Friday, November 6, 2009

Other Field Office Walk-ins

Some unlikely sources have produced usable information. In 1959 a soldier of fortune fresh from Cuba wearing yellow canvas shoes, red denim slacks, and a gaudy sport shirt contacted a domestic office. His debriefing was worth while but abbreviated by his arrest for having a bag of dynamite in his hotel room. In October 1964 a Miami man brought to CIA a box which he had bought sight-unseen at an auction of shipments abandoned in U.S. customs. The box contained more than 2,000 negatives of Cuban propaganda. And on 8 July 1960 an admitted swindler and diamond smuggler volunteered the information that five Soviet missile experts had just traveled to Cuba by way of Mexico. This report was taken with a grain of salt at the time.

One probable James Bond fan seems obsessed with finding unusual ways of eliminating the opposition. Besides the usual poisons and trick guns, he has suggested a lethally exploding cigar disguised with a band reading "It's a boy!" He has also offered to dispose of bodies for us in his home meat grinder. An attractive divorcee leads a sober life in this country as an airline secretary but regularly flies to another country and cuts loose there among the political leaders. For all her Mata Hari complex she has brought useful information.

Ever since 1948 a Slovak economist has been trying to peddle information he claims to obtain through a private underground net. He is presentable and persuasive and has impressed countless high officials, including a senator who brought him to lunch with the upper echelons of CIA. Fortunately these official contacts quickly lead back to a burn notice identifying him as a fabricator. As late as 1963, however, he was still trying with some success to interest leading American industries in technical data from anti-Communist researchers behind the iron curtain. Having abandoned the atomic cannon he offered the government, he was tempting industry with everything from synthetic fibers to jet engine designs, high-temperature ceramics, and flexible concrete. Meanwhile he had hired a lawyer and sued a Washington shoe store for $25,000 because his shoes were too tight; in the brief he filed with the court he claimed that as a spy he needed to run fast.

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