“The scholar who works for a government intelligence agency ceases to be an independent spirit, a true scholar,” stated a Boston Globe editorial in the mid-1980s.
My Ezra Pound ‘Google Alert’ just alerted me to an article from the Yaledailynews by Ava Kofman that outlines the history of the CIA’s relationships with Academia, and therefore criss-crosses with ‘The Tale of the Tribe’ material and helps to refresh our minds to Dr. Wilson’s brilliant essay ‘TSOG: The Thing that ate the Constitution, 2001′ and information concerning Ezra Pound, James Jesus Angleton and the impact the Spycraft had on Modernism, poetry and the arts. Wilson writes:
But James J. Angleton was a pathological case of some sort himself; he often hid his middle name because it revealed his half-Hispanic genes. An exceptionally intelligent and sensitive student of modern literature while at Yale, Angleton adored Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, I.A. Richards, e e cummings and other SuperStars of Modernism; he met most of them personally. They collectively influenced Angleton’s fascination with multiple perspectives, labyrinthine ambiguity and the eternal uncertainty of all inferences and “interpretations.” These modernist tendencies, which also appeared in science and philosophy at the same time, blossomed into obsessions and, perhaps, raging madness when Angleton systematically applied them to the spy-game. After all, modernism really begins with Wilde’s “The Reality of Masks” and Yeats’s hermetic mystique the world we know emerging from interactions of Mask, Anti-Mask, Self, and Anti-Self: which may or may not fit all of us or all the world but certainly fits the world of spooks and snoops that Angleton created.–http://www.rawilson.com/tsog.html
Ava Kofman writes in ANNONYMOUS ACADEMICS:
“James Jesus Angleton ’41, breeder of rare orchids and disputably a paranoiac, founded and edited the short-lived but reputable literary magazine, Furioso, during his time as an undergraduate at Yale. Beginning a series of enthusiastic correspondences with Ezra Pound after the two met in Italy during the summer of 1938, Angleton published Pound’s poems along with the work of Cummings, MacLeish and Williams in his magazine the next year. But more ink has been spilled describing Angleton’s life than those of his beloved poets. Returning to Washington after World War II, Angleton would go on to help found the Central Intelligence Agency.”http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
“Varsity crew coach Skip Waltz recruited for the OSS what he saw as the best of Yale’s white Anglophile protestant males from its population of mostly white Anglo-Saxon protestant males. Following the conclusion of war in 1947, OSS alumnus Walter L. Pforzheimer ’35 contributed to drafting the act that would establish the CIA.
And still today, some recent alumni from both campuses include CIA directors Porter J. Goss ’60, R. James Woolsey Jr. LAW ’68, and George H.W. Bush ’48. Now a visiting lecturer at the Jackson Institute, John Negroponte ’60 served as the first Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush ’68. William F. Buckley ’50, founder of the National Review, wrote one of the many aforementioned fictionalized accounts of Angleton’s life, and served a stint in the CIA as well.” http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
“Why learn how to write a policy memo on preventing nuclear proliferation if you can’t even convincingly make a case that the human race — much less the United States of America — is a good thing that’s worth protecting,” laments the anonymous source. “Does the U.S. government exist to merely protect us and clothe us and feed us or to foster public and private virtue? These are questions that the Yalies of yesteryear could tackle quite easily and eloquently. Today, almost no one can.” http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
The skills that most Yale majors teach students well — namely, close reading, critical thinking and strong writing — are the same valuable assets that make its graduates good analysts. Or for that matter, good at any job.
“An analyst job is like writing a paper except its called an intelligence report,” said a senior government official, who requested to remain anonymous citing government policy. “But instead of using a book or a person as your evidence, you’re using classified intelligence.” He points to this as to why Yale turns out so many journalists and policy makers as well. The only difference in what those jobs consist of, the senior official argued, is in the subject matter and sourcing of what they’re writing on. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
“In 2001, following the attacks of September 11, around 750 students expressed an interest in the CIA when they passed through the agency’s career fair booth. For some years thereafter, interest in the agency was at a new high. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
“With the rise of cyber-espionage, it would seem that the CIA’s interest in Computer Science and Math majors who can write and break code might balloon.
Regardless of their background — whether it be in C++, the classics or both — applicants need to be realists and understand, the senior official warned, that for many it’s a “desk job.”
“Your cover is going to be a dark close-up of the shadow of Nathan Hale’s face,” a senior government official teased, “but the reality is that people [in the CIA] work in cubicles that look like a Proctor and Gamble office — and it’s mostly a bunch of Mormons.” The senior official paused dramatically, letting the reality of his vision of the CIA sink in.http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
Borrowing a phrase from T.S. Eliot’s Gerontion, Angleton often described the inner workings of the agency as a “wilderness of mirrors.” Angleton’s means of ordering the world moved along so many deceptions that it ceased to be real. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
One that could recast, for better or worse, the arbitrary boundaries drawn between literature and the classroom, reality and a dream, poetry and analysis. Our fascination with the CIA, with its mythical figures and failures, as a national legend — as a genre of fiction — may be of just as much interest for learning about the intuitions of the modern mind — as it is for learning about the institution itself. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/
The spy world then, turns accident into meaning and so frees us to imagine and presume in broad leaps and strokes.
“For in [the spy] profession there is no such thing as coincidence,” writes Le Carre in the film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
And consider an illustration of these two approaches to thinking: Most of the American public would prefer to watch say, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a fictionalized account of the spy world, than read the continually growing number of now declassified documents made readily available, or, for that matter, the adapted book. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/jan/13/academics-anonymous/