The Frank Olson Legacy Project
Altered States of America
By Richard Stratton
Spin Magazine, March 1994
I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vinyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?
George Hunter White
meeting was set for noon at a suitably anonymous bastion of corporate
America, a sprawling Marriott Hotel and convention center on Long Island.
Driving out of the city, I was tense and paranoid. For one thing, I was
leaving Manhattan without permission from my parole officer, What was
I going to tell him? I want to travel to Long Island to interview
a former narcotics agent who worked undercover for the CIA dosing people
with LSD. My parole officer would have ordered a urine test on the
Then there was the
fact that previous run-ins with drug cops had usually resulted in criminal
prosecutions. I spent most of the 80s
in prison for smuggling marijuana. How would this ex-agent of the Federal
Bureau of Narcotics (BBN), forerunner of the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) take to a retired outlaw writing a story about M K-ULTRA, the CIAs
highly secretive mind-control and drug-testing program?
Feldman is the only person still alive who worked directly under the legendary
George Hunter White in MK-ULTRA. The program began in 1953 amid growing
fear of the Soviet Unions potential for developing alternative weaponry.
The atomic bomb was a sinister threat, but more terrifying still were
possible Soviet assaults on the mind and body from within through
drugs and disease. In an attempt to preempt foreign attacks and even wage
its own assaults, the CIA funded a group of renegade agents to experiment
with ways to derail a human being.
For years, Feldman had ducked reporters. He agreed to meet with me only after a private detective, a former New York cop who also did time for drugs. put in a good word. There was no guarantee Feldman would talk.
|The LSD, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Write this down. Espionage. Assassinations. The study of prostitutes for clandestine use. Thats what I was doing when I worked for the CIA.|
I recognized Feldman
immediately when he waddled into the lobby of the Marriott. I had heard
he was short, five three, and Id read how George White used to dress
him in a pinstriped zoot suit, blue suede shoes, a Bursalino hat with
a tu rned-up brim, and a phony diamond ring, then send him onto the streets
of San Francisco to pose as an East Coast heroin dealer. Now in his 70s,
Feldman still looks and talks like Edward G. Robinson playing gangster
Johnny Rocco in Key Largo.
Feldman leveled a
cold, lizard-like gaze on me when we sat down for lunch. He wielded a
fat unlit cigar like a baton, pulled out a wad of bills that could have
gagged a drug dealer, slipped a 20 to the waitress and told her to take
good care of us.
about? Feldman demanded. Who the fuck are you?
I explained I was
a writer researching George White. White, a world-class drinker known
to polish off a bottle of gin at a sitting and get up and walk away, died
of liver disease in 1975, two years before MK-ULTRA was first made public.
Why do you
want to write about White? I suppose it's this LSD shit.
No, I said, not just
the LSD. George White deserved to have his story told..
White was a
son of a bitch, Feldman said. But he was a great cop. He made
that fruitcake Hoover look like Nancy Drew.
Again he gazed stonily
at me. Lots of writers asked me to tell my story. Why should I talk
I decided to come
clean. I used to be part of your world, I answered. I
did eight years for the Feds because I refused to rat when I got busted
Feldman stared at
me for a long time. I know, he said. I checked you out.
Thats why Im here. Now get out your pencil. He waved
for the waitress and palmed her a 50 to cover the tab.
Feldman began, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Write this
down. Espionage. Assassinations. Dirty tricks. Drug experiments. Sexual
encounters and the study of prostitutes for clandestine use. That's what
I was doing when I worked for George White and the CIA.
For my next Interview
with Feldman, I rented a day room at the Marriott and brought along a
tape recorder. Feldman tottered in, pulled a small footballshaped clear
plastic ampule out of his pocket and plunked it on the table. It was filled
with pure Sandoz LSD-25. He also showed me a gun disguised as a fountain
pen which could shoot a cartridge of nerve gas. Some of the stuff
George White and I tested, he explained.
It all began
because the CIA knew the Russians had this LSD shit and they were afraid
the KGB was using it to brainwash agents, Feldman told me. They
were worried they might dump it in the water supply and drive everybody
wacky. They wanted us to find out if we could actually use it as a truth
Actually, it all
began with a mistake. In 1951, Allen Dulles, later appointed director
of Central Intelligence, received a report from military sources that
the Russians had bought 50 million doses of a new drug from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals
in Basel, Switzerland. A follow-up memo stated that Sandoz had an additional
ten kilos - about 100 million doses - of the drug, lysergic acid diethylamide
(LSD-25), available for sale on the open market
Dulles was alarmed.
From the beginning, LSD was lauded by military and intelligence scientists
working on chemical warfare compounds and mind-control experiments as
the most potent mind-altering substance known to man. Infinitesimally
small amounts of LSD can completely destroy the sanity of a human being
for considerable periods of time (or possibly permanently), stated
an October 1953 CIA memo. In the wrong hands, 100 million doses would
be enough to sabotage a whole nation's mental equilibrium.
Dulles convened a
high-level committee of CIA and Pentagon officials who agreed the agency
should buy the entire Sandoz LSD supply lest the KGB acquire it first.
Two agents were dispatched to Switzerland with a black bag containing
In fact, Sandoz had
produced only about 40 grams of LSD in the ten years since its psychoactive
features were first discovered by Albert Hofmann. According to a 1975
CIA document, the U.S. Military attaché in Switzerland had miscalculated
by a factor of one million in his CIA reports because he did not know
the difference between a milligram (1 /1,000 of a gram) and a kilogram
Nevertheless, a deal
was struck. The CIA would purchase all of Sandoz's potential output of
LSD. (Later, when the Eli Lilly Company of Indianapolis perfected a process
to synthesize LSD, agency officials insisted on a similar agreement.)
An internal CIA memo to Dulles declared the agency would have access to
tonnage quantities. All that remained was for agency heads
to figure out what to do with it.
were behavior control, behavior anomaly -production, and counter-measures
for opposition application of similar substances, states a heavily
redacted CIA document on MK-ULTRA released under a 1977 Freedom of Information
Act request, The chill winds of the Cold War were howling across the land.
Dulles was convinced that, as he told Princeton University's National
Alumni Conference, Russian and Chinese Communists had secretly developed
brain perversion techniques ... so subtle and so abhorrent to our
way of life that we have recoiled from facing up to them.
began to envision a day when battles would be fought on psychic terrain
in wars without conventional weaponry. The terrifying specter of a secret
army of Manchurian Candidates, outwardly normal operatives
programmed to carry out political assassinations, was paraded before a
gullible and easily manipulated public.
Ike Feldman remembers
that time well. A Brooklyn boy, he was drafted into the Army in 1941.
Army tests showed he had an unusual facility for language, so he was enrolled
in a special school in Germany where he learned fluent Russian, By the
end of the war, Feldman was a lieutenant colonel with a background in
Military Intelligence. The Army sent him to another language school, this
time in Monterey, California, where he added Mandarin Chinese:to his repertoire.
While with Military
Intelligence in Europe, Feldman first heard of George White. White
was with the OSS [Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA].
I heard stories about him. Donovan [William Wild Bill Donovan,
founder of the OSS] loved White. White supposedly killed some Japanese
spy with his bare hands while he was on assignment in Calcutta. He used
to keep a picture of the bloody corpse on the wall in his office.
In the early 50s,
after a stint in Korea working for the CIA under Army auspices, Feldman
decided hed had enough of military life. He settled in California.
I always wanted chickens, Feldman recalled, so I bought
a chicken ranch. In the meantime, there wasnt a hell of a lot to
do with chickens.
I got a callthis time from White, Feldman continued. We
understand you're back in the States, he says.I want you to
come in to the Bureau of Narcotics. This was 54 to 55,
White was District Supervisor [of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics] in
San Francisco. I went in. I go to room 144 of the Federal Building, and
this is the first time I met George White. He was a big, powerful man
with a completely bald head. Not tall, but big. Fat. He shaved his head
and had the most beautiful blue eyes youve ever seen. Ike,
he says, we want you as an agent. We know you've been a hell of
an agent with Intelligence. The CIA knows it. You speak all these languages.
We want you to work as an under cover agent in San Francisco.
What Feldman didn't
know at the time was that George White was still working for the CIA.
Whites particular area of expertise was the testing of drugs on
unwitting human guinea pigs. During the war, one of Whites projects
for the OSS was the quest for a truth drug, a serum that could
be administered to prisoners of war or captured spies during interrogations.
After trying and rejecting several substances the OSS scientists settled
on a highly concentrated liquid extract of cannabis indica, a particularly
potent strain of marijuana. Never one to shrink from the call of duty,
White first tried the drug on himself. He downed a full vial of the clear,
viscous liquid and soon passed out without revealing any secrets.
Meanwhile, at the
CIAs Technical Services Staff (TSS), the department specializing
in unconventional weaponry such as poisons, biological warfare, psychoactive
substances, and mind control, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb was searching for a
candidate to head MK-ULTRA. Gottlieb, a club-footed scientist who overcame
a pronounced stutter in his rise to head the TSS, had discovered White's
name while perusing old OSS files on the Truth Drug Experiments. White's
credentials were impeccable: A former crime reporter on the West Coast
before he joined the narcotics bureau, White had soon become one of the
top international undercover agents under Harry Anslinger, the grandfather
of America's war on drugs.
After meeting with
Gottlieb, White noted his initiation into the world of psychedelics in
his diary: Gottlieb proposes I be CIA consultant and I agree.
the CIA, with funds disbursed by Gottlieb, White rented two adjoining
apartment safe houses at 81 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village. Using
the alias Morgan Hall, he constructed an elaborate alter-identity as a
seaman and artist in the Jack London mode. By night, CIA spy Morgan Hall
metamorphosed into a drug-eating denizen of the bohemian coffeehouse scene.
With a head full of acid and gin, White prowled downtown clubs and bars.
He struck up conversations with strangers, then lured them back to the
pad where he served drinks spiked with Sandozs finest.
Gloria gets the horrors ... Janet sky high, White dutifully recorded in his diary. In another entry, he proudly noted, Lashbrook at 81 Bedford StreetOwen Winkle and the LSD surprisecan wash. In recognition of the often bizarre behavior brought on by the drug, White assigned LSD the codename Stormy.
|Secret agent man: Allen Dulles (top), the former director of the CIA, who authorized the purchase of Sandoz LSD; George White (middle) examines opium pipes as he takes over as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Boston in 1951; Harry Anslinger (bottom), circa 1954, then head of FBN.|
According to an agency
memo, the CIA feared KGB agents might employ psychedelics to produce
anxiety or terror in medically unsophisticated subjects unable to distinguish
drug-induced psychosis from actual insanity. In an effort to school
enlightened operatives for that eventuality, Dulles and Gottlieb
instructed high-ranking agency personnel, including Gottliebs entire
staff at TSS, to take LSD themselves and administer it to their colleagues.
There was an
extensive amount of self-experimentation for the reason that we felt that
a firsthand knowledge of the subjective effects of these drugs [was] important
to those of us who were involved in the program, Gottlieb explained
at a Senate Subcommittee hearing years later. In truth, CIA spooks and
scientists alike were tripping their brains out. I didn't want to
leave it, one CIA agent said of his first LSD trip I felt
I would be going back to a place where I wouldn't be able to hold on to
this kind of beauty.
But as covert LSD
experiments proliferated, things down at CIA headquarters began to get
out of hand. LSD favors the prepared mind, wrote Dr. Oscar
Janiger, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and early LSD devotee. Non-drug factors
such as set and settinga person's mental state going into the experience
and the surroundings in which the drug is takencan make all the
difference in reactions to a dose of LSD.
Frank Olson was a
civilian biochemist working for the Army Chemical Corps Special
Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. In another
sub-project of MK-ULTRA code-named MK-NAOMI, the CIA had bankrolled SOD
to produce and maintain vicious mutant germ strains capable of killing
or incapacitating would-be victims. Olsons specialty at Fort Detrick
was delivering deadly diseases in sprays and aerosol emulsions.
Just before Thanksgiving
in 1953, at a CIA retreat for a conference on biological warfare, Gottlieb
slipped Olson a huge dose of LSD in an after-dinner liqueur. When Gottlieb
revealed to the uproarious group that hed laced the Cointreau, Olson
suffered a psychotic snap. You're all a bunch of thespians!
Olson shouted at his fellow acid trippers, then spent a long night wandering
around babbling to himself.
Back at Fort Detrick,
Olson lapsed in and out of depression, began to have grave misgivings
about his work, and believed the agency was out to get him Ten days later,
he crashed through the tenth-floor window of the Statler Hotel in New
York and plummeted to his death on the sidewalk below.
White had been testing the stuff in New York when that guy Olson went out the window and died, Feldman said. I don't know if he jumped or he was pushed. They say he jumped. Anyway, thats when they shut down the New York operation and moved it to San Francisco. The Olson affair was successfully covered up by the CIA for over 20 years. White, who had been instrumental in the cover-up, was promoted to district supervisor.
I don't know if [Olson] jumped or he was pushed. They say he jumped...
Unfazed by the suicide
of their colleague, the CIAs acid enthusiasts were, in fact, more
convinced of the value of their experiments. They would now focus on LSD
as a potent new agent for offensive unconven-tional warfare. The drug-testing
program resumed in the Bay Area under the cryptonyrn Operation Mid-night
Climax. It was then that White hired Feldman.
Posing as Joe Capone,
junk dealer and pimp, Feldman infiltrated the seamy North Beach criminal
demimonde. I always wanted to be a gangster, Feldman told
me. So I was good at it. Before long, I had half a dozen girls working
for me. One day, White calls me into his office. Ike, he says,
you've been doing one hell of a job as an undercover man. Now I'm
gonna give you another assignment. We want you to test these mind-bending
drugs. I said, Why the hell do you want to test mind-bending
drugs? He said, Have you ever heard of The Manchurian Candidate?
I know about The Manchurian Candidate. In fact, I read the book.
Well, White said,that's why we have to test these drugs,
to find out if they can be used to brainwash people. He says, If
we can find outjust how good this stuff works, you'll be doing a great
deal for your country.
These days, Feldman
takes offense at how his work has been charqcterized by former cops who
knew him. I was no pimp, Feldman insisted. Yet he freely admitted
that his role in Midnight Climax was to supply whores. These cunts
all thought I was a racketeer, Feldman explained. He paid girls
$50 to $100 a night to lure johns to a safe house apartment that White
had set up on Telegraph Hill with funds provided by the CIA. Unsuspecting
clients were served cocktails laced with powerful doses of LSD and other
concoctions the CIA sent out to be tested.
As George White
once told me, Ike, your best information outside comes from the
whores and the junkies. If you treat a whore nice, shell treat you
nice. If you treat a junkie nice, hell treat you nice. But
sometimes, when people had information, there was only one way you could
get it, If it was a girl, you put her tits in a drawer and slammed the
drawer. If it was a guy, you took his cock and you hit it with a hammer.
And they would talk to you. Now, with these drugs, you could get information
without having to abuse people.
as White called the CIA safe house, resembled a playboy's lair, circa
1955. The walls were covered with Toulouse-Lautrec posters of French cancan
dancers. In the cabinets were sex toys and photos of manacled women in
black fishnet stockings and studded leather halters. White outfitted the
place with elaborate bugging equipment, including four microphones disguised
as electrical outlets that were connected to tape recorders hidden behind
a false wall. While Feldmans hookers served mind-altering cocktails
and frolicked with the johns, White sat on a portable toilet behind the
two-way mirror, sipping martinis, watching the experiments, and scribbling
notes for his reports to the CIA.
We tested this
stuff they call the Sextender, Feldman went on. There was
this Russian ship in the harbor. I had a couple of my girls pick up these
Russian sailors and bring em back to the pad. White wanted to know
all kinds of crap, but they werent talking. So we had the girls
slip em this sex drug. It gets your dick up like a rat. Stays up
for two hours. These guys went crazy. They fucked these poor girls until
they couldnt walk straight. The girls were complaining they couldnt
take any more screwing. But White found out what he wanted to know. Now
this drug, what they call the Sextender, I understand its being
sold to guys who can't get a hard-on.
One such drug, called
papavarine, is injected directly into the penis with a half-inch needle
containing about two raindrops worth of the medicine. I tell
[the men] to thrust it in like a bullfighter finishing off the bull,
said a San Antonio urologist in a recent report on the new therapies used
to treat male impo-tence. Dangers include injecting too much drug,
so that an erection can last dangerously long and kill penile tissue.
The potions are not administered orally, as they were by the CIA, because
the drug must affect only the penis and not the rest of the body. Drug
companies are now working on a cream that can be rubbed directly into
the penis before intercourse. Feldman claims we have the CIA to thank
for these medical breakthroughs.
wanted to try everything himself, Feldman remembered. Whatever
drugs they sent out, it didn't matter, he wanted to see how they worked
on him before he tried them on anyone else. He always said he never felt
a goddamn thing. He thought it was all bullshit. White drank so much booze,
he couldnt feel his fucking cock.
Feldman held up the fountain pen gas gun the boys
in Washington sent it out and told us to test the gas. White says to me,Cmon,
Ike. Lets go outside. Ill shoot you with it, then you shoot
me. Fuck that,I said.You aint gonna shoot
me with that crap. So we went outside and I shot George White with
the gas. He coughed, his face turned red, his eyes started watering. He
was choking. Turned out, that stuffwas the prototype for Mace.
I asked Feldman if
hed ever met Sidney Gottlieb, the elusive scientist who was the
brains behind MK-ULTRA. Several times Sidney Gottlieb came out,
Feldman assured me. I met Gottlieb at the pad, and at White's office.
White used to send me to the air-port to pick up Sidney and this other
wacko, John Gittinger, the psychologist. Sidney was a nice guy. He was
a fuckin nut. They were all nuts. I says, Youre a good
Jewish boy from Brooklyn, like me. What are you doing with these crazy
cocksuckers? He had this black bag with him. He says, This is my
bag of dirty tricks. He had all kinds of crap in that bag. We took
a drive over to Muir Woods out by Stinson Beach. Sidney says, Stop
the car. He pulls out a dart gun and shoots this big eucalyptus
tree with a dart. Then he tells me, Come back in two days and check this
tree. So we go back in two days, the tree was completely dead. Not
a leaf left on it. Now that was the forerunner of Agent Orange.
I went back
and I saw White, and he says to me, What do you think of Sidney?
I said, I think he's a fuckin nut. White says,'Well,
he may be a nut, but this is the program. This is what we do. White
thought they were all assholes. He said, These guys are running
our Intelligence? but they sent George $2,000 a month for the pad,
and as long as they paid the bills, we went along with the program.
Gottlieb, who now lives in Virginia, refused to be interviewed for this
I come back to the pad and the whole joint is littered with these pipe
cleaners, Feldman went on. I said, Whos smokin'
a pipe? Gittinger, one of those CIA nuts, was there with two of
my girls. He had am explaining all these different sex acts, the
different positions they knew for humping. Now he has them making these
little figurines out of the pipe cleaners-men and women screwing in all
these different positions. He was taking pictures of the figurines and
writing a history of each one. These pipe cleaner histories were sent
back to Washington.
A stated goal of
Project MK-ULTRA was to determine if an individual can be trained
to perform an act of attempted assassination involuntarily while
under the influence of various mind-control techniques, and then have
no memory of the event later. Feldman told me that in the early 60s,
after the MK-ULTRA program had been around for over a decade, he was summoned
to George Whites office. White and CIA director Allen Dulles were
George to arrange to hit Fidel Castro, Feldman said. They
were gonna soak his cigars with LSD and drive him crazy. George called
me in because I had this whore, one of my whores was this Cuban girl and
we were gonna send her down to see Castro with a box of LSD-soaked cigars.
Dick Russell, author
of a recent book on the Kennedy assassination titled The Man Who Knew
Too Much, uncovers new evidence to support the theory that Lee Harvey
Oswald was a product of MK-ULTRA. One of the CIAs overseas locations
for LSD and mindcontrol experiments was Atsugi Naval Air base in Japan
where Oswald served as a Marine radar technician. Russell says that after
his book was published, a former CIA counter-intelligence expert called
him and said Oswald had been viewed by the CIA as fitting the psychological
profile of someone they were looking for in their MK-ULTRA program,
and that he had been mind-conditioned to defect to the USSR.
assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, while working as a horse trainer at the Santa
Anita race track near Los Angeles, was introduced to hypnosis and the
occult by a fellow groom with shadowy connections. Sirhan has always maintained
he has no memory of the night he shot Kennedy,
One of the CIAs
mob contacts long suspected of involvement in John Kennedy's assassination
was the Las Vegas capo mafioso John Roselli. Roselli had risen
to prominence in the Mob by taking over the Annenberg-Ragen wire service
at Santa Anita, where Oswalds killer, Jack Ruby, sold a handicappers
tip sheet. Ike Feldman told me Roselli was one of Whites many informants.
On more than
one occasion, White sent me to the airport to pick up John Roselli and
bring him to the office, said Feldman. Roselli was originally from
Chicago, where White had served as District Supervisor of the Federal
Bureau of Narcotics from 1945 through 1947. Following a big opium smuggling
bust in 1947, Jack Ruby was picked up and hauled in for interrogation,
then later let off the hook by none other than White. Federal Bureau of
Narcotics files indicate Jack Ruby was yet another of Whites legion
The connections between
MK-mind-control experiments, the proliferation of the drug culture, Mob/CIA
assassination plots, and the emergence of new, lethal viruses go on and
on. Fort Detrick in Maryland, where Frank Olson worked experimenting with
viral strains (such as the deadly microbes Sidney Gottlieb personally
carried to Africa in an aborted attempt to assassinate Patrice Lumumba),
was recently the locale of a near disaster involving an outbreak of a
newly emerged virus. The event was chronicled in a lengthy article published
in the New Yorker.
Though the New
Yorker writer did not make the connection between Fort Detrick, SOD,
Frank Olson, and MK-NAOMI, he told of a number of monkeys who all died
of a highly infectious virus known as Ebola that first appeared in 55
African villages in 1976, killing nine out of ten of its victims. Some
epidemiologists believe AIDS originated in Africa. Feldman claimed the
CIA used Africa as a staging ground to test germ warfare because no
one gave a goddamn about any of this crap over there.
The MK-ULTRA program,
the largest domestic operation ever mounted by the CIA, continued well
into the 70s. According to Feldman and other CIA experts, it is
still continuing today under an alphabet soup of different cryptonyms.
Indeed, one ex-agent told me it would be foolish to think that a program
as fruitful as MK-ULTRA would be discontinued. When the agency comes under
scrutiny, it simply changes the name of the program and continues unabated.
The public first
learned of MK-ULTRA in 1977, with the disclosure of thousands of classified
documents and CIA testimony before a Senate Subcommittee on Health and
Scientific Research chaired by Senator Edward Kennedy. Ike Feldman was
subpoenaed and appeared on a panel of witnesses, but the senators failed
to ask him a single question. Sidney Gottlieb, complaining of a heart
condition, testified at a special semi-public session. He delivered a
prepared statement and admitted to having destroyed perhaps one set of
files. Another set was turned over to Senate investigators. The full extent
of the CIA's activities under the rubric of MK-ULTRA may never be known.
George White retired
from the Narcotics Bureau in 1965. The last ten years of his life, he
lived in Stinson Beach, California, where, known as Colonel White, he
went on the wagon for a few years and became chief of the volunteer fire
department. Local residents remember him once turning in four kids for
smoking pot, and in another incident, spraying a preacher and his congregation
with water at a beach picnic. He was also known to terrorize his wealthier
neighbors by driving his jeep across their lawns. After White's death,
his widow donated his papers, including diaries, to an electronic surveillance
museum. As information on MK-ULTRA entered the public domain, people who
had known White only in his official FBN capacity were stunned to learn
of his undercover role as Morgan Hall.
Ike Feldman, kept
alive by a pacemaker, lives with his wife in a quiet suburban Long Island
community where he tends his garden and oversees a number of business
interests. According to George Belk, a former head of the Drug Enforcement
Agency in New York, Feldman quit the drug agency following a probe by
the internal security division. Feldman was the sort of guy who
didnt have too many scruples, said Dan Casey, a retired FBN
agent who worked with Feldman in San Francisco. For him, the ends
justified the means. A DEA flack confirmed Feldman resigned
under a cloud at a time when a number of agents came under suspicion
for a variety of offenses, none having to do with secret drug-testing
programs. Feldman asserts he still works for the CIA on a contract basis,
mostly in the Far East and Korea.
On the day of our
last interview, over lunch at a restaurant in Little Italy, Feldman told
me the CIA had contacted him and asked him why he was talking to me.
Feldman said. I do what I want. I never signed any goddamn secrecy
I asked him why he
decided to talk with me. "There's too much bullshit in the world,"
Feldman said. "The world runs on bullshit.
To make a long
story short, he said, using one of his favorite verbal segues, I
want the truth of this to be known so that people understand that what
we did was good for the country.
We ambled down the
street to a Chinese grocer, where Feldman carried on a lengthy conversation
with the owner in Chinese. A couple of young girls, tourists, wanted to
have their picture taken with Feldman. Are you a gangster?
replied with a wave of his cigar, Im a goddamn CIA agent.
As we walked on,
I asked Feldman to explain how his work had been helpful to the country.
I learned that
most of this stuff was necessary for the United States, he said,
and even though it may have hurt somebody in the beginning, in the
long run it was important. As long as it did good for the country.
I pressed him. How
Well, look, Feldman gestured with his cigar, We're goddamn free, arent we?