ce399 | research archive: (anti)fascism

Student Bill Clinton ‘Spied’ on Americans Abroad for CIA (Sunday Telegraph 3/6/96)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 02/12/2010

Student Bill Clinton ‘spied’ on Americans abroad for CIA

A new book alleges that Bill Clinton spent his Oxford days monitoring
anti-Vietnam war activists for the CIA, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports
from Washington

WHEN Bill Clinton ran for the US presidency four years ago,
Republicans tried to prove that, as a student, he burnt the Stars and
Stripes in protest at the Vietnam War.

Now Dr Roger Morris, author of an astonishing new book called Partners
in Power, claims that, in the late 1960s, Mr Clinton worked as a
source for the Central Intelligence Agency. So, was the young Clinton
a patriot or just an opportunist? He was certainly no dangerous
radical. “No attack by his reactionary opponents would be more
undeserved than the charge that young Bill Clinton was ‘radical’,”
concludes Morris.

According to the book, the bearded, dishevelled Rhodes scholar was
recruited by the CIA while at Oxford – along with several other young
Americans with political aspirations – to keep tabs on fellow students
involved in protest activities against the Vietnam War. Morris says
that the young Clinton indulged in some low-level spying in Norway in
1969, visiting the Oslo Peace Institute and submitting a CIA
informant’s report on American peace activists who had taken refuge in
Scandinavia to avoid the draft. “An officer in the CIA station in
Stockholm confirmed that,” said Morris.

The Washington Establishment would like to dismiss this troubling book
as the work of a fevered conspiracy theorist. But Morris is no
lightweight. He worked at the White House in both the Johnson and
Nixon administrations, resigning from the National Security Council in
1970 in protest over the US invasion of Cambodia. He went on to become
an acclaimed biographer of Richard Nixon.

Rhodes scholars such as Mr Clinton were favourite targets for recruitment

As a member of America’s tight-knit association of retired
intelligence officers, he has access to highly privileged information.
“It’s an incredible network,” he explained. “They pass you along from
source to source.”

The CIA started recruiting campus informants under President Lyndon
Johnson when he demanded hard proof that there were, in his words,
“commie money and organisers behind this student s***”. The programme,
known as Operation Chaos, would offer informants a wide range of
inducements: a little cash on the side; taking care of their draft
problems; and promises of future help. “You know, if the agency’s in a
position to help at some point in their careers, there’d be an
institutional memory,” explained one CIA officer. “They knew the
advantages of helping out.”

Rhodes scholars such as Mr Clinton were favourite targets for
recruitment. This caused serious friction with Britain’s MI5 because
it violated a US-UK agreement that neither country would conduct
covert operations or recruit on each other’s home territory. “Because
of the sensitivity of the UK, these kids were treated in some ways
like high-level agents,” recalled one officer.

In the mid-1970s the CIA shredded its archives on Operation Chaos. One
of those involved in the purge of the records told Morris that he had
seen Bill Clinton listed as a former informant who went on to run for
political office. “He was there in the records, with a special
designation,” the official is quoted as saying in the book.

Mr Clinton’s alleged ties to the CIA would explain some later episodes
during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas, when his state became a
staging-point for President Ronald Reagan’s secret effort to supply
the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. An Arkansas State Trooper, L. D. Brown,
has testified in a deposition that he was inducted into the CIA on Mr
Clinton’s suggestion, and then went on two clandestine flights to
deliver weapons to Central America.

Mr Clinton was even commended for his “patriotic” work by the Reagan
White House after he had sent the Arkansas National Guard to Honduras
for manoeuvres. The deployment was a ruse by the Pentagon, according
to Morris. The Arkansas Guard left its “excess” inventory behind,
providing a cache of weapons that were slipped to the Contras.

The point is not that Bill and Hillary Clinton are Right-wingers in
disguise . It is that they have no conviction, no ideology, no guiding

Even Hillary Clinton was a Cold Warrior of sorts. Described in
Morris’s book as “a closet Contra supporter”, she quietly aided Contra
fund-raising in Little Rock. She also used her influence in US liberal
circles to undercut the legitimacy of peace activists and
pro-Sandinista church groups opposed to President Reagan’s policies in
Central America.

The point is not that Bill and Hillary Clinton are Right-wingers in
disguise – although Morris demolishes the pretence that they were
progressive reformers in Arkansas. It is that they have no conviction,
no ideology, no guiding purpose. Driven by raw ambition, they will
make any compromise necessary to advance their interests.

Partners in Power is the first of what will be a succession of books
about the Clintons whose authors are not fooled by the shadow-boxing
that often passes for substantive debate in American politics. (A
second book, by the editor of the American Spectator, will be coming
out later this month with another set of revelations.)

Morris violates all the taboos. Impatient with the manicured myth that
Bill Clinton was the apple-pie boy from Hope, Arkansas, he reveals the
little-known fact that the President spent much of his childhood in
Hot Springs, the capital of gambling, drug-smuggling and organised
crime in the central United States, where his powerful uncle and
mentor, Raymond Clinton, was a member of the Dixie mafia.

It was not Mr Clinton’s fault, of course, that he grew up in the
culture of “the Mob”. But it is central to understanding who Bill
Clinton really is. It helps explain why his brother, Roger, ended up
as a convicted drug dealer, and why Bill himself allegedly became a
regular user of cocaine. (On a police surveillance videotape quoted
from in the book, Roger can be heard saying to a supplier of cocaine:
“Got to get some for my brother. He’s got a nose like a vacuum

For Morris, ensconced in his New Mexico mountain retreat, the American
political system is now fatally corrupted. Democrats and Republicans
noisily dispute how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. But both
are indentured servants of the permanent government – “a bureaucracy
so self-corrupted it is unfit for democracy” – and the interlocking
interests of the lobby machine to be found on Washington’s K Street.

It already looks as if the US media will try to ignore Partners in
Power, which is to be published next week. “Their reaction is entirely
predictable,” said Morris. “If they were to behave any other way, my
book would not be true.”

This report appeared in the last edition of The Sunday Telegraph

June 3 1996: Bad ol’ good ol’ boys



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