April 27, 1996 death of former CIA director
Part of ISGP's death list.
Youtube clip of an interview with Ted Gunderson, 'Ted Gunderson interviews John DeCamp', uploaded Dec 6, 2011: "[During the Franklin child abuse affair] I went and set down with my very good friend, mentor, and advisor, a guy with the name Bill Colby. ... He was the man I directly worked for in Vietnam [in the somewhat murderous Phoenix Project]. ... I sat down with Bill and to make a long story short, he told me to get the away from all this, that it was so much bigger and more dangerous and deadly and where it led and what it involved than anything that I had ever imagined. And that if I stuck around and do something about it, I'd get myself or my family probably killed. Or worse. ... [so DeCamp wrote a book and didn't dig too deep] ... One of the primary things Bill was doing the last years of his life - in fact, I was with him literally two weeks before his alleged falling out of canoe and dying. We had a very good chat. It was just after his 75th birthday. He was in the best health ever. He had just completeled a physical and was in he best health. ... He said: "I'll tell you what, John, either the last 5 years or the next 5 years [are the best years of my life]". I said, "Wait a minute, why?" "Because I'm really doing what I enjoy now. And even more than that, what I think can really make a difference." ... What he was doing now was traveling all over the world meeting with world leaders and top business leaders around the world and giving his analysis of where we were in the world, where they were, and how the pieces were fitting together. ... And that's what he enjoyed. ... So here I'm listening to the radio and television a couple of weeks later and supposedly he has violated every single rule that he followed all his life. In other words: walking out at night, canoeing [in bad weather], which he didn't particularly enjoy; leaving his food on the table, television and computers on. Come on! The man never had a hair out of place. ... You have to understand the character of a Bill Colby. Bill Colby was raised as a Catholic, super-strict. His entire life was rigidly following rules. ... So when they tell me that he goes out under these conditions, falls out of his canoe, then drowns and can't be found for ten days, and then ten days later, or whatever it is, they find him in the exact same spot where they've searched a thousand times but he wasn't there, then I say 'Ahah, right' and I say exactly what Bill always used to say: 'If it's done right, you will never know who did it or why.' ... I believe that for whatever reason he was a thorn in somebody's side and he had to be shut up."
CIA director September 1973 - January 1976. Protege of Richard Helms, who also pushed him as a candidate for the spot of CIA director, until he began to cooperate with Congressional inquiries and the Justice Department in 1974. He also stripped James Angleton, a long-time Helms ally, of the Israeli Desk and finally forced him into retirement in December 1974. In 1975 Colby refused to support the establishing of the right-wing "Team B", which interpreted intelligence data on the USSR much more hawkishly than Colby's CIA. Team B led to the Second Committee of the Present Danger and an eventual CIA coup of men as Shackley, Carlucci and George H. W. Bush (all close to Helms and allies of Angleton), that resulted in the ultra-hawkish Reagan administration. More detailed biography in the AFIO membership list.
Colby continued his anti-militarist and pro-pacifist outlook in later years, with numerous rumors existing that he tried to get some of the CIA's deepest secrets out, much in the way he done during his term as CIA director. However, it is often forgotten that Colby used to be an absolutely ruthless cold warrior, and looking at the facts he did expose as CIA director, it makes one wonder how much the CIA was involved with he wasn't willing to inform the public about. He was not the saint so many people tried to paint him in later years.
Contents revealed by William Colby in a December 31, 1974 briefing to the Justice Department (mainly released in 2007):
Confinement of a KGB defector, Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, that "might be regarded as a violation of the kidnapping laws."
Wiretapping of two syndicated columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott.
Physical surveillance of investigative journalist and muckraker Jack Anderson and his associates, including Les Whitten of the Washington Post and future Fox News Channel anchor and managing editor Brit Hume. Jack Anderson had written two articles on CIA-backed assassination attempts on Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Physical surveillance of then-Washington Post reporter Michael Getler, who was later an ombudsman for the Washington Post and PBS.
Break-in at the home of a former CIA employee.
Break-in at the office of a former defector.
Warrantless entry into the apartment of a former CIA employee.
Opening of mail to and from the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1973.
Opening of mail to and from the People's Republic of China from 1969 to 1972.
Funding of behavior modification research on unwitting US citizens, including unscientific, non-consensual human experiments.
Assassination plots against Cuban President Fidel Castro; Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba; President Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic; and René Schneider, Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army. All of these plots were said to be unsuccessful ones.
Surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971.
Surveillance of a particular Latin American female, and of US citizens in Detroit.
Surveillance of former CIA officer and Agency critic, Victor Marchetti, author of the book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, published in 1974.
Amassing of files on 9,900-plus US citizens related to the antiwar movement.
Polygraph experiments with the sheriff of San Mateo County, California Fake.
CIA identification documents that might violate state laws.
Testing of electronic equipment on US telephone circuits.
May 10, 2013, Washington Times, 'Book review: 'Shadow Warrior'':
"When the Nixon White House tapped Colby to be DCI in 1973, he inherited a CIA that was in deep trouble. Several former contract officers were among the Watergate burglars, and Congress and the media pursued issues ranging from CIA participation in domestic spying and experimentation with mind-altering drugs to a plot to overthrow President Salvador Allende in Chile, and numerous other matters.
"There was also a nasty flap concerning Colby’s firing of counterintelligence chief James J. Angleton. Colby directed that agency officers give him details of any activities that could be considered “questionable.” To the horror of many officers, especially in the clandestine service, Colby shared the results with the White House and key members of Congress. Promises of secrecy notwithstanding, much of the material was promptly leaked and made a noisy splash in the media.
"Most surprisingly, Colby gave the Justice Department material that suggested his predecessor as DCI, Richard Helms, had misled Congress in a public hearing concerning the CIA’s role in the Allende affair. Helms’ defense was that he could not speak freely on a classified operation in a public forum. He pleaded no contest to charges of misleading Congress and was fined.
"News of Helms’ plea came during a luncheon of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Several of Helms’ friends passed around a wastebasket that was soon filled with checks and $20 bills, more than enough to pay the fine and much of his legal expenses — a strong indication of how rank-and-file officers felt about Colby’s “betrayal.” Hard feelings between Helms and Colby lasted until their deaths. I attended several events over the years where both men were present. They did not exchange even a glance, much less a smile or handshake.
"Colby thought that full disclosure of the CIA’s alleged misconduct would quell the public storm and blunt threats by some leading congressmen to abolish the CIA altogether. He was seriously wrong. Committees chaired by Sen. Frank Church and Rep. Otis Pike thrashed the agency for months to come."
In his 2002 released biography, Helms still insinuated that Colby was a Soviet asset.
Former CIA assistant deputy director of operations, Robert T. Crowley, a former director of AFIO, in private telephone conversations allegedly predicted that Colby was going to be murdered:
Wednesday, March 20, 1996, 9:32 - 10:08 AM:
RTC: I remember the time we had to fly the KMT general [Chiang Kai-shek] out of Burma [to taiwan] with an Air America transport full of gold. He was our boy out there but he had a hankering to make more money so he began to raise opium and used our weapons to kill off the locals. Thirteen million in gold and twelve trunks full of opium. Quite a problem getting it all into Switzerland and into a bank. But he performed and we kept our word. That fucking Colby was into drugs as well.
RTC: Yes, our beloved DCI. A nasty piece of work, Gregory. Was working in SEA doing the drug business when he was tapped for PHOENIX. And just kept on going when he got to Saigon. PHOENIX got to be a really nasty business and Bill [Colby] set up torture centers all over our part of the country. Regional Intelligence Centers they called them. Well, Church got his hands on some of the goings on and guess what? Colby snitched on all his co-workers. I know for a fact from some of the old ones that they're going to kill him for that. I remember he has some kind of a telephone device hidden in his glasses. Princeton man. You can always tell a Princeton man, Gregory, but you can't tell him very much. Watch the papers pretty soon.
GD: How will they nail him? Run down in a crosswalk? A stampede of elephants flatten him in his garden?
RTC: You have an overheated imagination. I don't know the how but I do know the why. Give it six months and the Dictator of Dent Place [Colby lived in Dent Place] will be another stone in the cemetery.
Monday, April 29, 1996, 9:17 AM - 10:11 AM
GD: Good morning, Robert. Interesting news on the wire.
RTC: Good morning. What news is that, Gregory?
GD: I see that Colby appears to have had a boating accident.
RTC: So I understand.
GD: I believe you mentioned this earlier.
RTC: I very possibly may have, Gregory. We live in dangerous times indeed.
GD: Apparently he went out for a midnight excursion on the Potomac and did not come back.
RTC: A terrible loss. They haven't found him yet, have they?
GD: Not yet. Depends on the temperature of the water. When gasses build up in the body, it will rise like Jesus to the surface. We used to call them floaters when I was doing pathology and believe me, they stank badly. That is unless the bottom feeders got to him first. I can foresee a closed casket and lots of air freshener, Robert.
RTC: Graphic side to a great national tragedy. When we shot Paisley in the back of the head and chucked him off his sail boat, we put weights on him so he wouldn't come up. When divers did find him, he was rotten to the core. Had to cut off his hands to try to get fingerprints.