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Edward J. Epstein: Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:23 AM

A good friend has sent me a copy of a CIA monograph published in October, 1993. It was obtained under the JFK Act in November, 2003. The document is written by Cleveland C. Cram, who worked for the CIA between 1949 and 1975, eventually serving as Chief of Station in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Cram was a member of the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Established in February 1975 as an in-house think tank, its publications were used for in-service training.

The document is entitled “Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature”. Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. It is in fact very revealing as it looks at the sources that the authors used and the conclusions they came to in their books.

Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about the following authors: David C. Martin (Wilderness of Mirrors), Gordon Brook-Shepherd (The Storm Birds), Andrew Boyle (The Climate of Treason), David Wise (Molehunt) and Thomas Mangold (Cold Warrior). Cram points out that these authors managed to persuade former CIA officers to tell the truth about their activities. In some cases, they were even given classified documents.

Cram is particularly complimentary about the Wilderness of Mirrors, a book about the exploits of William Harvey and James Angleton. He points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item (I have just managed to order a copy from Abebooks – they still have other copies if you are interested).

http://www.abebooks....IRRORS&sortby=2

Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:38 AM

Namebase entry for Edward J. Epstein:

http://www.namebase....ay-Epstein.html


Atlantic Monthly 1993-03 (89-94)
Covert Action Information Bulletin 1988-#29 (42, 46-7)
DiEugenio,J. Destiny Betrayed. 1992 (115-6, 134, 179)
DiEugenio,J. Pease,L. The Assassinations. 2003 (19, 21-2, 189, 308-9, 311)
Donner,F. The Age of Surveillance. 1981 (276)
Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (171-2)
Dye,T. Who's Running America? 1983 (122)
Finder,J. Red Carpet. 1983 (305-6)
Fonzi,G. The Last Investigation. 1993 (193)
Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (130, 189, 342)
Heidenry,J. Theirs Was the Kingdom. 1993 (488-91)
Herman,E. Brodhead,F. Rise and Fall of Bulgarian Connection. 1986 (235-6)
Hinckle,W. If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade. 1990 (211-2)
Inquiry Magazine 1978-07-10 (8)
Intelligence (Paris) 1996-11-04 (22)
Jeffreys-Jones,R. The CIA and American Democracy. 1989 (173, 243)
Kruger,H. The Great Heroin Coup. 1980 (19-20, 22)
LaFontaine,R.& M. Oswald Talked. 1996 (56-9, 128-9)
Lane,M. Plausible Denial. 1991 (72, 154)
Lobster Magazine (Britain) 1992-#23 (12)
Lobster Magazine (Britain) 1993-#26 (11)
Lohbeck,K. Holy War, Unholy Victory. 1993 (255-6)
Mangold,T. Cold Warrior. 1991 (233-6, 410-2, 425)
Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (132, 200, 287)
New York Times 2001-07-09 (C8)
Parapolitics/USA 1983-03-01 (B16)
Piper,M.C. Final Judgment. 1993 (105-6, 119)
Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (145, 162, 215, 274, 280, 465-6, 654)
Scheim,D. Contract on America. 1988 (48)
Schorr,D. Clearing the Air. 1978 (310)
Scott,P.D. Deep Politics. 1993 (86-7, 320)
Scott,P.D... The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond. 1976 (4-5, 454)
Seven Days Magazine 1978-04-21 (32-3)
Stewart,J. Den of Thieves. 1991 (356-7, 377)
Turner,W. Rearview Mirror. 2001 (171, 299)
Vankin,J. Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes. 1991 (111, 135)
Wall Street Journal. Whitewater: A Journal Briefing. 1994 (361-7)
Washington Post Book World 1989-04-30 (1, 10)
Washington Times 1987-10-12 (E10)
Washington Times 1996-10-13 (B8, 7)
Weinberg,S. Armand Hammer: The Untold Story. 1989 (421)
Winks,R. Cloak and Gown. 1987 (436, 551)
Wise,D. Molehunt. 1992 (152-3, 260-1)

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 01:54 PM

Cram was singularly well situated to pass such a judgement. Freshly retired after a quarter century at the Agency, Cram was drafted by Kalaris and Shackley to do a review of the Agency's counter-intelligence history, and was eventually granted access to all the super-classified files needed to do the job. What was originally supposed would be about a one year effort lasted six years, and Cram generated a twelve volume analysis of Angleton's work, each volume between 300 and 400 pages in length. If a single person inside CIA knew fact from fiction, truth from trash, it was Cram. Though the twelve volumes have yet to be made available to anyone in the general public, to my knowledge, the monograph you cite no doubt reflects the knowledge Cram obtained in the process. His view should be taken more seriously than those of just about everyone else in the Agency.


Intriguing post, but I am inclined to give Epstein the benefit of the doubt - i.e I think he was deceived along with nearly everyone else. That is not such a great disgrace on Epstein's part: Bear in mind that if he was deceived, then he was deceived by the best in the business. Epstein, who is a very bright man (taught at Harvard, etc) and from my experience a perfect gentleman, reminds me of the old adage about Clever John. "Clever John could name a horse in seven languages, but bought a cow to ride on."


As Robert points out, Cram is an important investigator that should not be ignored. It should also be remembered that when Cram wrote this he did not know it would one day enter the public domain.

Cram does not take the view that Epstein was fooled by Angleton. Instead he believes he was a willing conspirator in the plan to mislead the American public. According to Cram, Epstein virtually admitted this in an interview in May 1989 when he confessed that he never really believed Angleton’s stories.

The important point is that researchers like Gus Russo and Joe Trento (another one that Cram criticizes for believing Angleton's disinformation stories) continue to write books and articles claiming that Angleton was telling the truth about Cuban and KGB plots to kill JFK. This in turn helps to convince others like Tim Gratz to believe this nonsense.

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:09 PM

The Cram monograph was published in "Studies in Intelligence", the official organ of the CIA. I believe it is available on-line. Time permitting I will try to get a copy myself.


Moles and Molehunters was a CIA internal document that was produced in October, 1993. The Studies in Intelligence was not the official organ of the CIA. You are obviously getting confused with The Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). This was established as an in-house think tank in 1975. The CSI was responsible for inservice training and commissioned Moles and Molehunters. The document was declassified on 11th October, 2003, as part of the JFK Act. The document was written by Cleveland C. Cram, Chief of Station in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. He retired in 1992.

The purpose of Cram’s investigation was to discover the sources for 18 books published about the covert activities of the American, British and Canadian intelligence agencies between 1977 and 1992.

Cram pointed out that the first book that caused alarm was Edward Epstein’s book, Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. It became clear that Epstein had a source from within the CIA. However, he had used this information to write lies about what the CIA had been up to. Cram concluded that Epstein was part of a disinformation campaign. The question was – who was he working for?

Cram discovered that Epstein’s main informant was James Jesus Angleton. Cram established that Epstein was a willing participant of a disinformation campaign being organized by Angleton (two other former CIA agents, Bagley and Miler were also part of this campaign). They were also helped in this by a MI5 agent named Peter Wright. Angleton and Wright both believed that the KGB had reached the upper echelons of both the American and British agencies.

Another source was Clare Petty, who worked for Angleton. The CIA discovered this and he received a warning and came close to being fired. Interestingly, Petty later speculated that Angleton was a KGB agent. This was based on the harm that Angleton’s beliefs had on both the American and British intelligence agencies. Along with Peter Wright, Angleton had argued that top MI5 officials such as Guy Liddell, Victor Rothschild, Roger Hollis and Graham Mitchell, were KGB spies. Ironically, he had never suspected Kim Philby as a spy, in fact they were close friends. The theory goes that it was Philby via Angleton, who seriously damaged MI5 by planting information suggesting that it had been completely infiltrated by the KGB.

There were other authors who were willing to make use of information supplied by Angleton. This includes Widows by Joe Trento and William Corson. Cram rather harshly that this book was not “reputable by even the generally low standards of most counter-intelligence writing”.

Cram points out that some of these journalists had found CIA and FBI insiders to tell the truth about covert activities that took place in the 1960s and 1970s. This included David Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors (1980), David Wise’s Molehunt (1987), Ron Kessler’s Spy v Spy (1988), John Ranelagh’s The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (1988) and Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior (1991). These authors also interviewed Angleton. However, they also interviewed other CIA officers and discovered he was lying to them.

The document was produced for CIA officers. He even includes a list of books they should and should not read in order to discover what the CIA was up to in the 1960s and 1970s. The books that he tells these officers not to read include the books by Joe Trento and Edward Epstein. Also on this list is Thomas Powers’ The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms (1979). He points out that much of what Powers writes about the CIA is inaccurate.

Cram especially likes Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors. Martin portrays Angleton as “self-centred, ambitious, and paranoid”. Cram points out that Epstein wrote a review of the book in the New York Times that was full of “vituperative comments, loose charges, and what some might consider character assassination” (page 30). Cram believes that Epstein wrote the review on behalf of Angleton.

The major villain in this report is Edward Epstein. Cram, writing about his book, Deception: The Invisible War: “Like Legend, it is propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest” (page 60).

Cram also likes Tom Mangold’s book on Angleton (Mangold is a much respected investigative journalists in the UK). “It is an honest and accurate book. Mangold’s conclusion is inescapable: something was seriously wrong with CIA counterintelligence under Angleton. Some trait in the man’s character, at once attractive and repulsive – his intellectual arrogance perhaps – apparently led him to make serious misjudgements”. (page 66)

#5 Stephen Roy

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 06:06 PM

"Another source was Clare Petty, a woman who worked for Angleton. The CIA discovered this and she received a warning and came close to being fired. Interestingly, Petty later speculated that Angleton was a KGB agent. This was based on the harm that Angleton’s beliefs had on both the American and British intelligence agencies."

Clare Edward Petty was a man. He has appeared in several documentaries and his photo is in a couple of books.

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 06:20 PM

"Another source was Clare Petty, a woman who worked for Angleton. The CIA discovered this and she received a warning and came close to being fired. Interestingly, Petty later speculated that Angleton was a KGB agent. This was based on the harm that Angleton’s beliefs had on both the American and British intelligence agencies."

Clare Edward Petty was a man. He has appeared in several documentaries and his photo is in a couple of books.


I'm sorry, I forgot that Americans have this tendency to give boys girl's names. Probably makes them tough (according to the song, "A Boy Named Sue".

Petty sounds an interesting character. I suspect his theory is wrong but it is worth considering. Especially if he was being manipulated by KGB agents (taking advantage of his paranoid personality).

#7 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 04:57 PM

As Robert points out, Cram is an important investigator that should not be ignored. It should also be remembered that when Cram wrote this he did not know it would one day enter the public domain.

Cram does not take the view that Epstein was fooled by Angleton. Instead he believes he was a willing conspirator in the plan to mislead the American public. According to Cram, Epstein virtually admitted this in an interview in May 1989 when he confessed that he never really believed Angleton’s stories.

The important point is that researchers like Gus Russo and Joe Trento (another one that Cram criticizes for believing Angleton's disinformation stories) continue to write books and articles claiming that Angleton was telling the truth about Cuban and KGB plots to kill JFK. This in turn helps to convince others like Tim Gratz to believe this nonsense.
[/quote]



A very important point John. This is exactly how disinformation works and so well at that. One "writer" such as Epstein pubishes an ok book (Inquest) to gain trust, then comes the bait and switch. Other "authors" add to the disinfo and before you know it, we have a bunch of right wingers like Gratz saying Castro and/ or the KGB killed JFK. As much as I love the work of Robert I have to agree here with Mark that one's ideaology does seem to influence how they feel about who killed JFK. If the person is more to the right they tend to believe the Castro disinfo, as this comforms to their ideaological view of how things work. People on the right don't question our leaders (unless they are Democrats of course, which is why you see Gratz pointing to the dirty dealing of LBJ-and rightly so.)

I vacillate between believing that Tim does not REALLY believe this crap; he's clearly too well read on this subjct, and the idea that TIm is being truthful here: he does believe it. And precisely because his ideaological thinking does not permit him to accept the truth: that JFK was killed by the powers that be in the US.

Dawn

#8 Stephen Roy

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 03:44 AM

John, did you say earlier that the Cram study was on-line? I'd sure like to see it. The whole Golytsin/Nosenko molehunt thing is fascinating, but so is the way it was dribbled out over a dozen or so years.

SR




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