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They know!

Tim Gratz

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I commend to Forum members the book Cloak and Gown by Robin W. Winks. It discusses the involvement of Yale alumni in OSS and CIA. I haven’t reread it recently but it does have an interesting chapter on Angleton.

For a little break in the serious matter of the Forum, in the Angleton chapter there is a description of a Peter Ustinov scene from the movie Romanoff and Juliet. It may be instructive on the machinations and manipulations of the intelligence field.

Ustivov plays the prime minister of a tiny unaligned European nation caught between the Russians and the Americans. He meets the American ambassador and learns the Amrericans know of a secret plan that will give the Russians dominance over the country.

After a bit of reflection, Ustinov visits the Soviet Ambassador. Aftter the usual niceties, the Ustinov character whispers to him: “They know!” The Soviet Ambassador replies, calmly, “We know they know.”

Then Ustinov returns to the American Ambassador and, conspiratorially, advises him: “They know you know!” The American Ambassador smiles confidently. “We know they know we know.”

So back Ustinov goes to the Soviet Ambassador: “They know you know they know!” The Soviet Ambassador smiles triumphantly, and replies: “We know they know we know they know.”

Once again Ustivov sees the American Ambassador, curiously, and advises him:

“They know you know they know you know.” This time, as he repeats it, the

American ambassador counts it on his fingers. Suddenly a look of horror crosses his face. “What!” he exclaims in terror.

* * * * *

The book is a good read, and its analysis of the Nosenko matter is fascinating.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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