Ex-CIA spy who exposed agents dies in Cuba
Wed Jan 9, 2008 7:36pm EST
By Anthony Boadle
HAVANA (Reuters) – Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who exposed its
undercover operations and dozens of its spies in Latin America in a 1975
book, has died in Havana, Cuba's Communist Party newspaper Granma said
Agee worked for the CIA for 12 years in Washington, Ecuador, Uruguay and
Mexico but he resigned in 1968 in disagreement with U.S. support for
military dictatorships in Latin America and became one of the first to
reveal the CIA's activities around the world.
Agee, 72, died on Monday night, Granma said, calling him a "loyal friend
of Cuba and staunch defender of the peoples' struggle for a better world."
His widow, German ballet dancer Giselle Roberge, told friends he had
been in hospital since December 15 and did not survive surgery for
His expose "Inside the Company: CIA Diary" revealed the names of dozens
of agents working undercover in Latin America and elsewhere in the
world. It was published in 27 languages.
The CIA, which considered him a traitor for publicly naming undercover
agents, declined to comment on his death.
Florida-born Agee said working as a case officer in South America during
the Cold War opened his eyes to the CIA's support of traditional elites
and the repression of perceived leftist threats with political
repression and torture.
"It was a time in the 70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going
on in Latin America — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay,
Guatemala, El Salvador — they were military dictatorships with death
squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the U.S. government," he
told the British newspaper The Guardian in an interview published last year.
"That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with
journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in
their countries," he said.
The U.S. government said some of the agents he exposed were murdered, an
allegation he rejected.
Agee went to live in London but was deported by Britain in 1976 at the
request of then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The U.S.
government revoked his passport three years later, saying he was a
threat to national security.
Barbara Bush, the wife of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, who
was CIA director in 1976, blamed Agee in her memoirs for the murder of
the Athens station chief, Richard Welsh, in 1975.
Agee denied any connection and sued her for $4 million, forcing her to
revise the book to settle the libel case.
In his autobiography "On the Run," Agee detailed how he was hounded from
five NATO countries, including the Netherlands, France and West Germany,
after incurring the CIA's wrath.
He said the agency sought to discredit him with accusations that he was
a drunkard and a womanizer.
In 1980, he went to live in Grenada where the leftist government of
Prime Minister Maurice Bishop granted him a passport and a haven until
its fall in 1983.
Agee sought refuge in Fidel Castro's Cuba and lived between Havana and
Hamburg after gaining German citizenship through marriage in 1990.
In 2000, Agee set up an online travel agency in Cuba catering to
Americans willing to defy a U.S. travel ban and visit the Communist-run
island. The business folded due to tighter enforcement of sanctions by
U.S. President George W. Bush.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Kieran Murray)