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Jewish World Review July 31, 2001 / 11 Menachem-Av, 5761

Michael Ledeen

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Consumer Reports

Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd -- A FEW WEEKS AGO I was lucky enough to get a good connection with the late James Jesus Angleton, long-time head of CIA counterintelligence, on the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit matter. Angleton pointed out that since Condit was a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, he would be a prime target for recruitment by hostile intelligence services operating in Washington, which in turn might explain the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

Since the living have not made noticeable progress, I revved up my ancestral ouija board and tried again. After bit, the words started to arrive.

"Nothing's happening is it? Just what you'd expect."

Why do you say that? I mean, it's the biggest story in the country, you'd think they'd go all out to find something.

"Maybe they have. If they know what they're doing-that would be the FBI, mind you, the D.C. police are not likely to be counterintelligence experts--they certainly wouldn't let on. Two reasons for that. First, they wouldn't want Condit to know, because he might run (he might have been promised safe haven by his handlers). And above all, because they wouldn't want the others to know (the Bureau would want to watch them as long as possible)."

Excuse me, but if I were the FBI, and I knew, or suspected, that a member of the Intel Committee was actually a foreign agent, I'd get him the hell away from classified material, wouldn't you?

"Oh, no. I'd make sure he got some bad intelligence to pass to his handlers. Throwing him off the committee would set off all the alarms. The interesting thing is not so much the silence of the investigators as the passivity of his colleagues. If the poling data are right, and the Democratic party is suffering terribly from the scandal, you would expect Gephardt and Daschle to try to get him quarantined. But they haven't, and that interests me for another reason."


"Namely they don't want the investigators and the press to look too hard at other colleagues, who might have "intern" problems of their own. By now, Condit's cannon fodder. They'd just as soon leave it that way, and not force their enemies to look for other targets."

I see. Kinda like the Baskerville hound that didn't bark?

"Counterintelligence is not a Sherlock Holmes story. But inaction is often as significant as action, as the Chinese have long insisted."

So you'd feel better if other members of Congress were demanding Condit be fired from the Intel Committee?

"Sure I would. Anyone would. It would be at least one little step toward reinstituting a minimal respect for security in government. We haven't had any real security for a generation in America."

And what about the Republicans?

"The current crop of Republicans is very far removed from these questions, although I rather like Shelby, who was in the Agency for a while. But what can you expect from a Congress with more than 75% of its members having never served in the military? For that matter, what can you expect from journalists, virtually none of whom served?

So it's all up to the FBI?

"Probably. And the more I hear about Louis Freeh, the more it seems he thought he was running the Department of State, rather than an intelligence agency. One of his top aides was a Soviet mole, and it's clear that the FBI didn't pay much attention to such a possibility. Maybe they will be more aggressive toward Congress."

At which point everything got garbled, and I lost contact. I had meant to ask him where he thought the body was buried, but that will have to wait for the next contact.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen