All of the recent talk about inappropriate emails from General John Allen and the end of CIA Director David Petraeus’s career because of his affair with Paula Broadwell brought back to mind a short item I read recently in the back pages of the Washington Post, there was an obit on Eric H. Biddle, Jr. noting that he was a CIA during the early Cold War days who later became an outspoken critic of the discrimination he said he faced in later employment because of his espionage career. He died at the age of 84.
Briddle was with the CIA from 1952-60, specializing in Soviet intelligence.
In 1960, he became involved with a Greek woman while working in Greece, but CIA employees are prohibited from marrying foreign nationals, and while he did not marry the woman, he quit the agency. He returned to the U.S. and thought about joining the Peace Corps, but because of his CIA history, they said no.
In 1965, he became an inspector with the Office of Economic Opportunity, and later with the Office of Voluntary Action and was involved with developing the new umbrella agency ACTION that would, of course, for a few years include Peace Corps.
Now what he was doing became directly linked with the Peace Corps because the agency was under the ACTION umbrella. He said he began to endure a pattern of workplace discrimination due to his CIA past. H said superiors relieved him of certain responsibilities, isolated him from daily operations and encouraged him to find another job. By 1974, he was demoted in rank.
So he sued the government. And in 1979, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that his civil right had not been violated and that the procedures followed had been legal.
He decided to become a lawyer.
While overseas, we have all been accused of being agents of the CIA. This is not a new story. I am not sure what the current rule it within the agency, but as best as I can recall, a person had to be ‘out of intelligence’ for at least 7 years’ before they could serve as a PCV.
There is only one story that I know of that tell of an RPCV who became a spy, and that was Edward Lee Howard. He joined the CIA after his tour, and that I thought was no possible for an RPCV, and then betrayed his country and escaped to Moscow. It is written up in the book by David Wise entitled, The Spy Who Got Away published in 1988 by Random House. Howard was a PCV in Colombia from 1972-74. He then worked for the Peace Corps as a recruiter in Dallas before returning to graduate at American University in 1975. Howard went to work for the CIA in January 1981. He escaped to Russia in 1985. On July 12, 2002 Edward Lee Howard would die in Russia.