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The personnel problem.

THE PERSONNEL PROBLEM

Edward Lee Howard was hired by the CIAin 1981, and in 1982 was selected by the directorate of operations for assignment to the most sensitive post of all Moscow. During his training he was told the identities of CIA personnel in Moscow and of at least one important Soviet official who was spying for the United States. But in 1983, after being confronted with disturbing results from a polygraph test, Howard admitted having used drugs and committing some petty thefts, such a sstealing money from vending machines and from a woman's purse on an airplane.

He was fired. He became a heavy drinker (hemay have been one previously), committed an assault with a deadly weapon, and told two CIA employees he was thinking of defecting. The employees reported this threat to higher-ups at the agency. Yet Howard went unwatched until a year later, when he was identified through information supplied by the Russian defector, Vitaly Yurchenko. Even so, Howard was allowed to escape to Moscow, the Soviet official who had been our spy was executed, and several CIA agents were expelled from Russia.

Edwin P. Wilson was hired by the CIA in 1955. Heworked for the agency for the next 16 years and then was hired by the Navy for one of its secret spy operations. He then became involved in the weapons business, in which he was associated with two old friends who rose to high positions in the CIA: Thomas Clines and Theodore Shackley. Shackley became the number-two man in the directorate of operations, and also was rumored to be in line to be director of the entire agency.

Yet Wilson was a terrible man. He becamewealthy, and bought a large estate in the fanciest part of the Virginia hunt country even though his government employment paid him a maximum of $32,000 a year. He sold guns and bombs to Kadaffi that were used in terrorist operations. He twice tried to arrange the murder of the U.S. attorney who was investigating him.

Yet, not only was he close to senior CIA officialsduring much of this time, even after he left the Navy job and was running his own arms business, another CIA employee, William Weisenberger, supplied him ten miniature detonators of the most advanced design. Another CIA agent, Patry E. Loomis, moonlighted as a part-time Wilson employee. Wilson also worked with Frank Terpil, the former CIA agent who sold Kadaffi the guns that killed the young policewoman in front of the Libyan embassy in London.

How did people like Howard, Wilson, andTerpil get hired? How were Howard and Wilson selected for important assignments? Why was Howard so quickly given access to life-and-death information about our Russian connections? What kind of men were Shackley and Clines and Weisenberger and Loomis--all CIA employees, remember--if they were friends and associates with a man like Wilson? What are we to think of the fact that Clines, in a major way, and Shackley, to a lesser extent, turned up as participants in the abortive 1985-86 arms for hostages deal with IRan? What does all this say about the CIA and the kind of people who work for it?
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Title Annotation:Central Intelligence Agency employee corruption
Author:Peters, Charles
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Mar 1, 1987
Words:530
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