James J. Angleton


James Jesus Angleton (1917-1987) headed the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 until he was forced into retirement by then-DCI Colby in 1974.

Angleton had earlier served in the OSS and from late 1944 had been in charge of OSS counterintelligence operations in Italy. He met and became friends with Harold ("Kim") Philby, British intelligence officer and Soviet penetration agent, during a stay in England in 1943. His personal and professional relationship with Philby was continued when Philby later became the British SIS liaison with the CIA and the FBI in Washington. Whether it was Angleton or fellow CI officer, William K. Harvey, who first became suspicious of Philby is one of the many aspects of Angleton's career that remains in dispute.

Much about Angleton is controversial, but no aspect is more so than the "mole hunt" that obsessed Angleton after the defection of Anatoliy Golitsyn from the KGB in 1961.

A lively, if opinionated, starting point is Cleveland C. Cram, 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).

See New York Times, 12 May 1987, D31, for Angleton's obituary.

Materials bearing directly on Angleton and his career are located in the "Works on..." files: A-H, I-Q, and R-Z. Items specific to the Golitsyn-Nosenko debate are in separate "Related" A-E and F-Z files.

Forward to Angleton A - H

Return to Angleton Table of Contents