I had been
invited to the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence,
a foundation-financed project of the so-called Nation
strategy Information Center. It was a series of conferences
on international deception at which top officials of
the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency and Israeli
Intelligence service discussed the concept of counterintelligence.
Since I was writing a book on the subject, I found it
useful to attend. The April Conference was held at 1800
K Street. Among the guests was a short, bald-headed
man, Philippe de Vosjoli. "I am probably the only French
intelligence officer in history to defect to the United
States," he said.
Over a leisurely dinner, he explained
that he had been posted to Washington in 1960 as the liaison
officer between the French intelligence service, SDECE,
and the CIA. He was the first French liaison officer.
In this capacity, he worked closely with Angleton. Beginning
in 1962, Angleton warned him that a CIA source, Anatoli
Golitsyn, who had defected from the Russian Embassy in
Finland, had revealed that the KGB had managed to infiltrate
SDECE, his own intelligence service, at the highest levels.
At first, he had assumed Golitsyn was a "lunatic". Then,
Angleton gave him a "shopping list" of questions about
US missile programs. It was, according to Golitsyn, to
be filled by SDECE officers moonlighting for the KGB.
Again, it sounded "insane" to him that French officers
would be spies for the KGB and acquire US secrets on demand.
His view changed radically when SDECE headquarters told
him to organize a spying operation in Washington. Its
targets were precisely the ones that Golitsyn had identified.
He alerted the head of his service that a KGB spy ring
was operating from within its ranks. In November 1963,
he learned from an associate in France that he had been
ordered assassinated by his own intelligence service.
When he received a telegram the next week ordering him
back to Paris, he assumed it was his death notice.
Rather than returning to Paris,
he resigned from the French Secret Service in November
1963. Angleton helped arranged his defection. After years
of hiding his identity, he sold a book idea to Leon Uris
for Topaz, and moved to Lighthouse Point, Florida.
He told me over a leisurely dinner
that he still had extensive files on the "take" from Golitsyn
which I could see if I came to Florida. It was an offer
I quickly accepted.