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Fri May 3, 2013, 04:11 PM

@SpyTalker: William E. #Colby: The Gray Man

The Gray Man:
‘Shadow Warrior,’ by Randall B. Woods


By EVAN THOMAS
Published: May 3, 2013

William E. Colby, right, with another former director of central intelligence, George H. W. Bush, in 1978.

During the Vietnam War, Bill Colby of the Central Intelligence Agency ran the Phoenix program, which set out to “neutralize” the Viet Cong by capturing or killing them. In 1972, when Colby came home to a nation that had turned against the war, his face began appearing around Washington on “Wanted” posters. He was jeered on the street and peppered with death threats. Every day at 5 a.m., he was awakened at home by the same crank caller, accosting him as a murderer and a war criminal. Colby did not bother to get his home number changed. Instead, he began to use the predawn call as an alarm clock...

In “Shadow Warrior,” we get the occasional glimpse of emotion. When one of his young sons began arguing with him about the morality of the Vietnam War, Colby became “red-faced,” the son recalled, and “shouted that war was brutal — it brutalized everyone who came into contact with it — but sometimes there was no alternative. He himself, he admitted, had killed men in war, even with his bare hands.” But such moments of self-­revelation are fleeting. Mostly Colby presented himself as Galahad in a fallen world, a modest knight to be sure, but bent on finding the grail amid sin and corruption. “He was a man who could distinguish between illusion and reality,” Woods, a professor of history at the University of Arkansas, writes. “Or so he convinced himself.”

In 1954, President Eisenhower commissioned Gen. James Doolittle to write a secret report on the state of American intelligence. Faced with an “implacable enemy,” the report found, the West would have, in effect, to fight fire with fire. Fair play was out: dirty tricks were in.

The realpolitik of the cold war raised an ancient philosophical question: If you adopt the underhanded tactics of the enemy, if you stoop to his level, do you become like him? Colby does not seem to have been troubled by the problem. He did not become a drunk or turn half-mad like so many spies and spy chasers of that tortured time, most notably James Jesus Angleton, the head of counterintelligence, who was Colby’s antagonist at the C.I.A. Colby was always rather a Boy Scout (indeed, he led a Boy Scout troop when he was at home on the weekends, and worshiped at the Church of the Little Flower). ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/books/review/shadow-warrior-by-randall-b-woods.html

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Reply @SpyTalker: William E. #Colby: The Gray Man (Original post)
MinM May 2013 OP
malthaussen May 2013 #1

Response to MinM (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 09:50 AM

1. Kind of an interesting profile of a guy who was known in his OSS days

as "Wild Bill." An ironical nickname, one thinks.

-- Mal

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