The Company and the Country, Part II

Definition of the alternatives is the supreme instrument of power

Phil Agee:

And then I started fooling around with this typewriter and I thought ... 'Damn. I fell for it!' ...

I knew there was a directional transmitter in there and I had to find it ...

It was a home-made transmitter ... all these transistors and batteries and antennas and things ... all in notches carved out of a very thin piece of plywood ...

This was a murder plot. It was a plot ot make me disappear ... and the Spanish services were gonna do the job ...

This was brought on by Henry Kissinger - who, Secretary of State then - made this long trip over there, I mean this secret trip over there, and forced the British to take action against me, and started a whole series of deportations ...

Frank Morrow

Philip Agee quit the CIA after 12 years. The CIA desperately tried to prevent his writing the book. We'll hear his story in the concluding hour of our two part series of our interview with him, right now. On Alternative Views.

[ 02:04 ]

The Company and the Country, Part II

A conversation with Phil Agee (Part II)

[ 02:16 ]

Frank Morrow

Phil was in the CIA for twelve years and then quit after he saw what the CIA was actually doing - all the terrible things they were actually doing - in the areas where he was working particularly, in Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay.

He resigned in 1969 to write his first big book, Inside the Company, or CIA Diary. Since then he's written five books, the last one being On the Run, which tells about his experiences after he got out of the CIA, when he was in Europe and trying to write his book and the CIA was hounding him from country to country, doing everything it could to keep him from writing this book.

Wouldja mind - I'm sure you've told this story hundreds of thousands of times before - wouldja tell us your famous 'typewriter' [1] story'?.

Phil Agee:

Sure, I'm glad to. I hope we have enough tape for it, because it's a long story ... but I'll try to make it short, just the bare bones ...

Frank Morrow

Well, that's OK. We have lotsa tape.

Phil Agee:

OK. Well, what happened is this. I - just to set the scene, I had left the CIA at the end of 1968, turned against the work, but I hadn't any intention of writing a book, of doing anything. I wanted to start a new life, and among the things I did was to re-enroll in university. I stayed living in Mexico City, where I had worked on the Olympics, and I went into a doctoral program in Latin American Studies at the National Autonomous University [2] there, in Mexico CIty, the huge one.

And as I ploughed through these studies, month after month, doing the reading, doing the writing, the papers and so forth, I ...

And you know I was studying the horrors of the conquest, and the genocide of the colonial period, the forced labor and all of that, the wiping-out of an entire culture, and then the United States domination in the post-colonial period ...

I was thinking and thinking and I came to the conclusion that what I and my colleagues were doing was nothing more than a continuation of all this, that started - at that time - nearly 500 years earlier.

And that led me to think that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to expose what we were doing.

It had been an unthinkable idea until then. Nobody had ever done it. And I was pledged to secrecy, but I began to think that maybe staying silent on all this was worse than ... doing it, ya know? In fact I could see some very positive things in a book.

And so I began looking around Mexico City for resources I needed to reconstruct events - to show our hand in events - and I couldn't find them in Mexico City so I had to choose. And I choose for the book.

I came to Europe and spent a year in France.

And I made a mistake, early on, I wrote a letter to the leading Latin American, or certainly South American, political weekly, called Marche [?] at that time. And it functioned in Montevideo, and I had mentioned how we had intervened in elections, because they had elections coming up, and I was hoping to aid the Frente Amplio [3], with this letter, which they did publish. And I didn't know they'd published it.

So one night in Paris there was a knock on the door in my hotel and there is an 'old friend' from the CIA. And we go out and have a few drinks, and he says, 'Phil, I guess you know that I'm here for a reason.'

And I said, 'Yeah, I think you are, what is it?'

And he takes out this thing and puts it on the table and it's a xerox copy of my article. Which was published in this newspaper, weekly, in Uruguay, Marche.

And he said, 'Mr Helms wants to know about this.'

Because I had mentioned in it that I was writing a book.

Frank Morrow:

He [Helms] was the head of the CIA ..

Phil Agee:

He was director then. And he sent this ... Keith ... over to see me.

Anyway, I said, 'Don't worry I'm not going to reveal any secrets, I'm just gonna submit it for review ... and all of that ...'

And I wanted to get him off my back.

And anyway, my children were visiting, it was over Christmas and New Years of that year, '71-'72. So I took them and in the wee hours of the morning went over to the railway station and got a ticket and we went to Spain, got out of there. And eventually they flew back to the States to go back to school, from Madrid. And I went back to Paris.

But a few months later a young American befriended me. A fellow whose name was Sal Fererra. And he was a journalist ... or he said he was a journalist ... an underground journalist, who was representing a couple of groups in the States, and he was over in Paris to cover the peace talks then going on - Lê Đức Thọ [4] of Vietnam and Henry Kissinger.

We saw each other from time to time. I was living in a very cheap hotel on the West Bank just down from the Sorbonne, and on the corner there was a cafe called Le Yen [?], and he came in there and that's where he met me. I'd go down there for a beer or something.

So, I was desperate for money. I didn't know how I could continue working on my book, because I was running out of money - I had no money, in fact, to speak of. Just enough for a little food every day, and I was getting desperate. And I had rented a typewriter, from a typewriter shop at Odeon. And eventually I had to turn that typewriter back in to get the deposit back.

In the meantime I had taken a big chance, I had told Sal who I was. And what I was doing. Hoping he might do an interview that he could sell to Playboy for 10 thousand and give me 5, you know? And so he was recording all this stuff about the CIA and the book I was working on - it was my only hope to get some money, and he did give me money as a matter of fact. A little bit. A little bit here and a little bit there, just to keep me going.

One time he invited me to dinner, the next week ...

Oh, by the way, when I was with him, I had noticed surveillance in the street. And I was being followed around from aboput February of '72 on.

And the first time that happened, that night - very late at night - I checked out of the hotel and made sure nobody was there and took a taxi over to the area where a friend of mine lived. A woman whose name was Cathrine, in the Passy section of Paris. And I asked her if I could stay at her place for a few days. It turned out to be six-months or more. Because I had to stay in secret. And so I wouldn't tell anybody where I was living, I wouldn't tell Sal or anybody else.

Anyway, he invites me for dinner, I met Sal and we're going for dinner and he says ... we're walking up the hill there to Room of Todd [?] ... and he points out this English-style pub and he says, "Let's have a beer there afterwards, they've got English beer there.' I said fine.

So, we went to dinner, came back, went into the pub, and there's a bar here and there's a stool here, stool here, stool here, and so forth, and these are empty, he sits on the one on the end, I sit on the one next to him, we order our beer, and in comes this rather attractive, voluptuous, young American woman.

A woman, let's say, carrying a Time magazine, so you can tell she was American. And so she starts to talk to me, and she is a Venezuelan heiress. I mean an American, but had been raised in Venezuela, whose parents had died and left her with a lot of money.

And she had just spent the academic year over in Geneva at the University of Geneva studying French. And she was going to spend the summer in Paris. So she wanted to know what I was doing, and I said, well I was trying to write a book, and she said 'Oh, the great American Novel!' And I said not exactly.

I said it's about American foreign policy in Latin America. And she said, 'Oh, oh. Isn't that awful'.

And I thought she was probably CIA, too, and I said, 'Oh, oh, awful! I can't stand those people. It's terrible.'

And so anyway, we talked a little bit, and she said 'Look, call me, call me, and I'll invite you to dinner.'

And so she writes out her telephone number and she gives it to me. So I'm thinking, what is this going to lead to. I didn't call her.

And I left, and went through my routine, not to be followed back to the little room where I was staying.

And about a week later I see Sal, to do some more of this recording for the interview. He was notoriously slow on that, which made me very suspicious. And he brings up this woman ...

And he said, 'By the way, did you call Leslie?' - she used the name Leslie Dunagan - 'And did you talk to her and see her?'

And I said 'No Sal, I'm not interested, here, you take the telephone number and you call her.'

And he said, 'No, no, but remember .. she's got money! She's an heiress. And maybe you could talk her into supporting you, and financing your book.'

I said, 'Well Sal, maybe I should talk to her.'

So what I did was, I called her. 'Oh, hello, how are you! Yes, well yeah, let's have dinner, come on over and I'll take you to dinner.'

So she lived down in Montparnasse, at Rue Pitard. I went over to her place, it was a big, tall, modern building, went up to the studio she had rented, so we sat around talking, having a drink or something and then she takes me out to dinner.

In a very romantic place, with red and white checkered table cloths, and candles, and everything we have our steak-frites, and then we go back to her place and we're sitting there talking, having another drink, wine or something I guess, and ...

It was either that time or the next time that I decided to tell her who I was and to see if I get some money out of her. So I did.

And she said, 'Oh yes, I'll do that. I'll help you. I'll help you. But you know, I can't stand Paris. It's too boring. I'll leave you with this studio apartment for the summer, you can have the key and here's ...'

I've forgotten how many thousands of francs she gave me ...

'And I'm going off to see my boyfriend in Barcelona, and we're going to Mallorca for the summer.'

So, I have the apartment, I have the money, and all I needed was some help, because I had to get a clean draft of what I had done so far ready for Barney Rosset of Grove Press, who was coming through Paris on the way from the Frankfurt Bookfair, back to the States in October.

So there was another person who I had met in this Cafe Yen, a French-Canadian whose name was Terese.

And she was doing secretarial work. She had raised her children in the United States. She had married an American, they were divorced. She had a son and a daughter she used to talk about all the time, and we had a lot of political conversations, she was very, very hip politically.

So I asked her if she would ...

As a matter of fact, I asked someone else first, but that's another story, the woman freaked out and had a nervous breakdown when I told her who I was and what I was doing. Her eyeballs started rolling around in her head, and Oh god! ... She had to go to the American Hospital in Paris.

So then I said OK, I'll ask Terese. So I asked her, and she said, 'Sure, I'll help you, I'll help you. I'll come on over in the evenings, we'll do it in the evenings after I get off work.' She was working in a law firm at that time.

So I gave her the address and keys and everything and I would go over and wait for her, and she would get there about 7:30 or 8:00. And this was Leslie's apartment. And you can guess the end of the story, naturally, Leslie was working with the CIA the whole time, and they were recording everything Terese and I were saying in this apartment.

But anyway, we use the apartment, we get the whole thing done, and Leslie then comes back from Mallorca in September and she and Sal kind of team up together, and they're giving me money still, she's giving me money, and I finish what I am doing in Paris.

I'm going to go over to London to finish, because the British Museum Newspaper Library, this fantastic institution, has newspapers from all times and all places.

And they had all the local papers from the places where I'd worked in the CIA, from the times I was working there. And so I could go over there and read all the newspapers that I was reading, you know, when I was there.

And that's what made my book, by the way, because everything we did of importance, came out in the newspapers - save our hand, in these events. But that's jumping ahead a little bit.

What happens is this : I had this borrowed typewriter from Sal which I was using, and one night Leslie comes in, in the rain, to a place where we were going to meet. It was a cafe on the West Bank, and she comes in with this typewriter.

It's a used typewriter, and she says, 'Phil, the guy who owns that typewriter that Sal gave you is back and he needs it back immediately. But here's one that I bought for you, from a used typewriter store.'

And I said, oh - fine. And I had to go back and get that other typewriter, from Cathrine's room, and bring it back 'cause the guy had to have it. So, I didn't want to carry this one. I didn't need a typewriter. I was making recordings then for London. And these were operational episodes, maybe forty or fifty secret operations which I was trying to describe on tape to use over in London. So, I didn't need the typewriter.

I put it in Terese's apartment. She always left the door open. She wasn't there, I just stuck it in there to have it out of the way. And then I went back to get the other typewriter, brought it back, gave it to Leslie.

And then a few days later, we're at lunch, and Leslie is giving me the money that I'll need to get over to London, to last a couple of weeks before they come over, supposedly, to help me continue working on the book and doing the research.

And Sal says over lunch, 'By the way, Phil, how's he typewriter that Leslie gave you working?'

And I said, 'Sal, I haven't used it yet, I didn't need it, I'm doing recordings right now, and I left it over in Terese's place.'

Well, I got the money. But later on I'm talking to Sal, and he says. 'Phil, you know Leslie's so upset about the typewriter. She had that terrible cold, and she went out in the rain, and got that typewriter for you ... and, you know, we all know that Terese never locks her apartment, she's already had her radio and other stuff stolen from there, and if the typewriter's stolen, Leslie's going to be so upset, and she's already so hurt, she might not continue financing ...'

So I took the typewriter. And I took it over to Cathrine's place. And it was there for a few days, before I was ready to go to London, and on a Saturday afternoon, I'd finished the tapes, went out to get a beer, came back, up the steps ...

And this was a ... this building was where the servants lived, to a very elegant building in the 16th Arrondissement which is the richest area in Paris - and so it was a small, maid's room. Where Cathrine and I - where I was staying with her.

So I came up the steps, went down the dark hallway and there, in front of her door, I saw these two people, a man and a woman, standing at the door, as if they'd just knocked.

But as I approached down this dark hallway, they backed off from the doorway, to the other side of the hallway, and began to embrace. And to kiss, it seemed, looked like. And they had coats on - it was already it seems the end of October, or early November.

So I stopped at the door, and knocked, and she opened the door, and she started to a laugh at the people over there, and I said, 'No, wait a minte. I think they're monitors or something, I think the CIA has caught me. I think they've caught me.'

I went in and closed the door.

And the reason I thought that was that Catarina used to like to listen to the radio, it was a Phillips table model - recorder thing - with radio and FM and all that, and for the last days, when she was listening to it, there was this beeping sound on the radio. And I thought it was propagation from ORTF which is the radio-television center in Paris and we were so close there, but it was kind of an irritating thing, it was like 'Beep, beep, beep. Beep, beep, beep.' Like that?

And as I was standing there, and these people were embracing and I was waiting for her to open the door, I was hearing the beeping sound, and I thought, 'My god that's odd.'

We had't even spoken about it, but I was thinking 'It's so loud now, it's coming all the way out in the hallway.'

When she opened the door, I noticed the radio was off.

And so I said, 'Listen, I was hearing that beeping sound that I was hearing on the radio, but I was hearing it out in the hallway, the radio was off ...'

She said 'Yeah, the guy's got a hearing aid in his ear. And they've got those bulky things under their coats.'

And so went in there and I said, 'I'm going to try to find out what's in there, because they've found me now.'

And she said, 'Well, I'll follow them.' And so they went down the steps, and she was after them.

But they forgot that it's on the middle level, like on the third-floor level or so, because this building is built on the bank going down to the Seine, and it doesn't have a street in front of it, it has this passage, it's a walkway that goes down.

And so they went all the way to the bottom, where the garbage cans are kept, for everybody in the building. And there's a door there, but you have to have a key to get in or out of that door. And they were trying the door and trying ... they couldn't ... she told me that when she came back up.

She went over and fiddled around with some garbage cans and just watched them as they whispered things and then went back up and out and disappeared. And she came back and told me the story.

And then I started fooling around with this typewriter, and I thought, 'Damn, I fell for it!' And I turned on the radio.

And you could get this signal at several frequencies, but there was one that was really loud, or strong. So I began to turn the ...

I thought that they had DF'd ... some kind of transmitter, you know ...

Frank Morrow:

That's Direction Finding ...

Phil Agee:

That's right. And that's how they could find the box, which is where they found me, so I began to turn the typewriter around slowly, like this, and depending upon the axis of the box, that held the typewriter, the signal was louder or softer.

So I knew there was a directionl transmitter in there. And I had to find it. I thought at first it might be in the roller, or wherever, but then I started checking the inside of the roof of the box. And I pulled off the upholstery.

And there, before my eyes, was this most amazing thing. It was a transmitter, home-made transmitter, all these resisters, and transisters, and batteries, and antennas and things ...

All in notches carved out of a very thin piece of plywood. That wasn't even a half inch ... maybe quarter inch plywood or something. And it was an amazing sight to see, and I of course realized ... and then I ...

I had to get rid of a lot of papers the next day, I went out on the Seine, and there was a little beach there, where I took a whole suitcase full of papers to make a bonfire, because it was too much to tear up and all that.

So I made this bonfire out there and it's blazing and everything, and it was just down the river from the Eiffel Tower, you could see it right over there ...

And one time I looked up and there was this guy with a camera, a hand-held motion picture camera ... and he was supposedly filming the Eiffel Tower, but I think he was filming me doing this bonfire, burning these papers. I kind of freaked at that ...

But anyway the result was that I left her place, and I went over to Montmartre, on the other side of Paris, and I changed hotels for the rest of the days I was there, maybe 3 or 4 days.

Because it takes one day for those slips to catch up with the police. The registry slips that you have to fill-out in the hotels in Paris. And so I was changing hotels, staying one day ahead of the CIA and the French police.

And then I took the boat ... took the train up to Calais and across to Folkestone. And on the boat they were waiting for me. The British immigration.

And when I got up there they said, 'Oh yes, take a seat over there, Mr Agee, and we'll call you.'

And so, time went by, and I had all these tapes .. and I had all the work I had done in Paris in a year and before that in Mexico and I thought, 'What is going to happen?'

The tapes were very incriminating. And I thought they might just take 'em away from me.

And so, it was raining like hell on the crossing, it was quite rough and everything, but I went up in that rain on the top deck ... I threw the tapes .. I threw all my tapes over, because I didn't want them caught, or anybody to see them. So that was gone.

And then they called me back to the desk and said, 'Where are you staying?'

Well I had this old copy of Europe On $5 a Day that everybody used at that time - now it's Europe on a hundred dollars a day, I suppose - but it was full of the cheapest places to live. So I had chosen some bed-and-breakfasts by Argyle Square, near the station St. Pancras and King's Cross ...

And I gave 'em a wrong address, also taken, but it was a little more expensive than the cheapest place

So I lied to them and went on from the train to this place, and checked into this bed-and-breakfast...

And this was the most depressing area, oh god, it was awful, over Christmas of 1972, because it was foggy and cold and rainy and they had these yellow street lights in London in this section, and all old redbrick buildings and ugly, and it was a far cry from cafe-au-lait and croissant in Paris every morning.

Anyway, I continued on the book, I got the money from Penguin books, and that solved the problem, because I just went on and did the book.

And in the meantime, the day I left Paris to come to London, Terese was arrested. And I learned this on the telephone, because I'd made the arrangements to speak with Sal and Leslie after I got to London, because they were coming over.

I talked to Sal and he said, 'Oh, everything terrible has happened. You can't imagine. They picked up Terese and took her in to the Prefect Tuer [?] and they talked to her all day about you. Interrogating her. Wanting to know this and wanting to know that. And Leslie got so scared with this that she went down to Madrid.'

I said 'Why to Madrid, she's got to come over here, she's got the money!'

'Well, I'm going down there too. You're too hot right now. We've got to all go down to Spain.'

And so then they ... he goes down to join them, so we're on the phone now, all the time. They are calling me now, because the Bitish pay telephones could be called from outside. So they would ring it.

So we'd make a plan and I'd go and stand by the phone until it rang and [pick it up] ... and so they went down to Málaga. And they did everything they could do to get me to go to Spain.

And I of course was on to ... I mean I knew ... even though I had doubts before, now I had proof. And so I wouldn't go.

But I said, 'Send me the money, and I'll go in an indirect way, so I don't have to go through airport passport controls and things like that ... I'll take trains, I'll take busses, things like that.'

And they wouldn't do it.

I said, 'No, I'll come, I'll come.'

I was just gonna keep the money, I wasn't going to go by any means - to Spain! - at that time - it was Franco, it was fascism. I knew the CIA was thick as thieves with the fascist security services. I knew that from my own experience. So I wasn't gonna go.

But in the meantime I got relief, from Penguin Books. And that changed my whole life. I was able to go on and do the book.

Leslie disappeared. And Sal went back to Paris. And they didn't come over.

And then I wrote the book, it came out.

And after the book had come out - maybe a year or so afterwards - I was in Geneva and I happened to meet someone who said, 'Oh, Mr Agee, I'm Ecuadorean you know, and I've read your book, and it is fabulous. Everyone in Ecuador is up in arms about it. We knew all the names that were in there. And, by the way, I think I know that Leslie Dunagan. That was working against you in Paris.'

This is years afterwards, you know. This is like from '72 to '76 or '77 ... '76, probably. And I said, "Whaddaya mean?'

And he says, 'Well, I think she's working at the United Nations right now. But she uses a different name. Here she calls herself Janet Strickland.'

And I said, 'Well, how do you know she's the same person?'

'Well, my best friend is a Spanish guy who works for the UN here, too.'

And his best friend is a Spanish guy ...

'And she told her boyfriend, who is this Spanish guy, that she was working for the CIA against you, and he told my friend and my friend told me.'

And I said, 'Well, uh, I wonder if we can see her?'

And he said, 'Oh yeah. I know where her office is.'

He was working for one UN agency, she was working for the ILO, the International Labor Organization. And so we drove over to the ILO building, parked in the basement. I sat in the cafe while he went up to see if she was in her office. She was in the office, and he came back down.

So I went up the elevator, 9th floor or so, walked down the hallway, around the corner ...

And I looked different then, because when I was in Paris and she was working on this thing, I had very long hair, I had a huge Zapata-style mustache, you know I was pretty creepy looking. But by this time I had cut my hair and I was 'normal'.

So I just walked down that hallway, looked in very carefully, and walked on, and it was she ...

And so I went on back down, got with him ...

And then, I was back in Paris, and I wrote up a story, and I took it to Rene Bachman - an editor at Nouvelle Observateur, which is sort of the Time/Newsweek of France - a guy I knew.

And he said he loved the story, and they wanted to publish it.

Here the CIA person was now working under another name in the UN, no less. So he said what about a photograph?

I said, 'What do you mean photographs, I don't have any photographs of her. You can get some photographs of her maybe.'

He said, 'No, no ... of you and she together.'

I said, 'You mean a, a ... a confrontation?'

He said,'Yeah, I've got two photographers over there who are great people. They could do something marvelous. We have to have really good phoographs.'

I said, 'Rene, if you'll pay my way over there and pay the hotel, I'll do it ... or I'll try to do it.'

So, back to Geneva. I go to see Donny Jeaneau, who's the photographer - a woman. Her friend Hans, also a photographer, they are working together. And so we make our plan.

And the plan included, going down - after this thing in her office, if we could do it - then we would not go to the elevator, we thought there'd be a fuss.

So we would go down - we would find the stairway, and we knew where it was - and we would go down four or five flights real fast, and then go over to the elevator and go down, and out, and we had the car, and everything ...

So, we got it all ready, and the night before in the hotel I practiced in my bathroom mirror the most ferocious looks I could put on my face, because I wanted to scare her, really scare the you-know-what out of her.

So, the next morning we got in the car, they had all their equipment, over to the ILO, park the car in the basement, up the elevator to her floor, down the hallway and around the corner, and the door is closed, where it had been open before.

I said, 'Oh my god, she's not working today.'

I knocked on the door, 'Come in.'

And so, I open the door and walk in and start walking over to her desk, which was on the other side by the windows. Donny goes over here to this corner, Hans closes the door behind him and stands in front of the door.

And I walk over to her and I'm leaning over to her - on her desk, like this - and I say, 'Hello, Leslie', using the old name.

'You thought I'd never find you. Well I've found you and now I'm going to get you. You could have gotten me killed back then. And now, I'm gonna get you!'

And she let out this primal scream, you can't imagine. She got up, she went over to the door, and we had this fabulous photo taken by Donny ...

And she's really big. She's tall. And in those heels she was over six-feet!

... and so she's grabbing Hans by the arm to pull him away from the door and she's screaming all the time.

She opens the door and goes running down the hallway screaming at the top of her voice.

We hustle out to th e stairwell, down to the car, and out, back to the studio, got the photographs.

They came out perfect. Great. So back on the flight .. the plane to Paris ... give it all to Rene, and it's coming out on Thursday, about four days later.

Thursday I go to the newstand and, the magazine and ... where's the story, it's not in there.

And I call Rene and I say, 'Rene, what the hell is this?'

And he said, 'Oh Phil, I'm so sorry, Jean Daniel has killed the story.'

And Jean Daniel was the chief editor. He happened to be the man that Kennedy had sent to see Fidel in November of '63. And he was about improving relations. And he was sitting in Fidel's office when Fidel got the first word of Kennedy's assassination.

And Jean Daniel had told Rene, well, we're not in the business of exposing CIA operations.

And so, it was dead. And I didn't do anything more on the story until November when my deportation crisis started in Britain.

And this was brought on by Henry Kissinger who - Secretary of State then - made this long trip over there, I mean this secret trip over there, and forced the British to take action against me, and started a whole series of deportations.

But The Sun newspaper in London - I mean all the media descended on me in Cambridge - and The Sun wanted their special angle, you know they're the third biggest nude everyday, the mass tabloid, they sell 4 million - 5 million copies a day.

And so they wanted some kind of sex angle, and I thought, well, I'll give you a story.

So I gave them the Leslie/Janet story, and ... darned if they didn't find Leslie Dunagan.

They got their New York bureau on to it and they found Leslie Dunagan, a motel clerk in Georgia. And she swore that she'd never worked at the CIA, never worked against me, had never even been to Europe.

And so it was obviously a false lead, the last question was, 'Have you ever heard of a Janet Strickland?'

'Oh, sure, She was my best friend. We grew up in Crocus together.'

Frank Morrow:

Oh, so she switched names.

Phil Agee:

Janet Strickland, apparently, was here real name and she took her friend's name to switch identities.

And so then they found the family. They were in an enormous villa in Palm Beach. And Leslie/Janet was there, and it was her parents' place.

And her father turns out to be the head of all the Exxon operations in Latin America.

And the photographer and the journalist go down there and the father comes down and threatens to punch the photographer, and he got a picture ... and so The Sun then ran a three-part series on this.

'The Spy who ...' I've forgotten now what that headline was, but it was front page stuff.

And that's the story, and I don't know where she is now.

Sal disappeared.

[ 31:24 ]

Frank Morrow:

Gosh, the circle is complete.

Phil Agee:

I told you it was a long story.

Frank Morrow:

The circle is complete. The oilman's daughter was workin' for the CIA.

Phil Agee:

Incredible. Incredible. But in any case, I have right now, a law suite going in the federal distric court in Washington under the federal tort claims act for 6 million dollars, because we found in documentation that I received under the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] in a long-running lawsuit, from late '70s to early '80s, that the CIA had committed criminal actions against me during that period in which I was in contact with Sal and Leslie ... early seventies.

And the documents are highly censored, so we didn't get the exact nature of this, but it happened that the CIA tried to get a criminal indictment against me when my first book came out. This is early '75, and Colby was the director.

And they had to back down, because the Justice Department, which was getting the facts to take to the grand jury discovered all this illegal activiy in the files. And they told the CIA, 'If we indict, and prosecute, then Agee is going to have access to all this through criminal discovery procedure.'

They said, 'No, no! That can never see the light of day!'

And 5 times in the '70s, starting in '75, including when George [H.W.] Bush was director, they tried to get an indictment against me, and 5 times they backed down because this was so sensitive.

And I think it's going to come out now in my torts claim lawsuit. That this was amurder plot.

It was a plot to make me disappear, and that the Spanish services were gonna do the job. If they could get me to go to Spain.

That is Sal and Leslie - not that they 'knew' what was really going to happen - their job was to get me in Spain, and then the Spanish would take over. And it was nothing to them to, you know, 'disappear' somebody. In this period.

So, I'm hoping we will get the real - all the facts - out. And find out what they really were planning.

Frank Morrow:

That's ironic. You're doing some work now studying - for your new book, I think - studying the development, and the history of the CIA, OSS, NAZIs, neo-NAZIs - is that correct?

Phil Agee:

Yes. In a way. What I'm doing is two things :

I am teaching a course at the University of Hamburg entitled The CIA the Cold War, and Right-Wing Extremism.

And the content of those lectures and that course, and sources and so forth, they are going to be a book. So that the lectures will be chapters of a book. I don't know when I'll have that finished, I hope I have it finished next year. But I'm teaching the course in any case, as I go along, because it's in development.

And what I am trying to do is write a selected history of the Cold War, and show how there is a continuity between the fascists and NAZI movement of the '20s' and '30s, and '40s - Mussolini, Hitler, and in various other countries - with what's happening in Western Europe and the United States today. Because one of the most phenomenal things that has occurred, and hasn't got all that much publicity - except with Oklahoma City [5] it is beginning to - is the growth of the extreme-right in Europe and in the United States. That is Western Europe and the United States and Canada over the last 10 or 15 years. To me it's really alarming.

And it's due in part to the fact that United States policy after the war, in Western Europe, kept these movements alive. And they used the NAZIs, and the SS, and the war-criminals to continue the war against the Soviet Union.

That is, the United States took over the German war against the Soviet Union, and used these people to continue it, but not as open warfare, with troops and so forth, it was an underground warfare. It was the Cold War.

And the CIA ws one of the most important - if not the most important - instruments in the Cold War. In carrying on this struggle against the Soviet Union, and all of Eastern Europe, its allies. And they were carrying on an undeclared war for ten years, through paramilitary operations.

And what happened was, as the Red Army was advancing to the West, the people who had collaborated with the NAZIs during the occupation of the Baltic areas, of Eastern Europe, of Belarus, of Ukraine and parts of Russia - where they [the Germans] found fascists everywhere, and formed SS battalions ...

It was really the local people in the Baltics, it wasn't the NAZI SS or Waffen SS so much who massacred more than a million Jews, but it was the local people, who formed - because there were 500,000 non-Germans organized into Waffen SS units.

And these were the ones who hunted down all the communists they could find, all the Socialists they could find, all the trade unionists they could find, and especially all the Jews they could find.

And those huge massacres, like Babeya [?], were carried out, largely by the local people, who were fascists before Germany ever invaded.

As a matter of fact, the Ukrainians, after the Bolshevik revolution, they formed an organization of exiles in Paris, so did the Russians. This is the '20s.

And these people are cultivated by the NAZIs, and trained, and there was a Ukrainian army on the front lines, with the German troops, from the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [6] ], as they marched in in 1939 - or '41, actually, when they crossed the border.

But these people retreated back with the retreating NAZI troops, and by war's end you had something like 7 million displaced persons, or refugees, in these camps. All over. Mostly in West Germany.

And the United States then begn to recruit and to organize from these camps. And the key figure there was Hitler's chief of intelligence for the Eastern front, Reinhardt Gehlen.

Gehlen came from a Prussian family, Prussian military tradition, and he had made his life's work of studying the Soviet Union. And in his organzation, which had the German initials FHO [Fremde Heere Ost] - that means Foreign Armies East, in German - he had accumulated the most marvelous records of any country in the world, far and away, on the Soviet Union. And he had been doing this sinced the 1920s. And he had risen very fast - he was only 43 years old when the war ended - he had a lifetime ahead of him.

And so what does he do? The last days of the war he microfilms all the files. He puts the microfilm in steel drums. He they load them all on trucks, and with his top people they drive from their office - their headquartes near Berlin - all the way down to the Alps in Bavaria.

And they start trudging up, getting the trucks up - carrying these drums - up to a meadow, where they buried them. Then they walk back down the mountains and they waited, for the Clark army to come through. I think it was Clark.

And once they were in occupied territory of the Americans, they left their hotel, or wherever they were staying - I think they were in a hotel - and turned themselves in. And Gehlen - he was a general - he presented himself as a general surrendering to the Americans.

And he said I have some interesting things to tell you.

And he had his principal aides with him and everything, and his main chiefs of sections and all that. They had it all planned. They laid low, after the war, to re-organize later.

And so they took Gehlen to Camp King. The German name was Dulog Luft. And this is where the Germans brought all the downed pilots and crews for interrogation. It was just north of Frankfurt, a big military compound. A base.

Well, we took over that - the United States Army took over that base - and named it Camp King. And there they de-briefed Gehlen on what he had been doing, what he had - and he made a proposition.

He said, "I want to continue my war against the Soviets.'

Well, the Soviets were ater him, becuse he was a war-criminal. He was responsible for interrogating - or for the interrogations of the millions of the Soviet prisoners of war in the different camps in Germany. And they died by the millions.

But he was in charge of getting the information out of them that they were capable of giving, and torture and, you know, all that was going on.

And so the Soviets were looking for him to try him as a war criminal. They asked the Americans, 'Have you arrested Gehlen? Do you know anything about him?'

You can guess the answer. 'No, we don't know a thing!'

So, in order to protect him, they flew him to Washington.

He turned himself in in early May of 1945 and by June or July he was in Washingon. At one of the militay installations in Washington. Stayed there a year. And the counter-intelligence corps - this was before the CIA was established - set him up in business, back in Germany. And it became know as 'the ORG'. The Gehlen operation, ORG meaning organization, the Gehlen organization.

And then he started recruiting all these people - including SS, including war criminals, and so forth. And they took over an SS compound in Pullach [7], a little town just south of Munich. And that's where they started up. And then they also opened other offices in different places under commercial cover and so forth and the CIA took the whole thing over in '47.

But Gehlen was very ... he was the key figure in recruiting these people from Eastern Europe to go to the training camps to be trained in military skills. As saboteurs and so forth, and then they were sent back into their home countries to foment rebellion, to retard economic development or recovery after the war, you know, so there would be this big contrast between Eastern and Western Europe. These things went on for 10 years, and Gehlen was one of the principal figures.

They of course they were never able to really take control of any of these countries, but the outbreak of violence in Berlin in the early years - early fifites, of Poznań [8], in Poland - '53, I think, '56 in Hungary [9], and a lot of damage in East Germany, for example.

They were often caught, though. And it happened that one of the big operations in the late '40s and early '50s was to overthrow the government of Albania, and restore King Zog [10] in power. He was sitting in Egypt, waiting to go back to Tirana.

And this operation was a strange failure, because they had all these teams organized, and they brought them in, in maritime operations on the sea, they brought them overland from Greece, they dropped them in from black overflights - what were known as black overflights ... and one after another, after another got rolled up. Sometimes the forces were there waiting for them. Ad they would double the WT operations ...

Frank Morrow:

The WT operations?

Phil Agee:

... the wireless, the radio operators. And they would then give them disinformation to send back - and of course they were sending under duress, and there were suspicions and so forth ...

And so finally when Philby defected, that's Kim Philby, the Soviet penetration of the British intelligence service, they knew what had gone wrong. Because Philby was the British officer - on the British side - for this Albanian operation. And so he was telling the Soviets eveything in advance, and they'd tell the Albanians, and ...

There are several different examples of this. There's one in Poland also, known as WIN - W-I-N - which were the polish initials for the organization. And this was supposedly the remnants of the Home Army, the so-called Home Army that had been under control of the London Poles during the war. Which the British and Americans wanted to put in power there, and the Soviets refused, and that was one of the major factors that opened up the Cold War.

But for years they were dropping in gold bars, gold coins, weapons of all sorts, ammunition and stuff - till finally one day on Polish National Radio they came up on the air and exposed the whole thing.

The way it all started was that they had sent this general to London, to say what his forces were back in Poland. And they bought. And then they organized all this stuff through this general - who was really working for the Poles from the start.

So there are lots of these cases, and these paramilitary operations were finally ended. They were responsible for fomenting the uprisings in East Germany in the early 1950s, in the Poznań operation in Poland, and in the Hungarian uprising in 1956.

But the radio broadcasts to these people had been ambiguous.

By that time, you know, from 1950 on they had one radio operation going to all the different languages of the Soviet Union - that was Radio ... first Radio Liberation, then they changed it because they weren't going to liberate anybody. So they changed it to Radio Liberty - and then there was Radio Free Europe, which broadcast in the languages of the other Eastern European countries.

Both were based in Munich. And both were hothouses for war criminals from those countries. Because not only did these NAZI collaborators from these various Eastern European countris come back and let themselves be formed into paramilitary gangs to go back, but also they flocked to these radio stations, because they had the languages and the political background and so forth, so you had all these fascist war criminals in the CIA-funded radio stations.

They were not known as CIA at the time, they were supposedly funded by private donations from the United States and so forth, but ...

Anyway those paramiliary operations ended after the Hungarian revolt of 1956. There was a special investigation under Eisenhower and they called them off. But the propaganda and the political operations continued.

And so in this book I'm writing, and in the course I'm teaching, I'm trying to show how these efforts to continue the war against the Soviet Union, using the NAZIs and fascists and so forth, and war criminals, how these provided a continuity for the survival of these movements which is today so manifest - in Eastern Europe and Western Europe and in the United States. Although it's a different situation over here because there's a very large religious content to the extreme-right movement here.

And in-between to show how fascist or fascist-style governments were installed in so many places around the third-world.

And of course it starts in the Philippines, and goes to Vietnam, continues throught the whole American war in Vietnam, and all over Latin America, and even in Africa, in Korea - for example - with the partition of Korea in 1945.

I'm trying to show how there was no real democratic principle behind this policy.

It was pragmatic, and without principle, really. It was simply to make sure that these governments were on our side against the Soviets.

And that they allowed our companies to come in an operate and so forth and so on.

But there are so many fascinating areas - Greece, for example, is one of the more fascinating places.

Because there was a very big resistance in Greece to the NAZI occupation, from about 1941 on. And the main resistance forces were - it was a coalition, and the principal or the strongest in the coalition were the communists, in Greece.

And the NAZIs formed what they called securiy battalions, made of Greeks. And these were military units. And they were - their job was to eliminate the resistance. And so it was Greek on Greek fighting. All through those years.

And then at the end of the war the British invaded Greece.

Because the liberation forces, the Greek resistance fordces, they took over the whole country. They set up an entire administraion in all of Greece. And the British invaded it, to put them down.

Just like the French invaded in Vietnam to put down the liberation forces there.

And then they set up a provisional government - they brought the king back and so forth, and then the Greek civil war started, because of all the repression against the liberation forces.

This civil war goes on from '47 to '49 and after it's over the CIA establishes a national Greek intelligence service. Known by the initials KYP [Κεντρική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών, ΚΥΠ [11]], that's the Greek letters for CIA, they have the same meaning.

And this was formed from the officers of the old security battalions - the fascist hunters of the liberation forces. And these are the same men who, in 1967, overthrew the democratic government, and established a 7 year reign of military dictatorship, with the institutionalization of torture, forced exile of thousands of Greeks and so forth.

Italy, another very interesting case.

Where - even as the United States and Britain were the occupying powers in Italy after the war, they allowed the Mussolini fascists to establish a new fascist party - and fascism was illegal, it was outlawed after the war - but still ...

Giorgio Almirante [12], for example, who had been Mussolini's last minister of propaganda in the so-called Salò Republic [13], which was a puppet goverment run by the Germans in the north of Italy in the last months of the war - he [Giorgio Almirante] established the Italian Social Movement, or MSI [14], in 1946 - right under the noses, and with the approval or acceptance by the United States and Britain. They could have stopped it.

But that party survived through the years, and grew, and grew, and grew until it came into government last year. And this is a party which dates from the Mussolini party, it's a direct descendent.

It's run now by Fini [15], Gianfranco Fini, and they are a neo-fascist party. They - in coalition with the Berlusconia [16], Force Italia [17], and the Northern League [18] - the three parties came to power last March - and a day or two after the elections Fini, the leader of the neo-fascists, now in power, says, 'Mussolini ws he most outstanding statesman of the century.'

So, you see that there is a continuity there and it's thanks, in large part, to US policies.

Because we were the dominant factor, even though the British were involved as Union partners, the French were involved as Union partners, and so forth.

It's just fascinating to see how these movements developed ...

And the inspiration for the neo-NAZI movement in Germany in the 1990s are these old NAZI war criminals. I could ...

Otto Reimer [19] and Christophersen [20], former SS people, war criminals, who either were never punished, or were punished with a slap on the wrist - and who never changed their views.

They are unrepentant old NAZIs who are the inspiration to the younger generation today.

And these are the people who, in conjunction with the skin-heads, are firebombing the homes of Turks, of their cultural clubs, and killing dozens of people.

So it's a really kind of complex but quite fascinating scene.

And that's why I'm so interested in doing a book on it, in fact it's well-along.

Frank Morrow:

Is your book going to include the bringing over into the United States the lot of these fascist, NAZI emigres, and setting up organizations in conjunction with the Republican Party?

Phil Agee:

Oh yes, in fact I didn't mention it, but the overthrow of the elected Bulgarian government in 1990 was carried ou on behalf of the Weyrich organization, I mentioned the Free Congress Foundation [CSFC] [21], that was led by La[s]zlo Pastor [22].

And Laszlo Pastor is a Hungarian, who was a youth leader in the most fanatical of the Hungarian NAZI organizations, it was called the Arrow-Cross [23], and he was a convicted war criminal, he had to .. he was, I think, sentenced to 2 years after the war, it was hardly a sentence ...

Because he was responsible for the rounding up ... he was involved with the rounding-up of tens of thousands of Jews to send to the extermination camps.

This was during the '40s, before the end of the war, while Hungary still had this NAZI regime, under Admiral Horthy [24]. But now, the Horthy regime has been rehabilitated in Hungary.

But Pastor is the man who was one of the major leaders of the Republican ethnic electoral organizations.

And they went into the communities where there wer people from Eastern Europe and their clubs and so forth, you know, in the midwest and here and there.

And this ethnic nationalities organization of the Republican Party was chock-a-block with fascists and NAZIs from that period in Eastern Europe. They brought them over here. But they brought them over here for different reasons.

The Apollo moon landing was engineered and organized and made possible through NAZI war criminals, like Wernher von Braun [25]. These people who came over and ran the Apollo program, in fact ran the whole United States rocket program from '45 on, had run the underground factory for the V2 rockets.

It was in an old salt mine, which had been dug out much larger. And there they created this underground factory that was invulnerable to bombing. And alongside it they established a work-camp called Dora [26], it was a concentration camp. And over a period of about 2 years ... I think the figure is about 35 or 40 thousand people who died, as slave laborers, to make the factory and then to be the workers in the factory. And these men were responsible for that.

And they were brought by the United States over to this country, and put in the same work here.

And Arthur Rudolph [27], for example, was one of the principals, along with van Braun, and they eventually deported him back to Germany, he had - they all had - become US citizens. Several died, van Braun died, but Rudolph lived on slightly longer - long enough to be deported. And he renounced his US citizenship at the US consulate general's office in Hamburg, where I live.

So you had them coming back here ... Project Paperclip [28], for example, there was a mad rush for the German technology, because it was so much further advance than the United States or Britain.

Frank Morrow:

Paperclip was the code name for bringing ...

Phil Agee:

Paperclip was the code name ... yes, they had these teams of army people, who knew just where they were going to go, and they knew who to look for, and they'd made this study all through the war.

And so they had targets here, there, and everywhere. And they were rushed to get these people before the Soviets got them.

And so it was a mad scene at the end of the war and the months afterwards, because they were grabbing these people and bringing them back as fast as they could. And they didn't care that they were war criminals, or whatever they did.

They gave them new names in certain cases - the worst cases - and they protedcted them. They violated US law right and left, bringing these people back. But that was the day. That was the scene then. You know it's no different frpm today. Who follows the law today in these things?

And so that is why it's so important for people to be involved, in groups. The group of choice. And there are many activities out there to be engaged in, such as the Solidairy with Cuba, to try to break down that blockade of 35 years. Or with Guatemala.

So there is something out there for everyone and we only have ourselves to blame if we don't take action now.

Because with the huge growth of the extreme-right in the United States - now with the militia movement, the christian patriot movement, paramilitary culture - these are the potential brown shirts of the future, in my opinion.

And the same exist in Europe, where the [extreme-right] electoral parties are doing very well, in France and in Austria and in Italy and in Belgium and in Norway.

But here in the United States the extremist parties are not, but the Christian right, which is extremist in my opinion and they want to impose their own concept of morality on all the rest of us for civil law, so you know that.

They have taken over the control of the state Republican Party apparatus in between 20 and 30 states. And they are determined - they say it straight, up-front, 'We are going to take control of the Republican Party by the year 2000.' - this is Pat Robertson's group [29], but there are many others that are even worse than that.

The country is peppered with these extremist organizations. All they are lacking, really,is a charismatic leader. And there's one out there, I'm sure.

So, we'll only have ourselves to blame if one day there's a knock on the door and they're coming for us. Because we didn't take the opportunity when it was there to make sure they never could do that.

Frank Morrow:

And that brings us to the end of this altenative Views ...

Reposter's notes

[1]Inside the Company
[7]"During the period of Nazi Germany, Pullach was of importance due to the Reichssiedlung Rudolf Heß, a kind of housing estate for the Party elite, and the location of the Führer Headquarters on the land now used by the BND."
[22]Notre on couriers for the Axis in World War III, paragraph 6., Blinded by the Right, paragraph 14,