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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 2, 2012
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Publication Date: 
April 27, 1986
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STAT_~ ,1MIf~ F nc4x+~rxn Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/02 :CIA-RDP90-009658000605200001-1 --T 27 Apri 1 1986 BOOK REVIEW ~NHV~ After the election, he asked a Humphrey campaign.- official to help him set up his own international shipping By Peter Maas. company -which was actually a C.I.A. "proprietary" 301 pp. New York: Random House. 517.95. called Maritime Consulting Associates. Now, at last, 1vir. wttson?s career oegan to take off, and his fortune to By Thomas'Powers grow. A proprietary is a company wholly but secretly owned by the C.I.A. According to Mr. Maas, Mr. Wil- son's company shipped everything everywhere -eves NE of Edwin P. Wilson's last acts as a free disassembled boats to central Africa, where they were man, on a plane from the Dominican Republic welded together on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and carrying him to certain arrest in New York in - June 1982, was to tear up a handwritten as used to intercept Soviet arms being ferried across the count of his assets and liabilities after 27 years working lake to rebels in the Congo. (An old C.I.A. hand once told for the C.I.A., the Navy and himself in what might me that, for him, the height of the cold war came one loosely be called the world of intelligence. An alert misty morning when C.I.A. Cubans in our boats had a United States marshal on the plane recovered the list. shoot-0ut with President Fidel Castro': Cubans in their From one point of view, you coWd say Mr. Wilson had ~~ ~ the heart of Africa.) Other Wilson cargoes in- done all right ? his net worth was roughly i14 million. On eluded arms to Angola; crowd-control gear to Chile, the other hand, when the prosecutors were done with Brazil and Venezuela; all finds of equipment for intelli- him he was in solitary confinement in a tough Federal Bence-gathering facilities in Iran; supplies for a group prison, serving sentences totaling 52 years with no bet- of dissident army officers planning a coup in Indonesia. ter than an outside chance of parole somewhere around Here again one would like to know more. AC.I.A.- the year 2000, when he would be 72. backed coup fn Indonesia failed in 1958, before Mr. WII- This was justice of a sort, perhaps, but a very ap- son ~~ ~ ~PP~B business. A :scald, successful proximate sort. Mr. Wilson's partners, hirelings, allies ceuP ~n'ed ~ 1965, but that one ended in a massacre and cronies in a bewildering tangle of schemes to sell a of the Chinese community, and the C.I.A. has always wide variety of illegal military equipment to Libya for denied involvement. Is Mr. Maas offering evidence the the mast part got otf -with light sentences or probation agency was lying? We are not told. in some cages, altogether in others. In truth, our notion At one time or another the C:I.A. has run hundreds of "justice" takes something of a beating in "Man- of proprietaries around the world -airlines, exewtive- hunt," Peter Maas': compelling account of the Wilson recruitment flans, companies chartering ships and air- " case. So do "intelligence.. a~ ..national security.. - craft. Printing companies. newspapers and book pub- abstract nouns freely used to cloak a multitude of venal fishers, advertising agencies and the like. They are not sins in a Washington you won't find described, or even intended to make a profit but sometimes do. Apparently hinted at, in high school textbooks on civics. To me, it Mr. Wilson's did. In any event, lat?Re sums of money sounds a good deal like' Rome after the death of the re- routinely pass through the hands of these firms, and ac- public. Money and empire -global responsibilities, if counting for money for "expenses" is hard to control. you prefer - go hand in hand. Mr. Wilson saw a lot of Mr. Wilson did all right. By 1970 he was worth 5200,000. money passing back and forth and decided to grab alit- The following year he lost his job in a bout of budget cut- tle for himself. He got caught. It's an old story, and Mr. ting at the C.I.A., but he went ahead anyway with the Maas tells it well, with a fine eye for character and set- ting and a good reporter's tenacity in flndmg out things purchase of a substantial estate, Mount Airy Farms, in a whole lot of people don't want him to know. A book of the posh horse country of Virginia. The price was this sort offers ample opportunity for moralizing. Mr. ~~~? Like the provincial governors, tax farmers and Maas wisely lets it go. But along with his conventional army contractors who made fortunes in imperial Rome, tale of crime and punishment, Mr. Maas has also gives Mr. Wilson dreamed of owning land, not working it. us a brutal portrait of what easy money can do to the Eventually he put together a showplace of more than men who make a profession of defense. 2,300 acres. Edwin Wilson was the son of adirt-poor Idaho farm- Of course it never cleared a nickel, but it helped Mr. er, according to what Mr. Wilson told Mr. Maas in their Wilson impress powerful acquaintances -men like the only interview. The father had his neighbors' respect, C.I.A.'s Theodore Shackley, a friend of Mr. Wilson who, as Mr. Wilson discovered after his death, but by then the according to Mr. Maas, was once amorning-line favor- son had built his life around a different goal -money rte to be the Director of Central Intelligence if President and the things it couldr buy. It was slow going at first. Ford had been elected in 1976. Mr. Maas makes it clear -Odd jobs got him through college. Three years as an that just having Mr. Shackley for a friend helped Mr. officer in the Marines ended in discharge with a knee in- Wilson. Another C.I.A. buddy, Thomas Clines, who had jury. A chance encounter led to the Central Intelligence once been his case officer, helped steer Mr. Wilson to his Agency in 1955 with a starting salary of 53,870 a year. next job with the Navy's Task Force 157, a supersecret activity. Mr. Wilson knew how to set up proprietaries ~ Maas': account of Mr. Wilson's first decade in and the Navy didn't. It was a perfect match. In one typi- the agency is sketchy but intriguing. As a security offi- ~ Project the Navy asked Mr. Wilson to provide a cer, for example, Mr. Wilson once found himself listen- "civilf>xn" ship to keep tabs on Soviet nuclear capabil- ing to Vice President Nixon while tapping the phone of a flies in the Indian Ocean. Mr. Wilson delivered a Newsweek reporter. One would like to know a little trawler crammed with electronic gear and billed the , more about that. Later, as a labor specialist with the Task Force for :500,000. His case officer asked him to C.I.A.'s international orgapizations division in 1961, Mr. itemize the bill. Mr. Wilson was happy to oblige. The Wilson worked for a time as an advance man for Sena- new bill had two lines -5250,000 for "product" and for Hubert H. Humphrey, then running for Vice Presi- 5250.000 for "service." dent. It is hard to square these two task with the ~~ C.I.A.'s mandate to pursue foreign intelli ence. Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/02 :CIA-RDP90-009658000605200001-1