much needed antidote to the overheated rhetoric of the moment [1990]."

To Cram (1993), Epstein's work now has "the smell of attic dust.... The first 105 pages explain Angleton's theories.... The remainder ... describes various forms of deception." The author dismisses glasnost "as simply another massive KGB deception." The book contains "many errors and misinterpretations.... Like Legend, it is propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest." It is "[o]ne of many bad books inspired by Angleton after his dismissal that have little basis in fact."

NameBase comments that the "second half of this book examines some major deceptions in the twentieth century: the Soviet 'Trust' in the 1920s, Hitler's armament inventory in the 1930s, Soviet faking for our spy satellites, and the mole wars. Then Epstein looks at Glasnost in the Soviet Union.... Epstein is ... worth reading, even after Angleton has been largely discredited and Epstein's premise is forced to fly in the face of almost all available evidence."

Halpern, Samuel, and Hayden Peake. "Did Angleton Jail Nosenko?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 3, no. 4 (Winter 1989): 451-464.

The authors conclude that "Admiral Turner got it wrong" in the accusation that Angleton was responsible for the incarceration of Nosenko. That responsibility rests with SR Division, Dave Murphy, and others, but not Angleton.

In a personal interview in February 1998, Dave Murphy commented, "I wish Sam had talked to me before he wrote the article," and suggested that the article had failed to take all the facts into account.

Hathaway, Robert M., and Russell Jack Smith. Richard Helms as Director of Central Intelligence, 1966-1973. Washington DC: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1993. Available at: http://www.foia/cia.gov.

This work, completed under the auspices of the CIA History Staff, was declassified (with redactions) in 2006. The "Editor's Preface" by J. Kenneth McDonald states that it is "organized as a topical study and not as a comprehensive narrative history of Richard Helms's six and a half years as DCI." (vii) Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), notes that Hathaway's "highly unfavorable chapter on Angleton [was] based not on in-depth archival research but mainly on critical internal surveys ... and on interviews with CIA retirees unfavorably disposed to him."

Hersh, Seymour M. "The Angleton Story." New York Times Magazine, 25 Jun. 1978, 13 ff. [Petersen]

Heuer, Richards J., Jr. "Nosenko: Five Paths to Judgment." Studies in Intelligence 31, no. 3 (Fall 1987): 71-101. In Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, ed. H. Bradford Westerfield, 379-414. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995. [Available as a 300 kb (vice 2.6 mb thanks to Kathrine M. Graham/NMSU) pdf file at: http://intellit.muskingum.edu/alpha_folder/H_folder/Heuer_on_NosenkoV1.pdf]

From Westerfield's headnote: The Angleton-Golitsin-Nosenko story "has been told many times -- but never, I think, as well as in this meticulous logical and empirical exercise."

Clark comment: Heuer goes beyond a review of the case, presenting "five criteria for making judgments about deception" and describing "how each was applied by different parties to the Nosenko controversy." He also draws conclusions from his discussion of the case. Heuer notes: "I remain firmly opposed to the view that the master plot was an irresponsible, paranoid fantasy. Given the information available at the time,... it would have been irresponsible not to have seriously considered this possibility. The mistake was not in pursuing the master plot theory, but in getting so locked into a position that one was unable to question basic assumptions or note the gradual accumulation of contrary evidence."

For the author (in comment to Clark 4/98), "The long-term value of this article is not what it says about Nosenko or Angleton, but the lessons about how bona fides analysis in general should be done."

Hoffman, Bruce, and Christian Ostermann, eds. Moles, Defectors, and Deceptions: James Angleton and His Influence on U.S. Counterintelligence. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2014.

Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), judges this transcript from a 2012 seminar to be "the best assessment of James Angleton and his career ever produced."

Holzman, Michael. James Jesus Angleton, the CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008.

Clark comment: My review of this work appears in Intelligence and National Security 27.1 (2012), pp. 158-162.

For Peake, Studies 53.3 (Sep. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Fall 2009), this book has "much that is new" on Angleton's personal life but "little new" on his career. In addition, the book has small and large errors concerning both British and American intelligence. This work "is less a biography than a literary vehicle skewed by a preconceived conclusion supported by secondary sources. James Angleton is worthy of a good biography. This isn't it." On the other hand, Hawkes, Times Literary Supplement (10 Jun. 2009), says that this "brisk, uncluttered book offers valuable access to previously untapped material on Angleton."

West, IJI&C 23.1 (Spring 2010), eviscerates this work. For example, the author "surprisingly offers little" on the subject of the Venona material, "and what he does say reveals that he cannot have studied the topic in any detail." On matters involving the Cambridge Five, "Holzman's reliability ... is really very dubious." West concludes that the author "has done little or no original research and instead has written a polemic based on his not very extensive reading.... Holzman is out of his depth and just does not really know very much about Angleton."

To Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2010), the author's "research is reasonably thorough, but ... he uses secondary sources with a surprisingly unquestioning attitude, and he makes many careless mistakes with dates, organizations, and people." In additiom, Holzman's "narrative is cluttered with several redantic or politically loaded asides and digressions."

Jeffreys-Jones, Diplomatic History 34.4 (Sep. 2010), notes that the author's "sense of comfort within the literary zone inclines him to emphasize the importance of Angleton's youthful interest in poetry," as had been done by Robin Winks. Holzman "argues that Angleton fell in with the American New Criticism that rejected historicism in favor of a closer reading of texts that resulted in the highlighting of ambiguity.... Holzman addresses his subject with mixed fortunes and fails to assess the significance of Angleton for U.S. foreign policy. But his book is a lively addition to the literature in a field where nobody is likely to be regarded as authoritative."

Hood, William, James Nolan, and Sam Halpern. Myths Surrounding James Angleton: Lessons for American Counterintelligence. Working Group on Intelligence Reform. Washington, DC: Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, 1993.

Clark comment: Reading this piece together with Cleveland Cram's Of Moles and Molehunters (1993) will not tell readers all they need to know about the disputes surrounding Angleton, but careful perusers will certainly come away with some understanding of the complexities involved.

The reviewer in Surveillant 3.4/5 was quite enthusiastic about this Working Group release: "This ... is an important item.... [It is] delicious 'I-was-there' stuff, with their prejudices -- for 'im or against 'im -- out on the table." Johnson, "Reader's Forum," IJI&C 7.3, asks the questions: Was Angleton right? Was Colby wrong? He answers with a qualified yes to each question. Angleton's firing "was the culmination of a conflict between two opposing operational philosophies that dated from the days of OSS."

Bates, NIPQ 10.2, says that "[a]ll three are supportive of Angleton, but not to the point where they did not see his faults and at times disagree with him.... [T]hey do a remarkable job. If counterintelligence is your bag, this pamphlet is for you.... [It is] pretty obvious that [Cleveland C.] Cram was the first to comment in the discussion period and to attack the whole presentation."

Return to Angleton Table of Contents