alright, today I'm gonna talk about James Jesus Angleton, my patented ANGLETON MINDSET, why we're living in a wilderness of mirrors, and why paranoia is the appropriate response to the world we live in.
first, let's cover the contours of his life.

born in Idaho in 1917 to James Hugh Angleton and Carmen Mercedes Moreno. his father worked for National Cash Register, and ultimately bought the NCR franchise in Italy. James Jesus grew up in Milan.
"Hugh Angleton... was ultra-conservative, a sympathizer with Fascist officials. He was certainly not unfriendly with the Fascists."

which appears to be a family trait
James Jesus Angleton was boarded at Malvern College, a British boarding school illustrious enough to have a Wikipedia page for notable alumni. I can't confirm the exact years he was there, so I can't figure out who he met, while there, unfortunately.
"He learned all about snobbery, prejudice, and school beatings. Before he left three years later he had served as a prefect, a corporal in the Officers' Training Corps, and joined the Old Malvern Society."
"He seems to have become more English than the English, a useful ruse perhaps for Malvern's lone half-Mexican Yank."
Angleton went to Yale in 1937.

"By conventional standards he was a poor student, frequently missing class, excelling only in those subjects that interested him, and occasionally failing those that didn't."

relatable lmao
while at Yale, Angleton and a classmate edited a literary magazine, Furioso, which published poets like William Carlos Williams, E. E. Cummings, Ezra Pound, and Archibald MacLeish. Furioso has been called the ne plus ultra of little literary magazines
Angleton corresponded with Pound, Cummings and T. S. Eliot, and then attended Harvard law school, where he met his wife, Cicely Harriet d'Autremont. they married, and Angleton was drafted into the US army.

his dad had already been recruited into the Office of Strategic Services
"James Hugh Angleton became a senior figure in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and was on the staff of Colonel William Donovan"
so Angleton's dad and Yale professor leverage their connections to get James Jesus into the OSS, specifically the new X-2 CI (Counter Intelligence) branch of the OSS.

Donovan modeled this branch after British counterespionage
interestingly, the Soviets penetrated the X-2 CI. Duncan Chaplin Lee (descendent of Robert E. Lee lmao) spied for the Soviets under the codename Koch and was exposed by the Venona project years later.

ask me what happened to him after he was exposed.
why, despite spying for the Soviets, making it so that "throughout the Second World War the NKVD knew vastly more about OSS than OSS knew about the NKVD",

he became a lawyer, representing clients such as Claire Chennault and joined the insurance company AIG
in training, Angleton met Richard Helms, who said "Jim was bone thin, gaunt, and aggressively intellectual in aspect. His not entirely coincidental resemblance to TS Eliot was intensified by a European wardrobe, studious manner, heavy glasses, and lifelong interest in poetry."
Angleton was trained in CI by Kim Philby:

"Once I met Philby, the world of intelligence that had once interested me consumed me. He had taken on the Fascists head-on and penetrated their operations. His sophistication and experience appealed to us... Kim taught me a great deal."
this is a good time to go into what counterintelligence actually is. if we crack open the 'ol Army Field Manual No. 34-60: FM 34-60 Counterintelligence, there's a classic definition that's pretty useful:

"Counterintelligence is information gathered and activities conducted to...
"... protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted by or on behalf of foreign governments or elements of foreign organizations, persons, or international terrorist activities."
sometimes people break it into 3 functions:
collective CI - like gaining info about what the enemy knows
defensive CI - undermining the enemy's ability to collect info
offensive CI - penetrating enemy agencies
that sounds reasonable, and most CI work is. but it can quickly become insane, like look at the Охрана, the Okhrana, the Tsarist secret police. multiple radical assassins turned out to be Okhrana agents, meaning that their CI work was running terrorist networks
yeah, it's good that that doesn't happen anymore. anyway, back to Angleton
so Angleton learned the ropes from Philby, "Philby was one of Angleton's instructors, his prime tutor in counter-intelligence; Angleton came to look upon him as an elder-brother figure."

Philby, of course, was also spying for the Soviets
Philby would be partially exposed in 1955 and then fully exposed in 1963, when he defected to the USSR and wrote a pretty hilarious book; I think I've posted portions of it before. the FBI, in particular, comes across like clowns.
"In 1944 Angleton was transferred to Rome as commanding officer of Special Counter-Intelligence Unit Z. In 1945, he was promoted to first lieutenant and became head of X-2 for the whole of Italy. At the age of twenty-seven, he was the youngest X-2 Branch chief in all of OSS.
Angleton helped Junio Valerio Borghese, leader of the Decima MAS, escape the righteous judgment at the hands of the Communist partisans. Borghese would later go on to attempt a fascist coup in 1970 and be involved in various Gladio terror attacks
"As Italian fascism collapsed and the German retreat quickened, Angleton found himself targeting subtle new enemies, including lingering Fascists and, more importantly for him, nascent Communist networks."
"The young Counterintelligence chief was now in his element: recently declassified documents show Angleton at the zenith of his wartime career... His unit's top secret intelligence sources... burgled their way across the open city with seeming impunity."
Bill Donovan asked Angleton to "help the provisional Italian government beat off a threatened Communist takeover", as the PCI was poised to win big in the 1948 elections

I think you know what this entailed.
Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the PCI, said "The elections were not free...Brutal foreign intervention was used consisting of a threat to starve the country by withholding ERP aid if it voted for the Democratic Front..."
"The CIA, by its own admission, gave $1 million (equivalent to $10,640,000 in 2019) to what they referred to as "center parties", like the Christian Democratic Party, which ultimately won
"We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets," according to CIA operative Mark Wyatt
it was in this complicated, messy world that Angleton made two of his most consequential connections (barring any Soviet ties 😎 ), that is, the Vatican and the Jewish underground, which is doubly impressive considering what both of those entailed
that's right, Angleton got a taste of both Operation Paperclip and the Vatican's ratlines, so he was helping rescue Nazis, and at the same time, he was helping Jews emigrate to Israel, scooping up their intelligence networks in Eastern Europe and the USSR
"In 1949, he was made head of Staff A of the CIA's Office of Special Operations, where he was responsible for the collection of foreign intelligence and liaison with the CIA's counterpart organizations" and in 1951, he was put in charge of the Israeli desk
"In 1954 Allen Dulles, who had recently become Director of Central Intelligence, named Angleton chief of the Counterintelligence Staff, a position that Angleton retained for the rest of his CIA career"
it's at this juncture where Angleton is essentially untouchable. his job is to spy on the spies, which affords him almost infinite power; the downside is that he's forever trapped in paranoia, because that's what CI work is, at least at that level
in 1949, Philby came over to DC as MI6's liason/top British Secret Service officer working in liaison with the CIA and FBI. Angleton had helped him get the position.

"Philby's home in Nebraska Avenue became a gathering place for Washington's intelligence elite."
"This included James Jesus Angleton, Walter Bedell Smith (Director of the CIA), Allen Dulles (Deputy Director of the CIA), Frank Wisner (head of the Office of Policy Coordination), William K. Harvey (CIA counter-intelligence) and Robert Lamphere (FBI Soviet Section)."
"Philby was privy to a hell of a lot beyond what he should have known", said one CIA agent

as Chief of CI, Angleton had access to almost every file and source coming into the agency; conversely, he kept large amounts of intelligence within CI. "Keeping the best files to himself also helped consolidate his bureaucratic power"
one of Angleton's early victories was obtaining (through Shin Bet) a Polish version of Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech" in 1956, "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences"
Ray Cline, chief of the Directorate of Intelligence, called it “one of the CIA’s greatest coups of all time.”

the speech leaking had massive consequences for communist parties in every country; along with the Sino-Soviet split, this speech caused many parties to split
less well-known is that Angleton added 34 paragraphs, inserting compromising remarks about the Chinese and the Indians. while it would be reductive to suggest that Angleton caused the Sino-Soviet split, he certainly exacerbated it.
"Many of Angleton's covert operations after he joined the CIA remain secret. The only people who know what he really did are his superiors and those who worked with him."
another thing Angleton ran was the 'Lovestone Empire', which you could write a whole book about.

Jay Lovestone was at one time the head of the CPUSA, a snitch, and a trade-union leader with the AFL-CIO
Jay Lovestone later "became director of the AFL-CIO's International Affairs Department (IAD), which sent millions of dollars from the CIA to aid anti-communist activities internationally, particularly in Latin America"

AFL-CIA, morelike, eh?
Bill Harvey, a former FBI man who jumped to the CIA, figured out that Philby was a Soviet mole; Angleton, who's job it was to find moles, never forgave him.

when Philby defected in 1963, it drove Angleton into full-blown paranoia mode
"At that time, the CIA had active operations going in Albania, the Baltic, the Ukraine, and from Turkey into southern Russia. We had agents parachuting in, floating in, walking in, boating in. Virtually all of these operations were complete failures."
"After the war, we had also planted a whole stay-behind network of agents in eastern Europe. They were all rolled up. It's difficult to draw conclusions why they all failed, but Philby must have played his part."

stay-behind networks, you say?
yeah, without those stay-behind networks, how else are they gonna set off bombs in order to discredit the Left?
a shrink who knew Angleton said: "There's little doubt it would have contributed to his paranoia. He must have wondered if he could ever trust anyone again. Psychologically, it would have been a major event."
a different CIA shrink said "It absolutely shattered Angleton's life in terms of his ability to be objective about other people. It's like being devoted to your wife and finding her in bed with another man. There's nothing worse than a disillusioned idealist."
it's around this time that Angleton scoops up Anatoliy Golitsyn, a KGB defector who's been described as "the most valuable defector ever to reach the West" and "an unreliable conspiracy theorist"
"With the single exception of Golitsyn, Angleton was inclined to assume that any defector or operational asset in place was controlled by the KGB. In these interviews Golitsyn argued that as the KGB would be so concerned about his defection, they would attempt to convince the..."
"...CIA that the information he was giving them would be completely unreliable. He predicted that the KGB would send false defectors with information that contradicted what he was saying."
Golitsin became an expert at confirming Angleton's worst fears, regardless of their veracity. one of my favorites is his insistence that the Sino-Soviet split was entirely fictional - a "massive disinformation campaign designed to lull the West into a false sense of security"
another great Golitsin take was that the Czech rebellion was fake. “Up until the morning they invaded Czechoslovakia, Golitsin maintained that this was a deception and that the Soviets had no intention of invading Czechoslovakia.”
for all the brain genius that Angleton had, he couldn't seem to tell that Golitsin was a fraud. or...did he? was he using Golitsin as a tool? to what end?
"A string of senior CIA officers, most notably Dave Murphy, the head of the Soviet Division, unfairly fell under suspicion, their careers ruined. In the end, the situation became so bad, with so many different officers under suspicion as a result of Golitsyn's leads..."
"that the CIA decided the only way of purging the doubt was to disband the Soviet Division, and start again with a completely new complement of officers. It was obviously a way out of the maze, but it could never justify the damage to the morale in the Agency as a whole."
so, let's talk about another counterintelligence op.

the CIA's Counterintelligence/Special Investigative Group maintained a pre-assassination 201 (personality) file on Lee Harvey Oswald; it is believed that there were more files
Angleton "wrested the CIA's in-house investigation away from John Whitten because he either was convinced or pretended to believe that the purpose of Oswald's trip to Mexico City had been to meet with his KGB handlers to finalize plans to assassinate Kennedy."
now, there was another KGB defector, Yuri Nosenko, who Golitsin insisted was a double-agent. Nosenko was held in a black site prison for three years, essentially tortured, because of Angleton and Golitsin.

but like, why?
wellll Nosenko said "he had been put in charge of the KGB investigation into Oswald and denied any connection with KGB. It was decided that he was not intelligent enough to work as a KGB agent. They were also concerned that he was "too mentally unstable" to be of any use to them"
essentially, Nosenko's claims "cleared the FBI of gross negligence. Hoover took this raw, unverified, and untested intelligence and leaked it to members of the Warren Commission and to President Johnson"

it also happened to be true, btw
Angleton needed to push the narrative that Oswald was a KGB asset; that's why Nosenko was put in a hole for 3 years.

why? because Lee Harvey Oswald was, among many other things, a counterintelligence operation ran by the CIA
let us listen to HR Haldeman: "After Kennedy was killed, the CIA launched a fantastic cover-up. The CIA literally erased any connection between Kennedy's assassination and the CIA..."
"in fact, Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton of the CIA called Bill Sullivan of the FBI and rehearsed the questions and answers they would give to the Warren Commission investigators."
let's talk about Mary Pinchot Meyer for a second. she was married to Cord Meyer, Operation Mockingbird's "principal operative". Richard Bissell called Cord Meyer "the creative genius behind convert operations"
"By the early 1950s, Wisner had implemented his plan and 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all...", w/ Meyer running them
Cord and Mary divorced in 1956, and it was around that time that Angleton bugged Mary's phones, despite also being a family friend and "regular visitor to the family home and took Mary's sons fishing"
in 1962, Mary Pinchot Meyer began a sexual relationship with JFK.

if that seems unbelievable, remember JFK was quoted as saying:

"You know, I get a migraine headache if I don't get a strange piece of ass every day."
their relationship is very substantiated. what's less substantiated (because I don't trust him) is Timothy Leary saying he got a phone call from Mary Pinchot Meyer (they were friends) after JFK's assassination:
"I could hardly understand her. She was either drunk or drugged or overwhelmed with grief. Or all three." Meyer told Leary: "They couldn't control him any more. He was changing too fast. They've covered everything up. I gotta come see you. I'm afraid."
Mary Pinchot Meyer was shot dead as she walked along a towpath in Georgetown.

"Mary appeared to be killed by a professional hitman. The first bullet was fired at the back of the head and a second shot was fired into the heart."
they arrested Raymond Crump for the murder, despite there being "no trace of nitrates on his hands or clothes. Despite an extensive search of the area no gun could be found"

he was acquitted because there was literally no evidence
Angleton quickly went to Meyer's house and retrieved her diary. according to one story, he was found picking the lock to her safe in order to obtain it.

he claimed that he burned the diary hahahahahah
a CIA officer improbably named Cleveland Cram was recruited by Kalaris and Shackley because the "CIA wanted a study done of Angleton's reign from 1954 to 1974. "Find out what in hell happened. What were these guys doing.""
"The study entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages."
"Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

despite being limited in what he can say, he was very critical of Edward Jay Epstein's books, which he believed were part of a disinformation campaign w/ Angleton
William Colby had the unenviable task of removing Angleton, and he basically contrived a couple ways to give him the boot, which came after Seymour Hersh published an article on Angleton's domestic spying
HT-LINGUAL was a widespread mail-opening program where (at least) 28 million letters were spied on from 1952 until 1973. Angleton ran this program.

Colby said "I couldn't find it had produced anything"
Angleton had been running Operation MHCHAOS since 1967.

"Operation CHAOS contained files on 7,200 Americans, and a computer index totaling 300,000 civilians and approximately 1,000 groups" with absolutely zero proof that there was any Soviet influence on them
there's a lot of inferences you can make about the whole Operation CHAOS thing, let's just say
if there was one thing Angleton was obsessed with, it was the idea that there was a high-ranking KGB mole in the ranks of the CIA. He ordered Clare Edward Petty to carry out a study into the possibility that a Soviet spy existed in the higher levels of the CIA.
Petty spent many years looking for the mole. "he eventually reached the conclusion that it was the man who had ordered the investigation, James Jesus Angleton, who had penetrated the CIA, and was in league with Anatoli Golitsin, who was not a genuine defector"
"It was at that point that I decided I'd been looking at it all wrong by assuming Golitsin was good as gold. I began rethinking everything. If you turned the flip side it all made sense. Golitsin was sent to exploit Angleton."
"Then the next step, maybe not just an exploitation, and I had to extend it to Angleton. Golitsin might have been dispatched as the perfect man to manipulate Angleton or provide Angleton with material on the basis of which he (Angleton) could penetrate and control other services"
"Angleton made available to Golitsin extensive sensitive information which could have gone back to the KGB. Angleton was a mole, but he needed Golitsin to have a basis on which to act.... Golitsin and Angleton. You have two guys absolutely made for each other."
"Golitsin was a support for things Angleton had wanted to do for years in terms of getting into foreign intelligence services. Golitsin's leads lent themselves to that. I concluded that logically Golitsin was the prime dispatched agent."
"As a result of his investigation, Petty concluded that there was an "80-85 percent probability" that Angleton was a Soviet mole."
Petty's report, along with Hersh's story, were what Colby used to dislodge Angleton safely.

well, I say safely. Bill Colby was found dead in the Potomac river, the circumstances of his death being unclear.
Angleton was forced to testify at the Church Committee, which was wild. when asked about the plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, he said:

"It is inconceivable that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government."
he also bitched to the CIA director that

"[The Church Committee] is the KGB's chance to go for the jugular. The whole plan is being masterminded by Kim Philby in Moscow. The KGB's only object in the world is to destroy me and the agency."
when discussing Angleton's internal investigation of the JFK assassination and blocking certain leads, another agent said,

"Well, that's Angleton's excuse. The real reason is that Angleton himself has ties to the Mafia and he would not want to double-cross them."
the author of Oswald and the CIA said, "In my view, whoever Oswald's direct handler or handlers were, we must now seriously consider the possibility that Angleton was probably their general manager..."
"No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald's files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president's assassination.."
"Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe
"mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure that a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence."
on his deathbed, Angleton "suddenly sat up in bed, bolt upright, with his eyes closed, and began intoning an American Indian death chant, uttering incomprehensible words with an Apache inflection. He was an Apache to the end."
"Kalaris (Angleton's replacement) now instigated an investigation into Angleton's filing system. His team found "entire sets of vaults and sealed rooms scattered all around the second and third floors of CIA headquarters"
"They came across over 40 safes, some of them had not been opened for over ten years. No one on Angleton's remaining staff knew what was in them and no one had the combinations anymore. Kalaris was forced to call in a "crack team of safebusters to drill open the door"
"The investigators found "Angleton's own most super-sensitive files, memoranda, notes and letters... tapes, photographs" and according to Kalaris "bizarre things of which I shall never ever speak".
so uh, what do you think some of those "bizarre things" were?
The investigators also found documents concerning Lee Harvey Oswald, only some of which have been made public.

oh, yeah?
although I could literally keep going since he's so fascinating, I'm gonna wrap up by including some of my favorite quotes of his

"Deception is a state of mind--and the mind of the state."
"You know how I got to be in charge of counterintelligence? I agreed not to polygraph or require detailed background checks on Allen Dulles and 60 of his closest friends..."
"They were afraid that their own business dealings with Hitler's pals would come out. They were too arrogant to believe that the Russians would discover it all. You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed..."
"We played with lives as if we owned them. We gave false hope. We - I - so misjudged what happened."
“Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other..."
“Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it..."
“Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there soon.”
also, Angleton's favorite metaphor about Soviet ops, which he stole from a TS Eliot poem was "wilderness of mirrors",
he described it as “myriad of stratagems, deceptions, artifices, and all the other devices of disinformation which the Soviet bloc and its coordinated intelligence services use to confuse and split the West … an ever fluid landscape where fact and illusion merge.”
thanks to Angleton and his class, now we live in the wilderness of mirrors. that's why we have only one option, to embrace paranoia, which we all know is the garlic in life's kitchen

thanks for reading, stay 'noided, god bless
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