5 Fletcher Sec. Rev. 43 (2018)
The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton

handle is hein.journals/fletsrev5 and id is 50 raw text is: 


The Ghost:
The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton
by   Jefferson Morley

A  Book  Review   by Brian  O'Keefe


        In his new biography The Ghost: The Secret Life
of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, veteran journalist
Jefferson Morley probes an enigma others have chronicled
but none  satisfactorily explained. Angleton, a founding
father of U.S. mass-surveillance policies, joined the Agen-
cy's predecessor, the OSS, in its early years and reigned as
chief of its Counterintelligence Staff for an extraordinary
two  decades until his abrupt retirement in 1974.1 His per-
sonal mystique and complicated tenure have given rise to a
small but formidable
contingent of biog-
raphies, novels, and        The   Ghost
film characters. What
Morley  adds to the
intrigue is a refusal
to be seduced by the
beguiling charm of
his subject, preferring
instead to deliberately
scrutinize Angleton's
expansive power,
ideological intran-
sigence, and lasting
influence.

Morley's timeline
spans Angleton's


career, though he
peppers his narrative
with nods to forma-
tive experiences at
Yale, post-CIA pur-


The Secret Life
Of' CIA Spyrnaster
James Jeslas Angleton


.Jetter
   Mor


This approach is interesting in its own right, however,
and  should not be dismissed out of hand. Perhaps Morley
has heeded Angletons wife Cicely, who, in a retrospective
poem,  ruefully recalled falling for her husband at first
sight: Beware, she warned, of hollow cheeks,/and auras
sketched in lightning.2 Morley conveys something of the
man's enchanting appeal but resists the temptation to gaze
upon  it. Rather, he traces the consequences of Angleton's
         charisma, which serves repeatedly to achieve his
         will. Indeed, until Angleton's forced exit from the
         CIA following Seymour  Hersh's New York Times
         surveillance expos6, Morley recounts scarcely
         few instances in which Angleton is overruled.3
         His dominance  shines through the book's two
         most important clarifications to the historical
         record as well. Morley demonstrates that An-
         gleton managed Lee Harvey Oswald's case file
         from the time of Oswald's defection to the Soviet
         Union in 1959 until his murder in 1963 and
         likely obstructed justice by denying knowledge
         of CIA plots to assassinate Castro, while securing
         personal control over the Agency's investigation
         into the Kennedy assassination.4 [S]uch was his
         bureaucratic genius that he managed to wind up
         in charge even though the killing had happened
         on Angleton's watch.' Morley also relates how
         Angleton, as the Agency's Israel desk officer, be-
son      trayed U.S. policy on an epic scale by turning a
ley      blind eye to the Jewish state's secret development
         of atomic weapons.6


suits, and family affairs. The story unfolds chronologically
through  four tersely titled and equally distributed sections
(Poetry, Power, Impunity, Legend), each of which is fur-
ther demarcated under a dozen or more pithy subheadings
(Mole, Oswald,  Kim...). Readers might experience the
rhythm  as too serial for the genre, and while the chrono-
logical method is helpful in charting Angleton's ascent,
Morley  rarely lingers long enough with a scene to breathe
life into its cast. Save a few animated vignettes, the reader
is less a participant in the sensory and internal worlds of
Morley's subjects than a recipient of his detective digging,
sundry sources, and interpretive reflections.


One  realizes as the story progresses that although An-
gleton's credibility began to fade within certain Agency
circles, it persisted in others-and grew within Angleton
himself. When major events defied his predictions, he
clung to his foundational beliefs and rationalized the out-
come.7 His greatest oversight, the duplicity of his friend
Kim  Philby, drove him to repudiate uncertainty all the
more, until his erudite and polyvalent exterior belied an
absolutist ideological core through which he construed the
world.! At his worst, [I] ike the Shakespearean counselor
[Iago], he lived by his own creed.9


43

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