THROUGH the large picture window of his immaculate private dining room atop the CIA’s $46,000,000 hideaway in Langley, Virginia, the Director of Central Intelligence can watch deer and other wild life gambol in the woodland below.
When John McCone took over as CIA director in November, 1961, he must have found a glimpse of an occasional passing fawn a pleasant relief from the cares of office. He could dine, if he chose, in utter isolation and complete quiet, twenty minutes and eight miles from downtown Washington and the lunchtime hustle and bustle that is the lot of less powerful, and less secluded, bureaucrats.
As far as the eye can see, the lovely rolling hills of Virginia’s Fairfax County surround the CIA building on all four sides. The Pentagon is bigger; but that colossus is easily visible from almost anywhere in the capital.
Appropriately, the CIA’s concrete headquarters is invisible, an architectural diadem set in bucolic splendor in the middle of nowhere and modestly veiled by a thick screen of trees. In the State Department, which does not always love its brothers in the intelligence world, the CIA is often referred to as “those people out in the woods.” And it is literally true.
Part of the reason for this is that it makes guarding the building much easier. The advantages of a rustic retreat were extolled by Allen Dulles when he went before a House Appropriations Subcommittee in June, 1956, to seek funds for the CIA headquarters. He submitted a report which said:
“Located on a 125-acre tract forming an inconspicuous part of a larger 750-acre government reservation, the Langley site was chosen as the one location, among many sites inspected in detail, most adequate for safeguarding the security of CIA’s operations … This site, with its isolation, topography and heavy forestation, permits both economical construction and an added measure of security safeguards …”
Three years later guests, in response to engraved invitations from Dulles, attended the cornerstone-laying ceremony. Colonel Stanley Grogan, the CIA’s public information man at that time, handed out a press release.
“The entire perimeter of the main part of the site is bounded by trees,” it noted, “and very little of the building will be visible from the public highways.”
One CIA official summed it up. “It’s well hidden,” he said with a note of pride.
The fact that the CIA could send out public invitations to lay the cornerstone of its hidden headquarters reflects a basic split personality that plagues the agency and occasionally makes it the butt of unkind jokes. This dichotomy pervades much of what the CIA does. On the one hand it is supersecret; on the other hand it isn’t.
When Allen Dulles became the CIA director in February, 1953, the agency was housed in a ragged complex of buildings at 2430 E Street in the Foggy Bottom section of the capital. A sign out front proclaimed: “U.S. Government Printing Office.”
Once President Eisenhower and his brother Milton set out to visit Dulles. They were unable to find the place. Dulles investigated the secrecy policy. When he discovered that even guides on sightseeing buses were pointing out the buildings as “the CIA,” he had the printing-office sign taken down and one that said “Central Intelligence Agency” put up.
When the CIA moved across the Potomac to its Langley home in 1961, the matter of secrecy still proved bothersome. Large green and white signs pointed the way to the CIA from the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which had been extended to the new headquarters at a cost of $8,500,000. Originally, the signs were erected to guide workmen to the site during construction. After the CIA moved into the building, some of its officials felt there was no need to leave them up. As one put it: “We knew where it was.”
But the signs stayed up — for a while. As he drove to and from work each day, Robert Kennedy, who lived in nearby McLean, Virginia, would pass the signs that trumpeted the way to the CIA. One day they abruptly disappeared. In their place, there was only a small green and white marker reading “Parkway,” with an arrow pointing along the highway, and “B.P.R.,” with an arrow pointing to the CIA turn-off. *1
The lack of signs causes scant inconvenience. No outsiders venture into the CIA anyhow unless they are on official business. No social visiting is allowed. A CIA employee cannot tell his wife or mother-in-law to drop in on him.
Another example of the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t atmosphere surrounding the building is the way the CIA answers the telephone. Other government-agency switchboards answer with the name of their department. Although the CIA is listed in two places in the Washington telephone book, *2 a call to the number, 351-1100, is answered by a switchboard girl who says simply, “Three five one, one one hundred.” Only a few officials can be reached by name; for most, the caller must ask for the extension he wants.
Despite the atmosphere of secrecy which surrounds the building, a KGB agent trying to find the CIA headquarters would have no difficulty. He could drive to the nearest Amoco station and ask for a map of Washington, which (like most other maps) clearly identifies the CIA site at Langley. On the other hand, the Russian spy would not have to drive; he could get to the CIA from downtown Washington by taxi for $4.50. Or he could make the trip for forty-four cents on a public-transit bus, as do hundreds of the CIA’s regular employees. (An enterprising few have commuted across the Potomac by canoe.)
A caller who asked the transit company for the schedule to Langley received this reply:
“Going to CIA? Buses leave at 7:12 A.M., 7:46 A.M. and 8:16 A.M., and arrive at CIA thirty-four minutes later. Returning in the evening at 4:38 P.M., 5:08 P.M. and 5:40. Have a nice trip.”
If the Soviet spy were a top “illegal,” as the Russians call their agents who have no embassy cover, he could check the Washington Post for a suitable location. In March, 1963, for instance, the paper carried a large advertisement for the Broadfalls Apartments in Falls Church, Virginia. Not only did the building advertise a Kelvinator refrigerator and tiled baths in every apartment, but it also headlined: “Convenient to CIA-Dulles Airport-Pentagon.” And below the inviting headline, leaving nothing to chance, there appeared a map showing exactly how to get from the apartment house to the CIA.
There is such a thing as an apartment house becoming too convenient to the CIA. Early in 1963, an enterprising realtor, who owned thirteen acres adjacent to the CIA, applied to the local zoning board for permission to build apartment houses on his land. It was with a sense of growing horror that the CIA learned that from the fourth or fifth floor, residents would be able, with a spyglass, to look right into McCone’s picture window and read his classified documents. Secretly, the CIA ordered the government’s General Services Administration to buy up the land in the area forthwith.
What happened next is best told in the words of Dr. H. Hatch Sterrett, a physician who lived on Saddle Lane near the CIA:
“The first I heard of it was when the GSA called my office and asked when they could have an appointment to arrange to take over my property. They kept saying they didn’t know who wanted it or why it was wanted and that the only reason for taking it was that there was an established need for it. They said there was just no recourse, that there wasn’t anything I could do about it.”
The distraught physician consulted with his attorney, Samuel E. Neel, who was advised that the entire subject had been “classified.” Neel persevered, and finally diagnosed it as a severe case of CIA.
The agency killed off the apartment-house project by buying up most of the land, but it finally permitted the doctor to keep his home. Under the agreement, however, the CIA can screen and reject anyone to whom he wishes to rent or sell. The reason? In the summer the CIA is invisible behind the trees. But in winter, when the leaves are gone, the CIA can be glimpsed through the branches from the Sterrett home.
The headquarters building has been a subject of some difficulty for the CIA from the outset. When Bedell Smith was head of the CIA, he requested $30,000,000 for a new building. To preserve security, the request was concealed in the budget the agency sent to Capitol Hill. When economy- minded congressmen discovered $30,000,000 with no apparent purpose, they cut it out of the budget.
Not until after Dulles had become the director did Congress, in July, 1955, finally vote the funds to begin planning and construction. Although the CIA’s main headquarters at that time was the E Street complex, which had been used by the OSS in World War II, the agency was scattered about in thirty-four buildings all over Washington. An elaborate system of couriers and safeguards was needed to shuffle papers back and forth with security.
L. K. White, a CIA deputy director, told the House Appropriations Committee hearing in 1956 that by moving the agency into one building, “we will save about 228 people who are guards, receptionists, couriers, bus drivers and so forth.” The CIA estimated it would save $600,000 a year by eliminating time lost shuttling between buildings.
Dulles had asked for a $50,800,000 building. The Budget Bureau slashed this to $50,000,000 and Congress finally authorized $46,000,000.*3 Noting that construction costs had risen, Dulles testified that for $46,000,000 “we could have a very austere building” which would house only “87 percent of the people for which we had originally planned.”
Dulles, of course, carefully omitted saying how many people that was. And he foiled anyone who might try to compute precisely how many people worked at Langley. Someone could attempt to do so by dividing the standard amount of office space needed by a Washington worker into the CIA building’s net floor space of 1,228,100 square feet.
“Our plans,” Dulles told the House Committee, “are based on an average net office space utilization per person which is considerably below the government-wide average of net office space per employee in Metropolitan Washington.” *4
In the fall of 1961, the CIA moved in.
A visitor to the new headquarters turns off at the “B.P.R.” sign at Langley and comes shortly to a ten-foot-high wire-mesh fence, which surrounds the entire CIA site. On the fence are various signs — none saying CIA. One reads: “U.S. Government Property for Official Business Only.” Another says: “Cameras Prohibited.” In case anyone failed to get the message, a third sign says: “No Trespassing.”
Beyond the gate is a guardhouse, but a visitor who appears to know where he is going is waved through without having to stop and show credentials. A sharp left, and the building, still half-hidden by the trees, comes into view. Finally, several hundred feet farther along, near the main entrance, the building emerges from the trees for the first time.
It is massive, grayish-white concrete, several stories high and cold in appearance. The windows are recessed and those on the lower floors are barred with a heavy mesh. Off to the right of the main entrance a separate domed structure housing a 500-seat auditorium gives an almost Martian atmosphere to the grounds.
But what strikes the visitor most of all is the complete silence outside the building. In the summertime, only the hum of the building’s air conditioners and the sound of crickets and birds can be heard. In the winter, not even that. The effect is eerie. The building might be a hospital or a huge private sanitarium in the woods.
On this same site, half a century ago, Joseph Leiter, the son of a millionaire Chicago businessman, built a beautiful home and called it the Glass Palace. He and his wife entertained lavishly and enjoyed the view of the Potomac. After Leiter died in 1932, the government bought up the land. The Glass Palace burned down in 1945.
There is still glass in the CIA’s concrete palace, but it is mainly on the second and seventh floors, where the outside walls are formed by continuous windows. On the grounds, there are twenty-one acres of parking space for 3,000 cars. (Dulles had asked Congress for space for 4,000.) The cafeteria seats 1,400 persons at a time.
On the roof, there are $50,000 worth of special radio antennas, a vital part of the CIA’s own world-wide communication system. Deep inside the CIA headquarters is a central control room to which alarm systems throughout the building are wired. Three security incinerators, built at a cost of $105,000, gobble up classified wastepaper.
The domed auditorium outside is used mostly for training courses for junior CIA executives, and as Colonel Grogan’s press release noted, it has, fittingly, “a small stage with a disappearing curved screen …”
Inside the vast headquarters, a visitor can get about as far as the inscription in marble on the left wall –” And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John VIII-XXXII” — before he is stopped by a guard. He is then directed to a reception room, where he signs in. A security escort takes him where he is going, waits until he is through and escorts him back to the front door. There, just inside the airy lobby, a mammoth official seal with the words “Central Intelligence Agency” is set in the marble floor, with an eagle’s head in the center. As he walked through the corridors, the visitor might have noticed that most of the doors to offices were closed and unmarked, giving the false impression of a virtually deserted building.
Like a battleship, the CIA headquarters is built in compartments. An employee in one office would not necessarily know what was happening a few feet away on the other side of the wall.
The CIA report to the House Appropriations Committee explained that this was a major consideration in the plans drawn up by Harrison & Abramovitz, the New York architects:
“The new building will consist of block-type wings, readily compartmented from one another, so that specially restricted areas can be established and special security controls maintained in each section.”
Among the building’s special facilities is a $200,000 scientific laboratory, where the CIA perfects some of its miniaturized weapons, invisible inks, special explosives and other devices.
One of the really spooky instruments at Langley is the CIA’s electronic “brain,” which stores and retrieves the mountains of information that flow into the building. The CIA’s library is split into four parts: a regular library of books and documents, special libraries known as “registers” which store biographic and industrial intelligence, a document center — and the electronic brain.
The brain is called WALNUT and it was developed just for the CIA by IBM. A desired document is flashed in front of the CIA viewer by means of a photo tape robot called Intellofax.
WALNUT and Intellofax, unlike humans, are infallible. Aside from the vast amounts of classified data that come into the CIA, the agency collects 200,000 newspapers, books and other “open” material each month. The information is stored on 40,000,000 punch cards.
When a CIA man wants a particular item, be it a Castro speech or a top-secret report on Khrushchev’s health, he feeds into WALNUT a list of key words — perhaps twenty-five — about the subject. The brain finds the right microfilmed document and photographs it with ultraviolet light. The tiny photo is then projected on the viewing machine. The whole thing takes five seconds. The CIA has also been experimenting with another brain called Minicard, developed by Eastman Kodak for the Air Force.
The CIA also has a special spy-fiction library, which it does not advertise. This library contains thousands of past and current mystery and spy stories. It should please fans of Ian Fleming, Helen MacInnes and Eric Ambler to know that the CIA makes a point of keeping up with the latest tricks of fictional spy heroes. Before Langley, the spy fiction was housed in the old Christian Heurich Brewery near the State Department.
CIA men and women lead a cloistered life. By and large they stick to themselves. Intermarriage is not unusual, the most notable recent example being the U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. After his release by the Russians, Powers continued to work for the CIA at Langley.*5 He divorced his wife Barbara, and on October 26, 1963, in a quiet ceremony at Catlett, Fauquier County, Virginia, he married Claudia Edwards Downey, a twenty-eight-year-old divorcee and a CIA psychologist. Mrs. Downey, the mother of a seven-year-old girl, was said to have resigned from the CIA to become Mrs. Powers.
In Washington, a highly social city given to much partying and mixing of many diverse circles, it is remarkable how few CIA men are casually encountered on the cocktail circuit. The reason is that CIA couples give parties mostly for each other.
In bygone years, CIA employees were barred from admitting where they worked. In social situations they usually managed to hint at it anyhow. Nowadays, overt employees are permitted to say where they work — although not to a foreign national. Those in the Clandestine Services are not, however, normally allowed to say they work for the CIA.
And cover names are used even inside the CIA.
“I don’t know the names of everyone I deal with at the agency,” one high official confided. “We often use pseudonyms in house, in case a wire is tapped or a piece of paper gets into the wrong hands. And we never use real names in communications.”
The CIA is constantly facing little problems that no other agency faces. For example, suppose an agent in the Clandestine Services breaks his arm in the line of duty. Blue Cross? Ah, but then Group Hospitalization would find out his name when he filled out the inevitable form. And for the first few years after the agency’s creation, that is exactly what happened, much to the CIA’s irritation. When agents were hospitalized, Group Hospitalization had to know who they were. So in 1956 the CIA canceled its contract with Blue Cross. It took its business to Mutual of Omaha, which benevolently agreed to waive the paperwork on ailing spies.
Although CIA employees are not technically under Civil Service, they qualify for the government’s normal retirement provisions and their pay is equivalent to those in Civil Service. Secretaries start at GS-3, which is $3,820 a year. The director’s salary is $30,000 The deputy director gets $28,500.
In 1963 McCone asked Congress to set up a better retirement system for his top people, similar to that of the State Department’s Foreign Service. A House Armed Services Subcommittee heard McCone’s plea in camera. Later, in 1964, Congress passed a law allowing high-ranking agents with twenty years of service to retire at age fifty. The CIAR, as the pension plan was called, would cost an estimated $4,000,000 by 1969, or $900,000 a year.
The Armed Services Committee, in approving the measure, said that “many CIA employees serve under conditions which are at least as difficult and frequently more onerous and dangerous” than those faced by the FBI and other agencies.
In a report to the House Committee, the CIA said the pension system would help it to weed out older men in the ranks.
“The Central Intelligence Agency,” it said, “needs to attract and retain a force of highly motivated careerists … agency requirements demand that this group of careerists be composed of younger and more vigorous officers than are generally required in government service.”
Many of the CIA’s younger people are recruited off college campuses. The agency tries to select students standing near the top of their class. CIA stays quietly in touch with college deans and hires most of its research analysts this way. On every large campus there is usually someone who serves secretly as the CIA’s talent scout.
At Yale, for example, during the early 1950s, it was Skip Walz, the crew coach. John Downey, who was imprisoned by Communist China in 1952, was recruited off the Yale campus in 1951. The college recruits are enrolled as CIA JOTs — junior officer trainees. Recently, in the manner of large business corporations, the CIA quietly published a booklet, The Central Intelligence Agency, extolling the virtues of a career in the agency. The booklet’s cover, in yellow, red, brown, violet and white, portrays a handsome young man with jaw on hand, pondering his future.
From every 1,000 persons considered, the CIA selects 200 for security investigation. Of this 20 percent, about 11 percent are screened out because,
“they drink too much, talk too much, have relatives behind the iron curtain, which may make the applicants subject to foreign pressures; for serious security reasons 4 percent of this 11 percent are screened out. These latter are individuals who have contacts that render them undesirable for service in this highly sensitive agency.” *6
What this boils down to is that 178 out of 1,000 applicants are accepted.
From the start, the CIA has employed lie detectors. The polygraph is standard equipment at the agency and all new employees take the test.
The most revealing information on this delicate subject came in a televised interview with Allen Dulles, carried by the American Broadcasting Company: 
Q: In that connection, sir, of how great a value is the lie detector to an agency like CIA in detecting potential spies, agents and/or homosexuals?
A: In my experience in the CIA we found it of great indicative value. No one is ever convicted or cleared just on a polygraph test, a lie-detector test …
Q: What kind of cases do you turn up most easily by using lie detectors?
A: Well, we turn up homosexual cases particularly, but not only that. There can be other weaknesses …
Q: Almost every CIA employee had to undergo a lie detector test as a condition of employment?
A: Well, I won’t say no, it is not a condition of employment. I know of people who have said they didn’t for various reasons want to take the lie-detector test, and they have not been dismissed or terminated for that reason.
Q: But were they hired?
A: But generally when people come on board, the general rule is that they take the test. But it is not any formalized rule, as far as I know.
Should an applicant pass all these hurdles and be accepted by the CIA, he must sign a security agreement in which he swears never to divulge classified information or intelligence (except in the performance of his official duties) unless he is specifically authorized, in writing, by the director of the CIA. Employees are thus barred from talking about their work even after they leave the agency: they certainly cannot go out and write their memoirs about their CIA experiences.
Criticism that the CIA is an “Ivy League” institution is only partially accurate. Although the top twenty executives have always been largely from Ivy League colleges, this is not true of the agency generally. Nevertheless, a good education is highly prized. About 60 percent of the senior 600 employees at the CIA have advanced degrees, many of them Ph.D.s. This is not surprising in an agency that devotes a major portion of its efforts to research and analysis.
To satisfy the interests of its scholarly employees, the CIA publishes its own digest-sized magazine, the most exclusive magazine in the world. It can’t be purchased. It is not available at outside libraries. It is called Intelligence Articles.
The magazine was begun because the CIA has so many former professors who, for the most part, cannot publish on the outside. Intelligence Articles provides an anonymous outlet for their scholarship. Like any specialized periodical, it has studies of current interest in the field, in this case, intelligence. But there is one difference: most of the articles and book reviews have no bylines.
The literary style leans toward a rather heavy prose. There is an attempt to treat on a high academic level such subjects as how to keep a double agent from being tortured and shot by the enemy. Other forms of mayhem are dealt with in a similar scholarly vein.
One issue not long ago featured an article explaining the difference between a “write-in” and a “walk-in.” (Both are volunteer spies: the terms apply to the way in which they offer their services.) The article, entitled ” A Classic Write-In Case,” was a study of Captain Stephan Kalman, a Czech Army officer who in 1936 betrayed secrets to the German High Command until he was caught and hanged.
“The agent of an adversary service,” the article begins, “or a person high in an adversary bureaucracy, if he wishes to make contact with another intelligence or security service, can choose from a number of different means. He can present himself physically as a walk-in. He can use an intermediary in order to retain some control, especially with respect to his own identity. He can send a messenger, make a phone call, or establish a radio contact. Or he can simply write a letter, anonymous or signed.”
After detailing the story of Kalman’s treachery, the CIA publication, under the headline “Moral of the Story,” asks: “What conclusions can be drawn from the Kalman case?
… One conclusion derives from positive and negative aspects of the Czech performance with respect to security. Security applies on every echelon of command. There is no place for laxness, even if it may seem overbureaucratic and ridiculous. The application of security measures has to be executed precisely in every detail. There is no place for overconfidence in friends and old acquaintances. That Kalman, with his alien loyalties, came to be trusted with sensitive materials is evidence of such overconfidence.”
A discerning CIA reader might come to suspect that, all in all, Intelligence Articles’ academic objectivity leaves something to be desired. Another excerpt worth quoting in this respect is from the magazine’s review of a book *7 that presented ideas about foreign policy not at all to the liking of the CIA reviewer. For one thing, the book suggested that the CIA is ineffective.
After noting that the book was written under the pseudonym “John Forth Amory,” the equally anonymous CIA reviewer concludes:
“If his identity is worth a search, one might look for a fervent Jeffersonian and F. D. Rooseveltian who has some bookish knowledge of the United States Government and of big business and who entertains a particular sympathy for Indonesians, having had opportunities to discuss with them their philosophy of social change — a neoacademic sort, probably juvenile or with development arrested at the simplistic stage, possibly an instructor in some local college course for fledgling foreign service officers.”
If the CIA has its cloistered advantages for the scholar at Langley, there are hazards for agents in the field. Espionage is a dangerous business and some of the CIA’s clandestine employees crack under the pressure. (Even at Langley, there are strains. One deputy director drove himself so hard, he had to be transferred to a less demanding post overseas.)
Many CIA employees, working irregular hours in odd corners of the globe, suffer from what the agency itself calls “motivational exhaustion.” A CIA report to the House Armed Services Committee in 1963 explained:
“This term is used to describe a gradual lessening of interest and enthusiasm of an officer as a result of impingements on his personal and family life. These stem from the transient nature of his assignments, the complications and restrictions of security requirements and intrusions on his family life.”
The agency has a fairly high rate of suicides, which usually get little attention outside of the Washington newspapers. In October, 1959, for example, a thirty-two-year-old CIA employee and his wife, just back from a two-year tour of duty in Germany, jumped into the Potomac River rapids in a suicide pact.
The CIA man, James A. Woodbury, drowned, but his blond wife was pulled out. Police quoted her as saying her husband had a lot on his mind. “They wanted to put him in a psycho ward,” she said, “and we figured it best to do away with ourselves.” The police said Mrs. Woodbury would not elaborate on her reference to “they.”
Despite the risks, CIA employees have no job security. Under the 1947 law they can be fired by the director “in his discretion” with no appeal. In at least one instance, this led to a series of embarrassing disclosures about the agency’s operations and personnel.
On January 30, 1961, Dulles fired a veteran CIA intelligence officer and contact specialist named John Torpats, who then went into Federal Court seeking reinstatement. Dulles filed an answer urging the case be thrown out. In the course of it, Dulles stated that “George B. Carey,” an assistant director of the CIA, had notified “Emmet Echols,” the director of personnel, that Torpats was allowed to discuss his case with “Ralph Poole” and “Fred Lott,” both assistants to Echols.
Torpats decided if Dulles could name names, so could he. In an affidavit filed June 30, 1961, in answer to the CIA director, Torpats said:
“In early 1956 a situation had developed in a European mission of CIA which my then area superiors, Frank G. Wisner, Richard Helms, John M. Maury, Jr., and N. M. Anikeeff, felt had been mishandled by the personnel of the mission. The mission reports were considered to be unsatisfactory in our component. My superiors felt that I could handle the problem more effectively and expeditiously and decided to send me to do it. The principal figures in this particular mission were Mr. Tracy Barnes, Mr. Thomas Parrott and Mr. Paul Losher. At the time of my separation, Mr. Barnes and Mr. Parrott were employed by the Agency in the Washington, D.C., office.
“Notice was given to the mission in April of 1956 that I was being sent over. I was given no special instructions before I left; I was to be on my own. The mission had sent a report on the problem which I later proved was incorrect. Had the mission report been followed, it would have done incalculable harm to the United States.
“When I finished my assignment, for which I received several commendations from headquarters, but before I could file my report, Mr. Barnes, on a complaint by Mr. Parrott, put me under house arrest; ordered an investigation, shipped me home; cabled charges against me to headquarters with a demand that I be fired.”
The ousted CIA man then detailed a long history of his case as it dragged on through the agency bureaucracy for several years. He said one charge against him was that he had disobeyed a high CIA official in the office of the DDP “and visited a station contrary to his orders.”
In addition, Torpats said, a CIA fitness report claimed he had an “inability to handle agents” and “total lack of objectivity where Estonian emigre matters are concerned.” He said he was transferred out of the Clandestine Services and eventually fired.
Dulles angrily filed an answer to Torpats on July 2, citing an old Civil War case to support his contention that employees of secret services cannot air their grievances in court. Torpats, Dulles said,
“understood that the nature of his work was secret, and that the disclosure of his duties and the names of fellow employees would not be in the best interest of his government. Moreover, he swore, as a condition of his employment that he would never reveal such information.”
If CIA employees can go into court every time they feel they are treated unfairly, said Dulles, it would be no way to run an espionage apparatus.
“Operation of the Central Intelligence Agency, with liability to publicity in this way,” he said, “would be impossible.” *8
Even CIA employees who make it to the top can look forward to little overt recognition after their long years of service. President Kennedy, speaking to CIA employees at Langley on November 28, 1961, told them:
“Your successes are unheralded — your failures are trumpeted.”
President Eisenhower voiced a similar sentiment when he spoke at the cornerstone-laying at Langley on November 3, 1959.
“Success cannot be advertised: failure cannot be explained,” he said. “In the work of intelligence, heroes are undecorated and unsung, often even among their own fraternity.”
This is not completely correct. The truth is that some CIA men are decorated. Despite the fact that he was eased out after the Bay of Pigs, for example, Richard M. Bissell received a secret intelligence medal honoring him for his years as deputy director for plans.
There was no public announcement of the award, and Bissell was not allowed to talk about his medal, to show it to anyone or to wear it. As far as the CIA was concerned, officially the medal did not exist.
The Invisible Government had awarded him an invisible medal.