excerpts from the book

In Search of Enemies

by John Stockwell

W.W. Norton, 1978


Author's Note

In December i976 I advised my boss in the CIA's Africa Division of my intention to resign. For his own reasons, he urged me to take several months leave to reconsider. Making it clear I would not change my mind, I accepted his offer of several more pay checks and took three months sick leave.

I did not tell anyone I planned to write a book. In fact, I had no great confidence in my ability to write. I had been an operations officer-an activist-for the past dozen years in the CIA.

What about the oath of secrecy I signed when I joined the CIA in 1964? I cannot be bound by it for four reasons: First, my oath was illegally, fraudulently obtained. My CIA recruiters lied to me about the clandestine services as they swore me in. They insisted the CIA functioned to gather intelligence. It did not kill, use drugs, or damage people's lives, they assured me. These lies were perpetuated in the following year of training courses. It was not until the disclosures of the Church and Pike Committees in 1975 that I learned the full, shocking truth about my employers.

I do not mean to suggest that I was a puritan or out of step with the moral norms of modern times; nor had I been squeamish about my CIA activities. To the contrary, I had participated in operations which stretched the boundaries of anyone's conscience. But the congressional committees disclosed CIA activities which had previously been concealed, which I could not rationalize.

The disclosures about the plot to poison Patrice Lumumba struck me personally in two ways. First, men I had worked with had been involved. Beyond that, Lumumba had been baptized into the Methodist Church in 1937, the same year I was baptized a Presbyterian. He had attended a Methodist mission school at Wembo Nyama in the Kasai Province of the Belgian Congo (Zaire), while I attended the Presbyterian school in Lubondai in the same province. The two church communities overlapped. My parents sometimes drove to Wembo Nyama to buy rice for our schools. American Methodist children were my classmates in Lubondai. Lumumba was not, in 1961, the Methodists' favorite son, but he was a member of the missionary community in which my parents had spent most of their adult lives, and in which I grew up.

There were other disclosures which appalled me: kinky, slightly depraved, drug/sex experiments involving unwitting Americans, who were secretly filmed by the CIA for later viewing by pseudoscientists of the CIA's Technical Services Division.

For years I had defended the CIA to my parents and to our friends. "Take it from me, a CIA insider," I had always sworn, "the CIA simply does not assassinate or use drugs . . ."

But worse was to come. A few short months after the CIA's shameful performance in Vietnam, of which I was part, I was assigned to a managerial position in the CIA's covert Angola program. Under the leadership of the CIA director we lied to Congress and to the 40 Committee, which supervised the CIA's Angola program. We entered into joint activities with South Africa. And we actively propagandized the American public, with cruel results-Americans, misguided by our agents' propaganda, went to fight in Angola in suicidal circumstances. One died, leaving a widow and four children behind. Our secrecy was designed to keep the American public and press from knowing what we were doing-we fully expected an outcry should they find us out.

The CIA's oath of secrecy has been desecrated in recent years, not by authors-Philip Agee, Joe Smith, Victor Marchetti, and Frank Snepp-but by the CIA directors who led the CIA into scandalous, absurd operations. At best, the oath was used to protect those directors from exposure by their underlings, although the directors themselves freely leaked information to further their operational or political ploys.

Their cynicism about the oath, and their arrogance toward the United States' constitutional process, were exposed in 1977, when former director Richard Helms was convicted of perjury for lying to a Senate committee about an operation in Chile. Helms plea-bargained a light sentence-the prosecutors were allegedly apprehensive that in his trial many secrets would be revealed, blowing operations and embarrassing establishment figures. After receiving a suspended sentence, Helms stood with his attorney before television cameras, while the latter gloated that Helms would wear the conviction as a "badge of honor." Helms was proud of having lied to the Senate to protect a questionable CIA operation, but to protect his own person, secrets would have been exposed.

Faced with a similar choice in the Angolan program-my loyalty to the CIA or my responsibilities to the United States' Constitution -I chose the latter. The CIA's oaths and honor codes must never take precedence over allegiance to our country. That is my second reason for disregarding the oath.

Even with those two reasons, I would not have undertaken to expose the clandestine services if I felt they were essential to our national security. I am persuaded they are not. That is what this book is about.

In discussing our foreign intelligence organ, we consistently confuse two very different offices, referring to both as "CIA." The one, technically called the Central Intelligence Agency's Deputy Directorate of Information, fulfills the mission outlined in the National Security Act of 1947, of centralizing all of the raw intelligence available to our government, collating it, analyzing it for meaning and importance, and relaying finished reports to the appropriate offices. Had such an office existed in 1941 we would have been forewarned of Pearl Harbor. The DDI is overt-its employees are openly "CIA" to friends, relatives, neighbors, and creditors; it is passive; and it is benign, without aggressive activity which can harm anyone.

Otherwise, we say "CIA" meaning the clandestine services of the Deputy Directorate of Operations. This organization of about 4,500 employees is also housed in the CIA headquarters building in Langley, Virginia. Anything but benign, its operatives have for thirty years recruited agents (spies) and engineered covert action operations in virtually every corner of the globe.

I was a field case officer of the clandestine services, and by December 1976, when I announced my resignation, I was persuaded that at the very least those services needed a major reform.

Before I decided to resign and write a book I considered the options for working within the CIA for reforms. The prospects were not encouraging. The isolation of the intelligence business provides management with extraordinary leverage over the rank and file. While the CIA benevolently protected and supported officers who had been rendered ineffective by life's tragedies, it had little tolerance of the outspoken individual, the reformist. An officer could play the game and rise, or keep his peace and have security, or he could resign. I had, through the years made positive recommendations for reform both verbally and in writing, to my Africa Division bosses and on occasion to Colby himself, without result. The inspector general's office was competent to handle petty problems, but as an instrument of the director's managerial system, it could not address matters of reform. And I had found the "club" of CIA managers arrogantly resistant to criticism of their own ranks-when I spoke out about the most flagrant mismanagement that I knew about which occurred during the evacuation of Vietnam, I was politely and gently admonished. The culprit was given a position of authority, vindicated by the support of his colleagues, and I was informed I had better keep my peace. Only in the forum of public debate, outside the CIA, could effective leverage be had to correct the agency's wrongs.

After resigning I testified for five days to Senate committees, giving them full details about such agency activities as are covered in this book. Had I been reassured that they would take effective corrective action, I would have considered abandoning my own plans to write. Unfortunately, the Senate intelligence committees in Washington are unable to dominate and discipline the agency. Some senators even seem dedicated to covering up its abuses. Once again, I concluded that only an informed American public can bring effective pressure to bear on the CIA.

Others had reached the same conclusion. Philip Agee used his book, Inside the Company: A CIA Diary, as a sword to slash at the agency, to put it out of business in Latin America. Deeply offended by the CIA's clandestine activities, Agee attacked individual operations and agents, publishing every name he could remember. Although he made an effort to explain how and why he became disillusioned, he did not illuminate the CIA "mind." Marchetti and Snepp contributed valuable information to the public's knowledge of the CIA. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence includes a vast store of information about the agency, drawn from Marchetti's experience in the DDI and in the office of the director of central intelligence. Snepp, for six years an analyst in the CIA's Saigon station, chronicles the intelligence failure and betrayals of the CIA evacuation of South Vietnam in April 1975.

My objective in writing this book is to give the American public a candid glimpse inside the clandestine mind, behind the last veils of secrecy. The vehicle I chose is the Angola paramilitary program of 1975-1976. The anecdotes I relate all happened as described. Dates and details are drawn from the public record and from voluminous notes I took during the Angola operation. In most cases there were other witnesses and often enough secret files to corroborate them. However, for reasons of security, I was not able to interview key individuals or return to the CIA for further research as I wrote. I urge the CIA to supplement my observations by opening its Angola files-the official files as well as the abundant "soft" files we kept- so the public can have the fullest, most detailed truth.

Our libel laws restrict an author's freedom to relate much of human foible. Nevertheless I have managed to include enough anecdotes to give the reader a full taste of the things we did, the people we were. But this is not so much a story of individual eccentricities and strange behavior, though I mention some. I have no desire to expose or hurt individuals and I reject Agee's approach. As a case officer for twelve years I was both victim and villain in CIA operations. In both roles I was keenly sympathetic for the people we ensnarled in our activities. Perhaps they are responsible according to the principles of Nuremburg and Watergate which judged lesser employees individually responsible and put them in jail-but I prefer to address the issues at a broader level. Since my resignation I have revealed no covert CIA employee or agent's name, and I stonewalled the Senate and FBI on that subject when they questioned me.

My sympathy does not extend to the CIA managers who led the CIA to such depths, but in this book I have used actual names only for such managers as had previously been declared as "CIA": Director William Colby; Deputy Director of Operations William Nelson; Bill Welles, who replaced Nelson; and Africa Division Chief James Potts. And myself. The other names of CIA personnel-Carl Bantam, Victor St. Martin, Paul Foster, et al.-are pseudonyms which I invented. (Any resemblance those names might have to the true names of individuals within and without the CIA is purely coincidental.) In the field, Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi were well known to be our allies. Bob Denard and Colonel Santos y Castro were also public figures, widely known to be involved on the side of Roberto, Savimbi, and the CIA. "Timothe Makala" is a name I invented (makala means "charcoal" in the Bantu dialect, Tshiluba). On occasion I used CIA cryptonyms, but in most cases they, too, have been altered to protect the individuals from any conceivable exposure.

On April l0, 1977, after my resignation was final, I published an open letter to CIA Director Stansfield Turner in the Outlook section of the Washington Post. It outlined the reasons for my disillusionment. (The letter is reprinted in the Appendix of this book.) Director Turner subsequently initiated a house-cleaning of the clandestine services, proposing to fire four hundred people, to make the clandestine services "lean and efficient." In December 1977 Turner admitted to David Binder of the New York Times that this housecleaning had been triggered by my letter.

In January 1978, President Carter announced a reorganization of the intelligence community, which in fact has the effect of strengthening the CIA; and Admiral Turner has reached an understanding with Congress (of which I am skeptical-the Congress has neither the will nor the means to control the CIA). Now Turner has intensified his campaign for tighter controls over CIA employees. He is lobbying vigorously for legislation that would jail anyone who threatens the CIA by disclosing its secrets. It makes him fighting mad, he blusters, when anyone leaks classified information. Such people are violating the "code of intelligence," he charges. It is the CIA's "unequivocal right" to censor all publications by CIA people, he claims. "Why do Americans automatically presume the worst of their public servants?" he asks-a remarkable question in the wake of Watergate, FBI, and CIA revelations.

Director Turner and President Carter have it backwards. It is the American people's unequivocal right to know what their leaders are doing in America's name and with our tax dollars. My third reason.

For my fourth reason, I reclaim my constitutional right of freedom of speech. The Constitution of the United States does not read that all citizens shall have freedom of speech except those that have signed CIA oaths. Until there is such an amendment of the Constitution, ratified by the appropriate number of states, the Marchetti ruling rests as bad law, an unfortunate relic of the Nixon administration's bullishness. If the CIA and its "secrets game" cannot live with our fundamental constitutional rights, there can be no question, the Constitution must prevail.

But if the present administration has its way, stories such as this one would be suppressed and covered up. And the author would be punished. I invite the reader to judge which is more important: CIA misadventures such as this one, or our fundamental right to know the truth about our public servants' activities and to keep them honest?


Because of my mission background, my recruiters and I discussed the CIA's "true nature." They had been unequivocal in reassuring me-the CIA was an intelligence-gathering institution, and a benevolent one. Coups were engineered only to alter circumstances which jeopardized national security. I would be a better person through association with the CIA. My naïveté was shared by most of my forty-two classmates in our year-long training program. Our instructors hammered the message at us: the CIA was good, its mission was to make the world a better place, to save the world from communism.


Carl insisted that it was Kissinger who was pushing the agency into the covert operation in Angola. Kissinger saw the Angolan conflict solely in terms of global politics and was determined the Soviets should not be permitted to make a move in any remote part of the world without being confronted militarily by the United States. Superficially, his opposition to the Soviet presence was being rationalized in terms of Angola's strategic location on the South Atlantic, near the shipping lanes of the giant tankers which bring oil from the Middle East around the horn of Africa to the United States. This argument was not profound. Soviet bases in Somalia had much better control of our shipping lanes, and any military move by the Soviets against our oil supplies would trigger a reaction so vigorous that a Soviet base in Angola would be a trivial factor. In fact, Angola had little plausible importance to American national security and little economic importance beyond the robusta coffee it sold to American markets and the relatively small amounts of petroleum Gulf Oil pumped from the Cabindan fields.

No. Uncomfortable with recent historic events, and frustrated by our humiliation in Vietnam, Kissinger was seeking opportunities to challenge the Soviets.

The Central Intelligence Agency's authority to run covert operations was for twenty-seven years solely dependent on a vague phrase in the National Security Act of 1947 which read: "to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." In 1975 Clark Clifford testified that the drafters of this act intended only to give the president authority to undertake operations in the rare instances that the national security was truly threatened. In fact, the CIA used the vaguely worded charter to launch thousands of covert actions in every corner of the world. Most of them had dubious justification in terms of the United States security. (See the Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities [also called the Church Committee Report], April z6, 1976.) The Hughes-Ryan Amendment to the National Assistance Act of 1974 required that no funds be expended by or on behalf of the CIA for operations abroad, other than activities designed to obtain necessary intelligence, unless two conditions are met: (a) the president must make a finding that such operation is important to the national security of the United States; and (b) the president must report in a timely fashion a description of such operation and its scope to congressional committees. Theoretically the Senate has controlled the agency budget since 1947 but CIA funds were buried in the Department of Defense budget, and without detailed knowledge of CIA activities, the Senate could make little practical use of this power. *The CIA has a special arrangement which permits any employee who has three years of overseas duty to retire at age fifty, with as much as $20,000 per year in retirement pay. The stresses that shorten case officers' lives are not what one might guess, certainly not those of James Bond-like danger and intrigue. Most case officers work under official (State Department) cover, and circulate after hours in the world of cocktail and dinner parties. They become accustomed to a life-style of rich food, alcohol, and little exercise. At work they are subject to bureaucratic stresses comparable to a sales office or a newsroom, with publishing deadlines and competitive pressures to produce recruitments.

... CIA case officers are ... almost entirely dependent on CIA material for knowledge of their areas of operation, perpetuating CIA biases and superficial observations. It is exceedingly rare that CIA officers, including even the analysts of the Directorate of Information, will read the books and articles which the academic world publishes about their areas of interest.

Essentially a conservative organization, the CIA maintains secret liaison with local security services wherever it operates. Its stations are universally part of the official communities of the host countries. Case officers live comfortable lives among the economic elite; even "outside" or "deep cover" case officers are part of that elite. They become conditioned to the mentality of the authoritarian figures, the police chiefs, with whom they work and socialize, and eventually share their resentment of revolutionaries who threaten the status quo. They are ill at ease with democracies and popular movements-too fickle and hard to predict.

... the Portuguese role in Angola was historically one of exploitation and brutal suppression. Beginning in 1498 it conquered and subjugated the three dominant tribal kingdoms-the Bakongo, Mbumdu, and Ovimbundu-and exported over three million slaves, leaving vast reaches of the colony under-populated. The colonial society was segregated into six racial categories defined by the portion of white blood in each, with two categories of pure blacks at the bottom of the scale. Citizenship, economic and legal privilege accrued only to the 600,000 whites, mulattos, and assimilados or blacks who were legally accepted among the elite of the society. The go percent of the population classified as indigenas suffered every form of discrimination-including forced labor, beatings, arbitrary imprisonment, and execution. without trial-at the hands of the colonial administrators.

In 1958 there were 203 doctors in all of Angola, statistically one for every 22,400 Angolans, although most of those two hundred served only European, mulatto, or assimilado patients, while a handful tended the 6,000,000 Angolan indigenas. Less than 1 percent of the indigenas had as much as three years of schooling.

John Marcum, an American scholar who visited the interior of Angola in the early I960s, walking eight hundred miles into the FNLA guerrilla camps in northern Angola, reports that at the time rebellion erupted in 196l, 2,000,000 Angolan natives were displaced from their historic social and geographic surroundings: 800,000 were subject to rural forced labor; 350,000 faced underemployment in the slums of the urban areas; and about l,000,000 were emigres in the Congo, Rhodesia, and South Africa. "The disintegration of traditional society had led to widespread disorientation, despair, and preparations for violent protest." By I96I Angola was a black powder keg with the three major ethnic groups organized for revolt.

On March 15,196I, FNLA guerrillas mounted a so-pronged attack across the Congo border along a 400-mile front, killing African and Portuguese men, women, and children alike.

Portuguese air force planes immediately brought in military reinforcements using NATO arms intended for the defense of the North Atlantic area, and began striking back with indiscriminate wrath, even bombing and strafing areas that had not been affected by the nationalist uprising. Portuguese police seized nationalists, Protestants, communists, and systematically eliminated black leaders by execution and terrorism. By overreacting and flaying out indiscriminately, the Portuguese helped to insure the insurrection would not be localized or quashed.

President Kennedy made a tentative gesture of support to the revolutionaries by voting with the majority of 73 to 2 (South Africa and Spain opposing) on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 15I4, April 20, 1961, which called for reforms in Angola. The United States also cut a planned military assistance program from $25 million to $3 million and imposed a ban on the commercial sale of arms to Portugal.

But the Portuguese held a very high card-the Azores air bases that refueled up to forty U.S. Air Force transports a day. We could not do without them and our agreement for their use was due to expire December 31,196Z, only eighteen months away. By renegotiating the agreement on a year-by-year basis, the Portuguese were able to stymie further pressure from Washington and obtain extensive military loans and financial credits.

Even as American bombs and napalm fell on the Angolan nationalists, and the U.S. voted the conservative line at the UN, Portugal's air force chief of staff, General Tiago Mina Delgado, was honored in Washington, receiving the American Legion of Merit from the U.S. Air Force chief of staff, Curtis Lemay, and a citation from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara for his contribution to U.S.-Portuguese friendship. Strategic realities dominated policy.

Lisbon attributed the war in northern Angola to Congolese "invaders" and "outside agitators" acting with a rabble of hemp-smoking indigenas and for years thereafter, while the rebellion sputtered and flared, the United States ignored Angolan revolutionary movements. With the advent of the Nixon administration in 1969, a major review of American policy toward Southern Africa, the "tar baby" report (NSSM 39), concluded that African insurgent movements were ineffectual, not "realistic or supportable" alternatives to continued colonial rule. The interdepartmental policy review, commissioned by then White House advisor, Henry Kissinger, questioned "the depth and permanence of black resolve" and "ruled out a black victory at any stage." Events soon proved this to be a basic miscalculation.

... we searched the world for allies who could provide qualified advisors to put into the conflict, or better yet, regular army units to crush the MPLA and deliver the country to Roberto and Savimbi. We canvassed moderate friends-Brazil, Morocco, South Korea, Belgium, Great Britain, France, and even Portugal, without success. South Africa eventually came to UNITA's rescue, but the Zairian commando battalions in northern Angola were only slightly better than the FNLA forces they joined.

Mercenaries seemed to be the answer, preferably Europeans with the requisite military skills and perhaps experience in Africa. As long as they were not Americans, the 40 Committee approved. We began an exhaustive search for suitable candidates, a search which brought me in conflict with my bosses and kept me at odds with them even into March 1976, months after the Senate had ordered a halt to the Angola program. The conduct of European and South African mercenaries in previous African civil wars had left them with a murderous reputation, and the use of white mercenaries at the crest of the era of black nationalism was a blunder, I felt, which could only damage United States credibility in the Third World. In addition, the mercenaries who have appeared in previous African wars have been a mixed bag, more often self-serving, ineffective, unmilitary. Potts, Bantam, Nelson, St. Martin, Foster-all lacked enough experience in Africa to know that. They tended to idealize mercenaries and exaggerate their capabilities. And they lacked sensitivity for the disgust the word "mercenary" stirs in the hearts of black Africans. Nor did Colby know Africa, although perhaps he was in a class by himself. The mild, likable, church-going, master case officer who had commanded the PHOENIX program in Vietnam would hardly have qualms about a few mercenaries fighting blacks in Africa.

I spoke out in staff meetings and in Potts's office every time the subject of mercenaries came up. Whenever a memo or buckslip or cable about mercenaries circulated the office I added my own critical comment in the margins, and I did have some effect. After several weeks of my pressure, the word "mercenary" became taboo at headquarters. Potts forbade its use in cables, memoranda, and files, at headquarters and in the field. Thereafter the mercenaries who were hired and sent to Angola were to be called "foreign military advisors."

And so we proceeded to search the world for acceptable "foreign military advisors." We began the search with no leads whatsoever- astonishingly, we found that nowhere in the CIA, not even the Special Operations Group, with all its experiences in Southeast Asia, was there a file, reference list, or computer run of individuals who might be recruited as advisors. Anti-Castro Cubans, such as had been used in the Congo, the Bay of Pigs, and Watergate, were ruled out because they carried United States green resident alien cards and hence would fall under the 40 Committee's restrictions against using Americans. South Vietnamese refugees were approached, but they were busy rebuilding their lives in the new world, and were unanimously wary of a CIA adventure in black Africa. They too carried green cards. The British refused to help. South Koreans were excluded because of language and cultural problems. Biafrans and other Africans were rejected out of political considerations, and because they wouldn't have the impact of whites. Finally, five sources seemed to be available: Portuguese, French, Brazilians, Filipinos, and South Africans.

Portuguese were already being recruited in small numbers by the FNLA, Colonel Castro, Captain Bento, and their men. We decided to expand this effort by recruiting three hundred Portuguese Angolans to support the FNLA. But for UNITA we needed two dozen technicians, and Savimbi wouldn't accept Portuguese.

France would not give us regular army troops, but it had no hesitation concerning mercenaries. The French intelligence service introduced CIA case officers to onetime Congo mercenary Bob Denard, and for $500,000 cash-paid in advance he agreed to provide twenty French mercenaries who would "advise" UNITA on short-term contracts. Denard was encrypted UNROBIN/I and this mercenary program was UNHOOD. To the waggish the twenty Frenchmen were "Robin's Hoods" or the "French Hoods" for the duration of the program.

Brazil seemed also to offer a good source of manpower. Savimbi and Roberto both thought they could work comfortably with black Brazilians, who had the advantage of speaking Portuguese. General Walters, the CIA deputy director, felt sure he could influence the Brazilian military command to help us recruit. Walters had served as defense and army attaché in Brazil in the mid-l960s and was still somewhat euphoric about that experience. We sent a cable instructing the chief of station, Brasilia, to query the Brazilians about the general's desire to visit, but the polite answer came back that Brazil could not at that time entertain the (highly visible) CIA deputy director. In Walters's place Dick Sampson, the chief of Latin America Division, went and returned, empty-handed. The Brazilians politely declined to permit the recruitment of mercenaries in their country.

In Vietnam, Filipinos had provided the CIA with extensive help, keeping radios, vehicles, and air conditioners running, managing warehouses and tending bar at cocktail parties-all the things that highly paid CIA staffers could not be expected to do with much enthusiasm. This support had been managed through a Philippine company, ECCOI, and, naturally enough, headquarters remembered and sought the same help for Angola. For five months, beginning in August, we sent repetitive cables to the Manila station asking it to query ECCOI, but the response was so slow as to amount to rejection. Supporting black liberation movements inside Angola on short-term CIA contracts in a controversial, clandestine program was not attractive to the Filipinos. Possibly they remembered the evacuation of Vietnam a few months before: the CIA had left Z50 of its Filipino employees behind at the mercy of the communists.

South Africa was a different matter. It came into the conflict cautiously at first, watching the expanding U.S. program and timing their steps to the CIA's. In September the South Africans began to provide arms and training to UNITA and FNLA soldiers at Runtu on the Angolan/South-West African border. First two, then twelve, then forty advisors appeared with UNITA forces near Silva Porto. Eventually the South African armored column-regular soldiers, far better than mercenaries-teamed with UNITA to make the most effective military strike force ever seen in black Africa, exploding through the MPLA/Cuban ranks in a blitzkreig, which in November almost won the war.

South Africa in 1975 was in a dangerously beleaguered position. Its blacks were increasingly restive, its whites emigrating, the white buffer states of Rhodesia, Mozambique, and Angola were threatened, and its economy was sagging. The Arab states' oil embargo had pushed up the cost of fuel despite continued supplies from Iran. South Africa's policies of sharing economic and technical resources with its northern neighbors, had seemed enlightened and effective. By 1975, however, it was clear they had not stemmed the tide of resentment against the white redoubt's apartheid policies.

The 1974 coup in Portugal had exposed South Africa to fresh, chill winds of black nationalism, as Mozambique and Angola threatened to succumb to Soviet-sponsored, radical, black movements, which promised increased pressure on Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Africa itself. The white buffer concept was no longer viable. The South African fall-back position was to attempt to create in Mozambique and Angola moderate states which, like Malawi and Botswana, would be friendly or at least not hostile to South Africa.

The South African government attacked the threat in Mozambique with impeccably correct diplomacy and generous economic concessions. In Angola, however, it felt there were sound reasons for military intervention. There were masses of Angolan refugees to succor. The million-dollar hydroelectric plant it was building at Cunene in southern Angola required protection. SWAPO (South West African People's Organization) guerrilla bases in Angola could be destroyed. Most important, of course, was the temptation to influence the outcome of the Angolan civil war in favor of Savimbi, who was considered the most likely to establish a government in Luanda which would cooperate with South Africa.

The South Africans had some encouragement to go into Angola. Savimbi invited them, after conferring with Mobutu, Kaunda, Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, and Leopold Senghor of Senegal, all of whom favored a moderate, pro-West government in Angola. I saw no evidence that the United States formally encouraged them to join the conflict.

The South Africans hoped to gain sympathy from the West by supporting the same side as the Zairians, Zambians, and United States in the Angolan conflict. They felt that their troops, even though white, would be more acceptable to most African leaders than the non-African Cubans. They also expected to be successful, understanding that the Ford administration would obtain U.S congressional support for an effective Angola program. On all three points they were disastrously wrong.

Eschewing hawkish plans for a decisive military strike, South African Prime Minister John Vorster opted for a small, covert task force. Only light armor and artillery would be used; there would be no tanks, infantry, or fighter bomber aircraft. Posing as mercenaries and remaining behind the UNITA troops, the soldiers would remain invisible. A curtain of silence in Pretoria would further protect them. The task force would do the job and withdraw quickly, before the November 11 independence date.

The South African government was playing a dangerous game. With scarcely a friend in the world, it was inviting further condemnation by intervening in a black African country. And it was forced to run its program covertly, like the CIA, concealing it from its own people. Only recently, in March 1975, had it withdrawn its forces from Rhodesia, and racist whites would question why their sons were now fighting for black freedom in Angola. Still, South Africa entered the war, watching the United States program closely and hoping for an overt nod of recognition and camaraderie.

To the CIA, the South Africans were the ideal solution for central Angola. Potts, St. Martin, and the COS's of Pretoria and Lusaka welcomed their arrival in the war. Especially in the field, CIA officers liked the South Africans, who tended to be bluff, aggressive men without guile. They admired South African efficiency. Quietly South African planes and trucks turned up throughout Angola with just the gasoline or ammunition needed for an impending operation. On October 20, after a flurry of cables between headquarters and Kinshasa, two South African C-l30 airplanes, similar to those used by the Israelis in their raid on Entebbe, feathered into Ndjili Airport at night to meet a CIA C-141 flight and whisk its load of arms down to Silva Porto. CIA officers and BOSS representatives met the planes at Ndjili and jointly supervised the transloading. At the same time St. Martin requested and received headquarters' permission to meet BOSS representatives on a regular basis in Kinshasa. Other CIA officers clamored for permission to visit South African bases in SouthWest Africa. On two occasions the BOSS director visited Washington and held secret meetings with Jim Potts. On another, he met with the CIA station chief in Paris. The COS, Pretoria, was ordered to brief BOSS about lAFEATURE, and nearly all CIA intelligence reports on the subject were relayed to Pretoria so his briefings would be accurate and up to date.

The CIA has traditionally sympathized with South Africa and enjoyed its close liaison with BOSS. The two organizations share a violent antipathy toward communism and in the early sixties the South Africans had facilitated the agency's development of a mercenary army to suppress the Congo rebellion. BOSS, however, tolerates little clandestine nonsense inside the country and the CIA had always restricted its Pretoria station's activity to maintaining the liaison with BOSS. That is, until 1974, when it yielded to intense pressures in Washington and expanded the Pretoria station's responsibilities to include covert operations to gather intelligence about the South African nuclear project. In the summer of 1975 BOSS rolled up this effort and quietly expelled those CIA personnel directly involved. The agency did not complain, as the effort was acknowledged to have been clumsy and obvious. The agency continued its cordial relationship with BOSS.

Thus, without any memos being written at CIA headquarters saying "Let's coordinate with the South Africans," coordination was effected at all CIA levels and the South Africans escalated their involvement in step with our own.

The South African question led me into another confrontation with Potts. South African racial policies had of course become a hated symbol to blacks, civil libertarians, and world minorities-the focal point of centuries-old resentment of racism, colonialism, and white domination. Did Potts not see that the South Africans were attempting to draw closer to the United States, in preparation for future confrontations with the blacks in southern Africa? If he did, he was not troubled by the prospect. Potts viewed South Africa pragmatically, as a friend of the CIA and a potential ally of the United States. After all, twenty major American companies have interests in South Africa and the United States maintains a valuable NASA tracking station not far from Pretoria. Eventually Potts concluded, in one of our conversations, that blacks were "irrational" on the subject of South Africa. This term caught on. It even crept into the cable traffic when the South African presence became known and the Nigerians, Tanzanians, and Ugandans reacted vigorously.

Escalation was a game the CIA and South Africa played very well together. In October the South Africans requested, through the CIA station chief in Pretoria, ammunition for their 155 mm. howitzers. It was not clear whether they intended to use this ammunition in Angola. At about the same time the CIA was seeking funds for another shipload of arms and worrying about how to get those arms into Angola efficiently. Our experience with the American Champion had us all dreading the thought of working another shipload of arms through the congested Matadi port and attempting to fly them into Angola with our ragtag little air force. The thought of putting the next shipload of arms into Walvis Bay in South-West Africa, where South African efficiency would rush them by C-l30 to the fighting fronts, was irresistible to Jim Potts.

At the same time, Savimbi and Roberto were both running short of petrol. The South Africans had delivered small amounts in their C-l30s, but they could not be expected to fuel the entire war, not with an Arab boycott on the sale of oil to South Africa. The MPLA's fuel problems had been solved when a tanker put into Luanda in September, and Potts, in frustration, began to consider having a tanker follow the second arms shipload to Walvis Bay.

When Potts proposed this to the working group, he met firm opposition: He was told by Ambassador Mulcahy that the sale or delivery of arms to South Africa was prohibited by a long-standing U.S. law. Never easily discouraged, Potts sent one of his aides to the CIA library, and in the next working group meeting triumphantly read to the working group the text of the thirteen-year-old "law."

"You see, gentlemen," he concluded with obvious satisfaction. "It isn't a law. It's a policy decision made under the Kennedy administration. Times have now changed and, given our present problems, we should have no difficulty modifying this policy." He meant that a few technical strings could be pulled on the hill, Kissinger could wave his hand over a piece of paper, and a planeload of arms could leave for South Africa the next day.

The CIA was casting about for the next war, amoral, ruthless, eager to do its thing. Its thing being covert little games where the action was secret and no one kept score.

But history increasingly keeps score, and the CIA's operations are never secret for long. Inevitably they are exposed, by our press, by whistleblowers in our government, by our healthy compulsion to know the truth. Covert operations are incompatible with our system of government and we do them badly. Nevertheless, a succession of presidents and Henry Kissingers have been lured into questionable adventures for which, they are promised by the CIA, they will never be held accountable. Generally they are not, they move on to sinecures before the operations are fully exposed. Our country is left to face the consequences.

Claiming to be our Horatio at the shadowy bridges of the international underworld, the CIA maintains three thousand staff operatives overseas. Approximately equal to the State Department in numbers of staff employees overseas, the CIA extends its influence by hiring dozens of thousands of paid agents. Operationally its case officers "publish or perish"-an officer who does not generate operations does not get promoted. The officers energetically go about seeking opportunities to defend our national security.

The CIA's function is to provide the aggressive option in foreign affairs. The 40 Committee papers for the Angolan operation, written by the CIA did not list a peaceful option, although the State Department African Affairs Bureau and the U.S. consul general in Luanda had firmly recommended noninvolvement. In 1959 the CIA did not recommend to President Eisenhower that we befriend Fidel Castro and learn to live with him in Cuba. No, it presented the violent option, noting that it had the essential ingredients for a covert action: angry Cuban exiles, a haven in Guatemala, a beach in the Bay of Pigs, intelligence (later proven inaccurate) that the people of Cuba would rise up in support of an invasion. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy were persuaded. The operation was run, and it was bungled. Today we are still haunted by it.

At the end of World War II, we were militarily dominant, economically dominant, and we enjoyed a remarkable international credibility. With a modicum of restraint and self-confidence we could have laid the foundations of lasting world peace. Instead, we panicked, exaggerating the challenge of a Soviet Union which had just lost 70,000 villages, I,7l0 towns, 4.7 million houses, and 20 million people in the war. We set its dread KGB as a model for our own alter ego in foreign affairs. In the words of the Hoover Commission report of 1954:

There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the U.S. is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services. We must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.

It was a tragic, fallacious thesis. Our survival as a free people has obviously not been dependent on the fumbling activities of the clandestine services of the CIA, but on the dynamism of our economic system and the competitive energies of our people. Nor was Hoover's philosophy "fundamentally repugnant." Rather, it was irresistible, for it created an exhilarating new game where all social and legal restraints were dissolved. Cast as super-patriots, there were no rules, no controls, no laws, no moral restraints, and no civil rights for the CIA game-players. No individual in the world would be immune to their depradations, friends could be shafted and enemies destroyed, without compunction. It was an experiment in amorality, a real-life fantasy island, to which presidents, legislators, and the American people could escape, vicariously.

Not surprisingly, the mortals of the CIA were unable to cope with such responsibility. Over the years, a profound, arrogant, moral corruption set in. Incompetence became the rule. The clandestine services, established a solid record of failure: failure to produce good intelligence; failure to run successful covert operations; and failure to keep its operatives covert. And its directors also failed to respect the sacred responsibility they were given of extra-constitutional, covert license. Eventually, like any secret police, they became abusive of the people: they drugged American citizens; opened private mail; infiltrated the media with secret propaganda and disinformation; lied to our elected representatives; and set themselves above the law and the Constitution.

But our attachment to the CIA's clandestine services nevertheless seems to be unshaken. We still argue that, no matter what it does, the CIA is essential to our national security.

Where is the ancient American skepticism, the "show-me" attitude for which our pioneer forefathers were famous? We only need the CIA if it contributes positively to our national interests. Obviously, our nation needs broad intelligence coverage, and we have been getting it. It comes through the Directorate of Information of the CIA, the central intelligence office which collates, analyses, and disseminates information from all sources. Our presidents receive the DDI reports and briefings and, with some misgivings about their quality, insist that they are essential to the wise functioning of that office. But even presidents forget to distinguish between the Directorate of Information and the clandestine services, quite possibly not realizing how little of the DDI's information actually comes from the covert human agents of its shadowy alter ego. The bulk of all raw intelligence, including vital strategic information, comes from overt sources and from the enormously expensive technical collection systems. The human agents, the spies, contribute less than l0 percent, a trivial part of the information which is reliable and of national security importance. Good agent penetrations of the "hard targets," individual spies who have confirmed access to strategic information, who are reliable, and who manage to report on a timely basis, are extremely rare. It is a shocking truth that the clandestine services have failed to recruit good agents in Moscow (Pentkovsky and Popov walked in on the British service which shared them with the CIA). It has failed completely in China-not even a walk-in. In Pyongyang, North Korea-not one Korean agent. And CIA case officers are literally afraid of the Mafia, the Chinese Tongs, and the international drug runners. They have recruited scores of thousands of Third World politicians, rebels, and European businessmen, whose voluminous reporting scarcely justifies the clandestine services' existence.

In March 1976 President Ford reorganized the National Security Council, renaming the 40 Committee, calling it the Operations Advisory Group. At that time he expanded the CIA charter, authorizing it to intervene even in countries which are friendly to the United States, and in those which are not threatened by internal subversion.

In January T977, at the crest of two years of exposure of its shortcomings, misdeeds, and depraved behavior, President Carter announced a reorganization of the intelligence community, which was based on the hypothesis that the clandestine services are essential to our national security. He elevated the position of the director of central intelligence and increased its powers. The offices that have traditionally been responsible for supervising the CIA were renamed. The Congress was reassured that it will receive briefings on CIA activities. Director Turner initiated a housecleaning, dismissing four hundred people, so the Directorate of Operations will be "lean and efficient."

The scope of CIA operations is not being reduced, and its overall effectiveness, including the cover of its operatives overseas is only being upgraded to a slight degree. The clandestine services still have their charter to do covert action. Only thirteen overseas positions are being cut; forty stations and bases will still function in Africa alone, from Nairobi to Ouagadougou, with case officers energetically seeking opportunities to protect our national security.

Not Horatio. The clandestine service is an unfortunate relic of the Cold War, entrenched in our government, protected by our self-indulgent, nostalgic commitment to its existence. The CIA presence in American foreign affairs will be judged by history as a surrender to the darker side of human nature.

Already we are paying dearly for indulging ourselves. As we have succeeded in making ourselves more like our enemies, more like the KGB, the world has taken note. Throughout Africa, Latin America, and Asia, at least, every legitimate American businessman, teacher, and official is suspiciously viewed as a probable CIA operative, capable of dangerous betrayals. The world knows that, in fact, numbers of actual CIA case officers are posing as just such people, while they recruit agents, bribe officials, and support covert adventures. The positive contribution of such activity to our national security is dubious. But mounting numbers of victims, the millions of people whose lives have been trampled or splattered by CIA operations are increasingly cynical of America. Because of the CIA the world is a more dangerous place. Americans have reduced credibility. Worst of all, by retaining the CIA we are accepting ourselves as a harsh and ruthless people. It's the wrong game for a great nation. And the players we've got are losers.

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