Legendary Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg Salutes Ex-CIA Whistleblower Philip Agee As-
Posted by sashimi on July 28, 2021, 8:20 am
His Mentor - "A Man of Moral Courage" |
Jeremy Kuzmarov, 27 July 2021
Lede: In a new CovertAction webinar, famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel
Ellsberg slams the author of new book alleging that Agee was a traitor when,
ironically, everything in the book virtually screams out the opposite.
U.S. Colonel Ann Wright - outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, and recipient of
the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997 for helping to rescue thousands
from death during the Sierra Leone civil war - notes that the CIA 'Dirty Tricks'
exposed by Agee in Inside the Company (1975), are now being dusted off and
reused to overthrow progressive governments in countries like Venezuela and
Famed Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg praised CIA whistleblower Philip
Agee as a man of moral courage at a CovertAction Magazine (CAM) webinar on
Monday, stating that Agee "tried to put a spoke in the wheel of the
U.S. imperial project."
The webinar was convened as a response to a book on Agee by former National
Security Council staffer Jonathan Stevenson entitled A Drop of Treason.
While it accuses Agee of treason, readers of the book have been coming away
saying, "Huh? It proves exactly the opposite! It portrays Agree as a true
patriot, loyal to the very bedrock of American democratic principles."
Agee quit the CIA in 1969 out of disgust for its conduct and, in 1975, published
Inside the Company: CIA Diary, which outed CIA officers who were involved in
Agee subsequently helped found CovertAction Information Bulletin in 1978 to
carry on his work exposing the CIA.
Ellsberg specified that he had gotten to know Agee reasonably well in the 1980s
when both were part of an association of ex-national security alumni and found
Agee to be "extremely intelligent" and "in a very conventional sense a patriot."
"[Agee] wanted what was best for this country but not at the expense of other
countries and civil rights ... He had a universal outlook that was consistent
with the best values of America which put him at odds with the national security
Ellsberg added that he was impressed by the "tenacity of Agee's work and loyalty
to the U.S. Constitution and human project. Agee and I both worked for the
[national security complex] when we were young. We believed what we were told
about the American purpose in the world [in the Cold War] - that the United
States was an altruistic power that supported democracy and self-determination
in the Third World."
But this notion, Ellsberg said, was "flatly false."
"It took a while for me and Agee to see this. Initially we considered Vietnam an
aberration, but it took a while to realize that it was characteristic of
U.S. policy in the Third World.
"We were part of a covert empire in which regime change, bribery, coups and
assassinations were routinely carried out - that's who we worked for. Agee and I
both woke up around the same time to realize that the family business was really
the mafia - like the Sopranos."
Ellsberg continued: "As a society [generally] we are in denial about this empire
and give false explanations and stories to deceive people about it. We make like
we are better than others, even though we [have] routinely undertaken efforts to
suppress democracy in countries around the world; to suppress unions and peasant
organizations - anything that supported the welfare of the local people against
multi-national corporations. Agee brought this up and went further in trying to
sabotage these operations and to name the people [involved]."
As to Stevenson's book, Ellsberg said that "you can read the book and come out
an admirer of Agee." Stevenson even refuted the notion that "Phil led to the
death of Richard Welch [CIA Station Chief in Athens] or anyone else."
But Stevenson got it wrong about Agee being a traitor.
This conclusion stemmed from his background as a professor at the Naval War
College and National Security Council director for political-military affairs,
Middle East, and North Africa; he "had to distance himself from Agee to stay
"The Same Dirty Tricks"
Besides responding to Stevenson's book, the webinar was set up to commemorate
whistle-blowers on the eve of the sentencing of Daniel Hale, a former drone
operator who leaked classified documents exposing the inhumanity of the drone
The event also coincides with National Whistleblower Day - which is on Friday,
One of the keynote speakers was retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, who resigned
from her position in the State Department in protest of the impending Iraq War.
Beginning her career with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Wright served as
a diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia.
Wright said that the message that she took from her 35 years in government was
to be "very suspicious of what the government is doing" and "not to trust it."
Wright said she read Philip Agee's book and that very little has changed today
as to how the government and its covert agencies operate.
"Oh yes, the same dirty tricks are being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua [among
-- Cont'd at https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/07/27/legendary-pentagon-papers-whistleblower-daniel-ellsberg-salutes-ex-cia-whistleblower-philip-agee-as-his-mentor-a-man-of-moral-courage-who-tried-to-put-a-spoke-in-the-wheel-of-the-u-s/