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David C. Martin

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David C. Martin, the son of a senior official in the Central Intelligence Agency, covered defence and intelligence matters for Newsweek. Later he was appointed as CBS News's national security correspondent, covering the Pentagon and State Department for CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.

In 1980 he published Wilderness of Mirrors, a book about the CIA careers of James Jesus Angleton and William Harvey.

Cleveland Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, was asked by George T. Kalaris, Chief of Counterintelligence, to investigate CIA covert operations between 1954 and 1974. Cram took the assignment and his study, entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

Cram continued to do research for the CIA on counterintelligence matters. In 1993 he completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature. This document was declassified in 2003. In this work Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about David Martin's The Wilderness of Mirrors.

Cleveland C. Cram, Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature (1993):

Martin, David C. Wilderness of Mirrors. New York: Harper and Row, 1980 (228 pages).

This is the best and most informed book written about CIA operations against the Soviet target during the 1950s and 1960s. It includes a penetrating critique of two of the most prominent CIA officers involved, William K. Harvey and James Angleton. Citing interviews with retired CIA officers, material acquired under the Freedom of Information Act, and open sources, including evidence derived from the House Committee Hearings on Assassination, Martin crowds an exciting and generally accurate story into 228 pages.

During his research for the book, Martin became convinced that, while Harvey was an important figure, Angleton was the subject around whom major controversy swirled; furthermore, substantial evidence indicated that he had damaged CIA severely (especially its counterintelligence operations) and that his forced resignation by CIA Director William Colby had been necessary and long overdue. After his dismissal, Angleton continued a guerrilla action against the Agency, the new CI Staff, and Colby, launching a minor propaganda campaign which he fueled with calculated leaks, playing one journalist against another.

Martin did not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia. In his foreword he noted that Angleton was one of his principal sources and that he "...was a marvelous education in the ways of the CIA. Over time, he explained to me its organization, its personnel, its modus operandi, and its internal rivalries." It was from Angleton, Martin continues, that he first heard some of the more colorful stories about Bill Harvey. When Martin called Harvey, however, the latter always hung up.

Angleton refused to continue his cooperation after learning that Martin was in touch with Clare Edward Petty, who had become suspicious of Angleton's motives when working for him and had begun to speculate that perhaps Angleton was the mole for whom the Agency searched. It appears likely that Petty generously contributed information about his former boss, the molehunt, the Golitsyn-Nosenko controversy, and many other subjects covered in the book. Martin identifies few other ex-CIA sources, although he claims they were legion.

The book was well received by almost every reviewer, sold out quickly, and is now a collector's item. Many readers found it especially interesting because the enigmatic Angleton had become a well-known figure by 1980. Epstein's Legend had painted him as a counterintelligence genius wrongly dismissed at the height of the Cold War, an act many observers hinted was close to treasonable.

Martin took a different tack, revealing Angleton as self-centered, ambitious, and paranoid, with little regard for his Agency colleagues or for simple common sense. Epstein, the lone critic of the book, responded by writing a long review for The New York Times Book Review that was filled with vituperative comments, loose charges, and what some might consider character assassination. Angleton himself entered the fray with a three-page public statement denouncing Martin and accusing him of having stolen his phrase "Wilderness of Mirrors."'

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Is this Martin still alive?

Good old Epstein again:


He still works for CBS.


More information on David C. Martin:


Born: 28-Jul-1943

Birthplace: Washington, DC

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: White

Sexual orientation: Straight

Occupation: Journalist

Nationality: United States

Executive summary: CBS News national security correspondent

Military service: US Navy (Vietnam war)

Wife: Elinor Martin (4 children)

University: BA English, Yale University (1965)

Newsweek Washington bureau (1977-83)


CBS Evening News

Author of books:

Wilderness of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception, and the Secrets that Destroyed Two of the Cold War's Most Important Agents (1980, nonfiction)

Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War Against Terrorism (1988, nonfiction, with John Walcott)

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In 1988 David C. Martin published Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War Against Terrorism (with John Walcott). Publishers Weekly claimed that: "This is at once a survey of terrorist incidents involving U.S. citizens and a review of the Reagan administration's attempts to formulate a coherent and effective counterterrorist policy. The authors show "the American Gulliver being run ragged by Lilliputian terrorists" and charge the president with confusing the war against terrorism with the war against Communism, as well as confusing the emotionalism of the phenomenon with its true significance. They contend that the damage caused by terrorist activity, aside from the suffering of its victims and families, has been slight, and that its power lies "almost exclusively in the fear it creates." Martin and Walcott express skepticism that the Pentagon can devise an effective military counter to terrorism and suggest that terrorism does not threaten our national security although it does menace international law and order. "Diplomacy and law enforcement," they argue, "must be the cornerstones of any successful attempt to contain international terrorism."

You can find an online review of the book in the New York Times by Jefferson Morley:


Why is it that the ostentatious hard-liners of the Reagan Administration proved much more eager to cut a deal for the release of American hostages in the Middle East than the alleged tenderfoots around President Carter? David C. Martin and John Walcott, correspondents for CBS News and The Wall Street Journal, respectively, attempt to answer this question by recounting the spectacular violent incidents involving United States citizens in the Middle East in the 1980's. They provide a thorough accounting of the failure of the Iranian hostage rescue mission in 1980, the Beirut Marine barracks bombing in 1983, the hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985 and the arms-for-hostages deals of 1985-86. If the authors scant the politics of counterterrorism, it is in favor of reporting previously undisclosed operational details.

As Mr. Martin and Mr. Walcott tell it, America had a serious terrorism problem by about 1980, and only a handful of officials were willing to face the ugly fact. ''An informal counterterrorist network lost in the complacency of the federal bureaucracy'' had to struggle for the obvious but politically unpalatable solution: a policy of ''swift and effective retribution'' against terrorists. Ronald Reagan's election gave the counterterrorists the opportunity to vindicate themselves.

Progress was slow. In 1981 Brig. Gen. James Dozier was kidnapped in Italy by the ultra-left Red Brigades. Among other things, the Pentagon, according to the authors, contacted psychics who claimed to know the general's whereabouts. The counterterrorism experts in the Pentagon and the White House were almost as credulous. A gung-ho assistant at the National Security Council privately raised $500,000 from the Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot. Oliver North seriously considered having Mr. Perot's gold given to an informant who turned out to be a fraud. Eventually, the Italian police sprang General Dozier on their own.

The ambitions of Iran and Israel vastly complicated the efforts of the counterterrorists. Each country believed that it should prevail in the Middle East, and each was willing to resort to violence to achieve its goals. Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982. The authors remind us that, as Israeli troops drove toward Beirut, the Israeli Air Force ''laid siege to the city in earnest, killing hundreds of civilians.'' In the next 18 months, armed Shiite fundamentalist groups in Lebanon responded. They blew up the United States Embassy and the Marine barracks, killing 17 American civilians and 241 servicemen.

The question was: Who would suffer swift, effective retribution for their role in terrorist violence? Not Israel, even though, as the authors note, the embassy in Beruit had predicted repeatedly and accurately that an Israeli invasion would trigger an Islamic response. Not Syria or Iran. Those two countries had sufficient violent recourse to deter American retaliation and, in the court of world opinion, they had a veneer of what counterterrorism experts like to call ''plausible deniability'' about their role in the violent actions of their surrogates. The Lebanese Islamic fundamentalists were thus most at risk - but they lived in densely populated neighborhoods. Any American raid would almost certainly kill civilians too.

Cold feet, complacency and frustration prompted the Reagan Administration to abandon swift, effective retribution for terrorism, according to the authors. The decisive moment, they suggest, came in 1985 when the United States received a credible report that the entire high command of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was meeting in Lebanon with its local allies. Aides to the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed firing a nonnuclear submarine-launched cruise missile at the meeting place. The Joint Chiefs rejected the idea. ''Instead of attacking Iranian terrorists, the Reagan administration decided to try to make friends with them.''

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I have now read David C. Martin's article, The CIA's Loaded Gun. There is nothing in the article that is not in Wilderness of Mirrors. If you let me know what part of the article is important, I will post the relevant passage from the book with a link to Amazon. It was republished in 2003 and is still available from good bookshops.


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