The CIA and Peace Corps blog that I recently deleted by mistake was about SpyTalk, a column in The Washington Post, written by Jeff Stein a longtime investigative reporter specializing in U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy issues.
Stein was writing about a new spy drama on USA Network, and how the Smithsonian was used as ‘cover’ for a CIA agent.
He asked Melvin Gamble, a retired high-level CIA official, about that episode. And Gamble replied that it was ‘possible’ that the ‘cover’ with the Smithsonian. Gamble spent four decades in the operations wing of the spy agency, retiring in 2008 as chief of the Africa division. However, Gamble said, the Smithsonian would have to agreed to the arrangement. He then went onto add that like any other U.S. government or quasi-government agency (with the exception of the Peace Corps), the venerable institution is fair game for use by the spooks.
Now another (nameless) source who ended his career as a station chief in a major capital, added, “I never heard of an incident where we ever considered using [the Smithsonian] as cover, for the same reasons we stay clear of the Peace Corps, whose value to U.S. foreign policy is too great to risk by entangling it with the CIA. ”
Now, that was my column which led RPCVs to have all sorts of comments….Now what do you have to think? Has (or is!) the Peace Corps Agency being used?
I do know from my four years of experience in Ethiopia that whenever an ‘incident’ happened in some town, i.e., a school strike or the alike, the Charge or someone of that elk, from the Embassy would drive out afterwards on a ’sightseeing’ trip with the wife and kids, throw a small party at the local hotel, and inviting the PCVs in town over for a drink. And you know how PCVs like to talk, especially if someone else is buying the beer!